Arkansas Sexual Battery Laws

Rape (sometimes also called “sexual battery” or “sexual assault”) is illegal in Arkansas.

When it comes to rape, the law strives to protect strangers, acquaintances, and married people equally. In Arkansas, as in all states, there is no exception or defense to prosecution for rape that occurs within a marriage (to learn more about marital rape laws in Arkansas, see Marital Rape in Arkansas).

Rape

In Arkansas, rape is a 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).

(Ar. Code Ann. § 5-14-101.)

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.

Defenses to a Charge of Sexual Assault

Defendants charged with sexual assault have the usual defenses available to all criminal defendants, starting with “Someone else committed this crime.”

The defendant can also claim that the sexual activity (between two adults) was consensual. In a rape case, there can be significant questions about what constitutes consent or what constitutes refusal. This has led to the infamous question of when does “No” mean “No”? Does the word constitute a lack of consent as soon as it is spoken, or must the victim object more vigorously?

Another possible defense is an insanity plea, in which the defense argues that the accused is mentally ill and did not have the capacity to control his behavior, to form criminal intent or to understand what he was doing or that his actions were unlawful.

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 rape charges, 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 can often negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge or a reduction in penalties (such as, for example, probation instead of prison time); and will know how prosecutors and judges typically handle cases like yours.

Help for Sexual Assault and Rape Survivors

If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape, contact Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) for online help and local resources.

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