Date Rape

An accusation of date rape can be very damaging to the alleged offender, long before the case even goes to trial and actual innocence or guilt is proven. Anyone that has been accused of sexual assault or any kind of sexual offense should contact an attorney with experience in defending charges of this nature immediately.


Defining Date Rape and Sexual Assault

Nevada includes date rape within the more general legal classification of sexual assaults, which are defined in NRS 200.366 as:

●      Subjecting another person to sexual penetration

●      Forcing another person to make a sexual penetration on themselves or someone else, against the will of the victim

●      Forcing or subjecting someone to sexual penetration under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct

In relation to date rape, specifically, this means that having sex with someone either against their will through the use of force or threat of harm or while they are in a state that makes them either incapable of saying no and/or of understanding what is happening.


Common Factors in Date Rape Offenses

Date rapes frequently take place in an environment at which alcohol is being served and the victim either consumes too much alcohol of their own volition, has willingly taken some form of drug or had their drink or food spiked with a “date rape drug”. This term usually refers to the drug, Rohypnol (often called “roofies”).

When it is used as intended, Rohypnol is for anesthesia or as a treatment for insomnia – in cases of date rape, it is used to render the victim unconscious in order to commit a sexual assault. Due to this nefarious connection, when someone is found to have unlawful possession of Rohypnol in Nevada, it is treated as the possession of a Schedule I drug. This alone can result in a prison sentence.

Date rapes usually occur after the consumption of alcohol or a drug and can be committed by someone the victim considers a friend or acquaintance, though this also includes assaults by strangers in some social situations. There are many incidents of date rape in which the victims are unable to fully remember the events that occurred due to the influence of drugs or alcohol still in their system when they wake up.


Penalties for Conviction of Date Rape

Due to the fact that Nevada classifies date rape as part of their sexual assault laws, the penalties for the conviction of this crime are very serious. Date rape is punishable as a category A felony, with penalties that vary depending on any existing criminal record of the perpetrator, as well as the age of the victim and whether or not they suffered substantial bodily harm. Some sentences may also require registration in the national database of sex offenders.

The penalties break down as follows:

●      Victim Aged Thirteen Years or Younger

When no substantial bodily harm has come to the victim, the sentence is life in state prison with a possibility of parole after 35 years are served. If there was substantial bodily harm, the sentence is life in state prison with no possible parole.

●      Victim Aged Fourteen or Fifteen Years

When no substantial bodily harm has come to the victim, the sentence is life in state prison with a possibility of parole after 25 years. If there was substantial bodily harm, the sentence is life in state prison with no possible parole.

●      Victim Aged Sixteen or Older

When no substantial bodily harm has come to the victim, the sentence is life in state prison with a possibility of parole after 10 years. If there was substantial bodily harm, the sentence is life in state prison with no possible parole.

●      Repeat Offenses

Anyone who has a prior offense of date rape/sexual assault or a sexual offense with a child that is found to be guilty of a second similar sexual offense with a child who is under sixteen years of age will face a penalty of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

●      Possession and Sale of Rohypnol

Due to the role that Rohypnol often plays in date rape scenarios, it bears noting that it is illegal to unlawfully possess, possess with the intention to sell or sell this drug in Nevada. Even first-time offenses can result in a felony charge if convicted, with a state prison sentence and steep fines.


Defending Accusations of Date Rape

There are a few different defenses that often apply when someone has been accused of date rape. Many of these accusations, when solid evidence is not present, can come down to the stories of the victim and the alleged offender, which makes building a solid case of guilt difficult for the prosecution. Some of the most applicable defenses include the following:

Consent Was Given

Sex cannot be considered rape if the accusing party consented to it. However, it is impossible for someone who is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or unconscious, to give legal consent.

The Accusations are False

Though the subject can understandably be a sensitive one, there are, unfortunately, cases in which accusations of date rape have been made falsely. Establishing reasonable doubt about a supposed lack of consent or about the crime in general may result in the case being dismissed.

Actual Intercourse Did Not Take Place

If a sexual act took place but did not include actual penetration, then it is not legally considered to be intercourse and by extension, rape. In this type of circumstance, a charge of date rape may be lessened to a more accurate charge, such as open and gross lewdness.


If you or someone you care about has been charged with this very serious sexual offense, it is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. If you would like to speak to someone about your case, please call our office today. We offer free case evaluations and want to hear your side of the story.


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