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Date Rape Laws in Baton Rouge, LA

The term date rape is commonly used to refer to sexual assault by a person familiar with the victim, whether it’s a recent acquaintance or longtime friend. The government uses a system of date rape laws to determine the charges for these cases.

What Is Date Rape?

Date rape (sometimes called acquaintance rape) is when an individual is forced to participate in unwanted sexual activity by a person he or she knows. The term is misleading because it often refers to a stranger a victim encounters in a bar or club. Many experts use the term “drug-facilitated sexual assault” to describe one of the most common scenarios.

According to a recent national survey, approximately 15% of women students on college campuses reported being victims of rape, and 12% reported being victims of attempted rape. These numbers only reflect the women who reported the incidents. Police estimate that only 30% of all rapes are reported. In addition, the survey reported that 75% of the assailants and 55% of the victims had used alcohol or other drugs prior to the assault.

Date Rape Drugs

Date rape drugs, those commonly used to facilitate sex crimes, include:

  • Alcohol
  • Rohypnol (roofies)
  • GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyrate)
  • Club drugs such as “liquid ecstasy”
  • Ketamine (Special K)

These drugs are often odorless, colorless, and tasteless and can be put undetected into a victim’s drink. They are powerful drugs that make the victim weak, confused, or unconscious. The victim may not remember anything that happened while under the influence of date rape drugs. These drugs are used on men and women.

Rape Charges in Louisiana

There are four general levels of rape charges in Louisiana1, and these are distinguished by the following factors:

  1. Sexual battery is touching the victim sexually or making the victim touch the assailant sexually without the victim’s consent, or with consent, if the victim is younger than age 15, three years younger than the assailant, and not married to the defendant. A person older than age 17 commits sexual battery by touching the victim without the victim’s consent where the victim is
    1. Paraplegic, quadriplegic or otherwise incapable of resisting
    2. If the victim is mentally incapacitated (including by being drugged) and the defendant knows or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
    3. Or if the victim is older than age 6.

  2. Simple rape includes cases in which the victim is unable to resist or understand the nature of the act due to intoxication or another reason, and the assailant knew or should have known that the victim was incapacitated. The victim may also be temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the act, and the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was incapacitated, or the defendant intentionally misled a female victim into believing he was her husband.
  3. Forcible rape includes the use of force or threats of physical violence as well as cases when a victim is prevented from resisting or understanding the nature of the act due to a narcotic or other controlled substance administered by the defendant without the victim’s knowledge.
  4. Aggravated rape includes preventing the victim from resisting by force, threats, or use of dangerous weapon. Aggravated rape also occurs if the victim is younger than age 13, older than age 65, or quadriplegic, paraplegic, or mentally retarded. When two or more perpetrators participated in the crime, it constitutes aggravated rape.

All of these sex crimes are serious felonies punishable by imprisonment and fines, and require registration in the sex offender registry.

  • Aggravated rape, the most serious charge, is punishable by life without parole at hard labor.
  • Forcible rape is punishable by 5–40 years imprisonment at hard labor.
  • Simple rape is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, with or without hard labor.
  • Sexual battery sentencing varies based on the circumstances of the offense but the least serious sentences are up to 10 years with or without hard labor, and the most serious carry up to 99 years imprisonment at hard labor and lifetime electronic monitoring.

Louisiana Sex Offender Registry

To protect the public from sex offenders, who often pose a high rate of reoffending, the legislature has enacted a program run by the Louisiana State Police – Public Safety Services, requiring convicted sex offenders to register with state and local law enforcement agencies. The act also requires these agencies to provide and exchange information with state, local, and federal public agencies and officials and the general public.

There are three categories of sex offenders.

  • Tier I offenders require annual registration for 15 years.
  • Tier II offenses (involving a minor) will have a 25-year registration period conducted semi-annually.
  • Tier III offenses (“aggravated offenses”) have a lifetime registration period conducted quarterly.

In addition to state penalties for failure to register as a sex offender, a defendant can be charged with a federal crime for failure to register as a sex offender.

Defense of a Rape Charge

Individuals who are being investigated or who have been charged with rape need to work with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Investigators will often contact you looking “just to talk.” We suggest that you do not speak with any police investigator without your attorney present.

While statistics show that false reports of rape are a fairly small percentage (2%–8%) of reports, they still happen.

Meeting sexual partners on the internet is a situation fraught with danger for all parties involved. Many so-called “hook-up” sites are not only hunting grounds for sexual predators but also thieves and extortionists. There is no “age of consent” for a minor in Louisiana, and young people looking for fun or for an opportunity to engage in extortion, have been known to lie about their age on internet dating sites. Individuals are also known to suffer from the “morning-after” embarrassment or shame of having been “caught” by a dating partner, spouse, or parent. These instances have led to individuals to file false rape reports to “save face” and avoid personal responsibility with their loved ones, or by angry parents seeking to avoid public embarrassment by a child’s misadventures.

An experienced criminal attorney can help you navigate the process of investigation through the courts. You need someone who understands the system to assist you in dealing with police and prosecutors. The stakes are high—prison and sex offender registration will affect your future—so contact a criminal lawyer today.

1This is a general guide. Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 14, Criminal Law, Sections 41-43.6, 80-89.2, and various other sections, provide detailed descriptions of numerous sex offenses. Consult with an attorney if you believe that you are going to be accused of violating, or may have violated, one of these provisions.