About Utah Crime Rape Under Code 76-5-402

Rape is among the most serious crimes a person can ever be accused of committing.  In some situations, a defendant convicted of rape faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  They will also be heavily burdened by the stigma associated with former felons and sex offenders, which can create huge obstacles when it comes to employment, housing, social relationships, and other important parts of daily life.

A rape conviction can change your life forever.  You need to act quickly to have the best chance of effectively fighting the accusations against you.  Utah rape attorney Darwin Overson is here 24 hours a day to help you understand your options.

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Contact a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation

Criminal attorney Darwin Overson brings more than 16 years of experience to every client he defends.  Darwin has worked on thousands of criminal cases in communities throughout the state of Utah, building a reputation as a skilled, aggressive, and innovative courtroom strategist.

He makes himself available around the clock, including nights and weekends, to bring nuanced, personalized legal guidance to the defendants he represents.  You will always be treated with dignity and respect while Darwin upholds your rights and vigorously challenges the evidence against you.

To set up a free legal consultation, call Utah criminal defense lawyer, Overson Law at (801) 758-2287.  Darwin is available to make emergency jail visits to county jails and detention centers throughout the state.

What is the Difference Between Rape, Statutory Rape, and Sexual Assault?

Some states distinguish between rape and sexual assault as separate criminal offenses, which can create some confusion about legal terminology.  When faced with such serious accusations, it is critical for the defendant and their loved ones to understand exactly what is being alleged.

In Utah, a person is charged with rape when they allegedly have sexual intercourse with a person who does not give consent.  This includes couples who are dating, engaged, or married.

The term “statutory rape” is widely used to describe sexual intercourse with a person who is below the age of consent (16 years old in Utah).  In place of a single law criminalizing statutory rape, Utah separates sexual acts with minors and children into several specific crimes, which include:

  • Rape of a Child
  • Object Rape of a Child
  • Sodomy on a Child
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • Sexual Abuse of a Minor
  • Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16- or 17-Year-Old

Aggravated sexual assault, which unlike physical assault has no “simple” or non-aggravated form in Utah, has a much broader definition.  A person is charged with aggravated sexual assault when he or she allegedly commits rape, object rape, forcible sexual abuse, or forcible sodomy and additional elements are present, such as use of a dangerous weapon.

Criminal Penalties for Felonies in Utah: Fines and Prison Sentencing

Like most states, Utah classifies crimes as misdemeanors or felonies.  While both can result in steep fines, incarceration, and the creation of a criminal record, felonies have tougher consequences.  Felonies also carry a social stigma that can make finding employment very difficult after being released from prison, even with the benefit of anti-discrimination laws.

Rape in Utah is never a misdemeanor charge.  It is always a felony.  More specifically, rape is classified as a felony of the first degree, the most serious type of felony a person can be charged with committing in Utah.  Murder, child kidnapping, and aggravated arson are also first degree felonies.

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The sentence for a first degree felony in Utah ranges anywhere from five years to life in prison.  Under Utah Code § 76-5-402, a defendant who is convicted of rape will receive a five-year sentence at minimum.  The sentence can be extended to 15 years if the defendant:

  • Caused serious bodily injury during the course of the offense.
  • Was under 18 years old at the time of the offense, and had a previous conviction of a “grievous sexual offense.” Grievous sexual offenses include actual or attempted:
    • Rape
    • Rape of a Child
    • Object Rape
    • Object Rape of a Child
    • Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child
    • Sodomy on a Child
    • Forcible Sodomy
    • Aggravated Sexual Assault

If the defendant was 18 or older and had a prior grievous sexual offense, the court may impose a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

A shortened sentence of six or 10 years may be possible under certain circumstances.  However, the court must find that imposing the reduced sentence would serve the interests of justice, and further, must explain the reasoning for imposing the reduced sentence.  A sentence reduction is not possible for adult defendants with prior grievous sexual offenses who are sentenced to life without parole.

In addition to losing their freedom, the defendant will also receive a huge criminal fine which can be as great as $10,000.  They will also be forced to register as a sex offender for life.  The Utah Sex Offender Registry is a public database that includes offenders’ names, addresses, and license plates, as well as a description of the offense and the date of conviction.

If you are convicted of rape, you will become a registered sex offender for the rest of your life.  You will also lose your freedom.  Don’t wait to start preparing your defense.  Call Utah defense lawyer Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 right away to set up a free legal consultation.  Your information will be kept confidential.