When you are charged with a sex crime like rape in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, the stigma and long-term impact can be especially damaging because the nightmare does not end when you are released from custody. A conviction of rape in Illinois includes the harsh penalty of being required to register as a sex offender with the police department located in your county. This requirement may be imposed for ten years or even your entire life so the consequences of a rape conviction can easily determine your future. Because Chicago Rape Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg recognizes the negative stereotypes that attach to rape and other sex offenses, he tenaciously defends his clients from the pre-charge investigation stage through trial and appeal where appropriate.
Since it can be easier to persuade a prosecutor or law enforcement officer not to pursue rape charges than to disprove false allegations of rape, Mr. Freidberg presents evidence to law enforcement investigators and prosecutors during the pre-charge investigation stage to prevent filing of rape charges. Whether the prosecutor is considering allegations of forcible rape, statutory rape, spousal rape or any other sex offense, Mr. Freidberg frequently is able to dissuade the prosecutor from filing criminal charges or to persuade the prosecutor to charge less serious or fewer charges.
When constructing a defense strategy in a Chicago rape case, Mr. Freidberg will interview witnesses, consider ulterior motives, identify law enforcement errors, analyze DNA test results, expose conflicting statements and conduct a thorough investigation. Mr. Freidberg utilizes a stable of experts and investigators as well as 20 years of legal experience when building an effective defense in Cook County rape cases. The earlier Mr. Freidberg is retained the better he can protect clients from rape allegations by interviewing government witnesses, protecting the rights of the accused during a police lineup, identifying and/or interviewing alibi witnesses, objecting to improper questioning during interrogations, challenging DNA testing and showing alternative photographic line-ups.
While many understand rape to involve the use of force or threat of force to compel sexual penetration without consent, this is only one type of rape, sometimes referred to as “forcible rape.” There are other forms of rape where apparent consent of the complaining witness is ineffective because the alleged victim is either legally or mentally unable to consent to sexual activity or contact. These situations where the complaining witness cannot provide consent include:
- The complaining witness is not of legal age to consent to sexual intercourse (statutory rape).
- The purported victim is unable to provide consent because of alcohol or drug intoxication.
- A mental disability prevents the alleged victim from having the capacity to consent.
While subjecting another person to harm or the threat of harm to compel the individual to engage in sexual penetration without consent is one form of sexual assault, there are other forms of sexual assault besides forcible rape. Sexual assault includes other forms of non-consensual physical contact with a sexual organ and can even refer to overly aggressive inappropriate sexual comments. Sexual penetration may include even slight contact between the sex organs, mouth or anus of one individual and the sex organ, an object, anus or mouth of another individual. There is no requirement that semen be secreted to establish sexual penetration.
The specific criminal charge will be dictated by the type of force used and the harm inflicted on the victim. Anyone convicted of a form of sexual assault in Chicago or elsewhere in Cook County may face serious penalties, including imprisonment, mandatory mental health counseling, restitution, sex offender registration, substantial fines and other penalties. Rape is a Class 1 Felony in Illinois and may result in exposure to a term in state prison of four to fifteen years for a first offense and up to sixty years if the accused has prior convictions. A rape conviction may also result in a fine of up to $25,000.Statutory Rape
While states vary on what age a person must be to give lawful consent to sexual activity, Illinois law deems anyone under the age of 17 as being incapable of lawful consent. Under the laws of our state, this incapacity of someone who is not of lawful age to give consent applies regardless of the age of the accused. While statutory rape may be a felony, it is considered a misdemeanor if either: (1) the accused is under 17 and the victim is at least 9; or (2) the accused is less than five years older than the complaining witness, and the victim is at least 13.
It is important to understand that it does not matter if sexual contact is consensual when faced with a statutory rape charge. The point is that the underage complaining witness is legally incapable of providing consent. The fact that the alleged victim told you that he or she was of legal age or possessed a fake ID is not a defense to statutory rape. Although the parents of a purported victim often initiate a statutory rape allegation, the prosecutor can pursue a charge of statutory rape even over the objections of the underage individual and/or his or her parents.Date Rape
Date rape is a non-legal term that typically refers to forcible sexual contact during a consensual social interaction where one of the parties resists sexual contact or is unable to provide consent. It is not a defense in such cases to point out that the parties were on a date or that they have had sexual contact on prior occasions. Even if the purported victim does not make a vocal protest or physically resist sexual advances, this will not necessarily prevent a date rape charge. Rape charges often are filed in this situation because the complaining witness is too intoxicated by drugs or alcohol to consent. In other cases, the accused may be alleged to have used a drug like rohypnol (“roofies”) or GHB to incapacitate the victim.Defenses to Illinois Rape Charges
While the specific defenses that Mr. Freidberg may employ in a rape case will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of the case, some of the defenses that he may successfully employ include:
- Consent by a person lawfully able to consent
- Improper motives for claiming rape, such as to gain an advantage in a family law case
- Contamination, improper chain of custody or other deficiencies involving DNA or other physical evidence
- Faulty eyewitness identification because of stress, poor lighting or other factors
- Incriminating statements unlawfully obtained
- Lack of intent
- Physical evidence obtained in violation of Fourth Amendment
Experienced Chicago rape defense attorney David L. Freidberg understands that a rape charge can have a lifelong impact on one’s life and future. We know that sometimes people change their mind after engaging in consensual sex because of guilt about engaging in an act of infidelity. In other cases, the stress of a rape or sexual assault can lead to faulty identification. Mr. Freidberg is committed to protecting the reputation, freedom and lives of his clients. We provide a confidential consultation so that we can explain your Constitutional rights and potential defense strategies. We invite you to contact us at 312-560-7100 or email us to learn how we can help.