Arkansas Marital Rape Laws

Just like rape between strangers or acquaintances, marital rape—rape that occurs between spouses—is illegal in Arkansas, and punished as a felony. The penalties that apply to your case depend on the circumstances of the offense (which determine the applicable class of felony). Marital rape may be prosecuted as either Rape or Sexual Battery.

In contrast to Rape, Sexual Battery is often characterized as sexual touching without consent of the person. The mere touching of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification qualifies as sexual battery. Penetration does not have to occur, unlike a rape charge.

To learn more about Sexual Battery laws in Arkansas, see Sexual Battery in Arkansas.

Rape

Rape is a Class Y felony, and includes engaging in nonconsensual sexual penetration. This crime also includes circumstances when the victim is incapable of giving consent to sex (such as being in a coma, having passed out from drug or alcohol use, or being mentally handicapped).

The punishment for rape is the same for spouses who rape as for other offenders, although it may be more difficult for the victim to prove that she didn’t consent to her husband than it would be to prove non-consent with a stranger.

Penalties

Rape is a Class Y felony, and penalties include a fine, at least ten years (and up to forty years or life) in prison, or both.

See a Lawyer

If you are facing a sexual assault charge, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area. Numerous defenses apply to charges of felony assault and a lawyer can evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and help develop any defenses that might apply to your case.

A lawyer’s skillful negotiation with the prosecutor can sometimes result in a reduction of charges or a reduction in penalties, such as less prison time, no prison time, probation, and lower fines. A local criminal defense attorney, who knows how the prosecutors and judges involved in your case typically handle such cases, can assist with these negotiations. And if you decide to go to trial, having a good lawyer on your side will be essential.

Help for Rape Survivors

If you are a victim of rape, contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Online Hotline for help and local resources.

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