Salt Lake City Rape Defense Lawyer

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

Facing rape charges in Salt Lake City is a profoundly serious situation that can have life-altering consequences for the accused. The stigma associated with such accusations and the potential for severe legal penalties necessitates a robust and informed defense strategy.

However, by understanding the nuances of rape law and representing the accused throughout the legal process, our dedicated team can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Our firm can help you through one of the most difficult periods of your life by investigating your case, interviewing witnesses, and dealing with the prosecution to ensure your case is treated fairly. While these charges are considered some of the most serious in our society, you deserve a defense that protects your rights.

For a free case review, contact our rape defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC by calling (801) 758-2287.

Understanding How Rape is Charged in Salt Lake City

In Salt Lake City, as in the rest of Utah, sexual offenses are taken very seriously and are prosecuted under strict laws aimed at protecting the safety and dignity of individuals. However, our rape defense attorneys believe every person is entitled to a robust defense. The Utah Code outlines several sexual offenses, each of which carries severe penalties. Below outlines how rape is charged in Salt Lake City:


According to Utah Code § 76-5-402, rape is defined as having sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. This offense is considered a first-degree felony, reflecting its severity.

Consent, or the lack thereof, plays a crucial role in these cases, and the law specifies that a victim’s failure to resist does not imply consent. The penalties for rape can include significant prison time, often ranging from five years to life, depending on the circumstances of the case and the offender’s criminal history.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault under Utah Code § 76-5-405 is an enhanced form of sexual assault that includes circumstances that make the offense more severe, such as causing serious bodily injury to the victim, using a dangerous weapon, or threatening to use such a weapon during the assault.

Like rape, this crime is charged as a first-degree felony, but it carries even harsher penalties because of the aggravating factors involved. Convictions can result in substantial prison sentences, including the possibility of life imprisonment without parole.

Forcible Sexual Abuse

Forcible sexual abuse involves touching the private parts of another person without their consent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain or satisfy the sexual desire of the offender, as per Utah Code § 76-5-404.

This crime is typically classified as a second-degree felony, although certain circumstances can elevate it to a first-degree felony. Penalties include lengthy prison terms and potential registration as a sex offender, which can have lasting impacts on an individual’s life and reputation.


According to Utah Code § 76-9-702, lewdness involves committing an act of a sexual nature in a public place or under circumstances where the public could observe the act. This offense can range from a class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on factors such as the presence of a child under 14 years of age and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Penalties can include jail time, fines, and mandatory treatment programs.

Object Rape

Object rape is defined as penetrating the genital or anal opening of another person with any object or part of the human body other than the penis or mouth without the victim’s consent under Utah Code § 76-5-402.2. This crime is charged as a first-degree felony, underscoring its seriousness. The penalties mirror those of rape, with long prison sentences that reflect the violation’s severity.

Rape of a Child

Rape of a child, as per Utah Code § 76-5-402.1, involves sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 14, regardless of consent. This crime is classified as a first-degree felony, reflecting its gravity. The law imposes severe penalties on those convicted, including a minimum mandatory sentence that can extend to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, highlighting the state’s zero-tolerance policy for such egregious acts against children.

Sexual Abuse of a Child

Under Utah Code § 76-5-404.1, sexual abuse of a child is defined as touching, regardless of whether through clothing, the anus, buttocks, or any part of the genitals of a child, or the breast of a female child, with intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire.

This offense is typically charged as a second-degree felony but can be elevated to a first-degree felony under certain conditions, such as when a person in a position of trust concerning the child commits the abuse. Penalties include lengthy prison sentences and the requirement to register as a sex offender.

Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Sexual abuse of a minor addresses offenses involving victims aged 14 to 17 and includes acts of sexual touching or abuse committed by adults against minors. The classification of this offense and the severity of the penalties depend on various factors, including the age difference between the perpetrator and the victim, the nature of the act, and the perpetrator’s criminal history. Charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, with corresponding penalties varying accordingly.

Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

Unlawful sexual activity with a minor pertains to sexual relations between an adult and a minor aged 16 or 17 when the age difference is significant enough to prohibit such activity under Utah Code § 76-5-401. This statute aims to protect younger individuals from exploitation by adults, imposing penalties that escalate with the age difference between the involved parties and the specific circumstances of the case. Depending on these factors, offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

Typical Defenses to Rape Crimes in Salt Lake City

One of the most frequently cited defenses in rape cases is that the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity. Demonstrating consent can be complex, as it often comes down to one person’s word against another’s. However, if there is evidence to suggest that the accuser willingly participated in the sexual act, this can be a powerful defense. Text messages, witness testimony, and other forms of communication might be used to support claims of consent.

Also, the mistake of fact defense is applicable when the accused genuinely believes that the accuser consented to the sexual activity. For this defense to be viable, the accused’s belief must be both sincerely held and reasonable under the circumstances. This might involve situations where there was a misunderstanding or miscommunication between the parties involved.

Lastly, false accusations of rape do, unfortunately, occur. A defense based on false accusations would seek to expose inconsistencies and improbabilities in the accuser’s account, potentially supported by evidence of motive, such as revenge or jealousy. Character witnesses and evidence undermining the credibility of the accuser might also be part of this defense strategy.

Our Salt Lake City Rape Defense Lawyers Can Help

Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation with our rape defense lawyers.