Rape or Sexual Assault Knoxville Criminal Defense Lawyers
Aggressive representation if you or someone you care about is being prosecuted for sex offense charges
A rape charge is frightening. A conviction means a long jail sentence and destruction of your reputation. A guilty finding will cause you to lose your job. Convictions carry significant fines. You’ll be labeled a sex offender. For all these reasons, if you or someone you love was accused of rape or sexual assault you need the help of top-tier legal defense lawyers.
You can trust that our Knoxville sexual assault defense lawyers have the experience and tenacity to fight for your freedom. We understand the arguments and evidence that win rape charges. Our lawyers challenge accusers in court. At Banks and Jones, we work to show that sexual intercourse was consensual. Our counselors have a track record of challenging false accusations. We review DNA, toxicology, and other chemical tests to help establish your innocence. In some cases, we argue that the accuser or witnesses are unreliable because they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The definition of rape in Tennessee
This is what the laws say:
- Rape. Rape, in Tennessee, is a Class B felony. Anyone convicted of rape will be sentenced to between 8 and 30 years. They will also have to pay fines up to $25,000. The Tennessee Code Annotated defines rape as:
- The unlawful sexual penetration by the defendant of a victim accompanied just one of the following:
- Force or coercion
- Lack of the victims’ consent where the defendant had direct knowledge (or reason to know) that the victim did not give consent to the sexual penetration
- The defendant knows, or reasonably knows, that the victim
- Is mentally defective or
- Is mentally incapacitated or
- Is physically helpless
- Fraud is used to accomplish the sexual penetration
- Aggravated rape. Aggravated rape is a Class A felony, which means fines up to $50,000 and between 15 and 60 years in prison, if you’re convicted. The unlawful sexual penetration must:
- Be accompanied by force or coercion and the defendant must have been armed with a weapon or a device that the victim reasonably thought was a weapon
- Or the defendant must have caused the victim to suffer bodily injury
- Or the defendant was assisted by another person (or more) and either force or coercion was used, or the defendant knew or reasonably knew the victim was mentally incapacitated, mentally defective, or physically helpless.
- Statutory rape. Tennessee has several categories of statutory rape depending on the ages of the victim, the age of the defendant, and whether the defendant had a position of trust, discipline or supervision over the victim. The four categories of statutory rape are:
- Standard statutory rape
- Mitigated statutory rape
- Aggravated statutory rape
- Statutory rape by an authority figure
Your Knoxville rape attorney will review the statutes with you and the exact criteria that constitutes the specific rape charge.
The definition of sexual assault in Tennessee
In Tennessee, defendants can be charged with several types of sexual battery (assault) charges:
- Sexual battery. Intentional sexual contact through force, coercion, or if the touching is without the victim’s consent or the defendant knows of the victim’s mental or physical difficulties. Intentional sexual contact by fraud is also sexual battery.
- Aggravated sexual battery. This is sexual content by the use of a weapon, force, coercion, or physical injury with the assistance of at least one other person – or if the victim is 12 years or younger.
- Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure. If the victim is between 13 and 17, or is physically or mentally incapacitated, and the defendant meets the definition of an authority figure – then intentional sexual assault by an authority figure will be charged. An authority figure is typically someone in a position of trust over the victim such as a school teacher.
You need to review the specific charge with an experienced Knoxville sexual assault lawyer.
Anyone convicted of a sexual assault or any form or rape will likely be required to register with a national sex offender registry. This affects where defendants can live, work, and your reputation. Offenders need to check in with the registry or local police for years or for the rest of their lives.
How our Knoxville sexual assault and rape lawyers can fight the charges
Remember this: being accused isn’t the same thing as being convicted. The government must prove each element of the charge. If they can’t, then the charges should be dismissed. Rape and sexual assault are tough cases because, so often, you’re already seen as guilty in the Court of Public Opinion. But you are guaranteed the right to fair trial, and we will fight like mad to ensure that is what you get. We’ll petition for a change of venue when necessary, review every scrap of evidence, and fight to prove that the charges shouldn’t stick.
In Tennessee, anyone 17 years of age or under cannot give their consent to sexual penetration. This means that a defendant who has sexual intercourse or sexually penetrates anyone under 18 may be charged with statutory rape, even if the sex is consensual. Tennessee’s “Romeo and Juliet” exemption – Tenn. Code § 39-13-506 (2017) – may apply to teenagers as long as one party is at least 13, and there is no more than four years’ age difference between both parties.
In Tennessee, you have the right to assert that your federal or Tennessee Constitutional rights were violated. You have the right to confront the witnesses against you in court. If we cannot have your charges dropped completely, our lawyers fight relentlessly to dismiss the charges or have them reduced through a plea negotiation.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
You have the right to contact an experienced rape and sexual assault lawyer now
At Banks and Jones, our Knoxville criminal defense lawyers understand the criminal litigation process. We understand how scary these charges are. We work with prosecutors to negotiate fair plea bargains that will be acceptable to judges. Our attorneys are always prepared to fight for your rights before judges and in front of juries. Please call our Knoxville lawyers immediately if you or someone you know has been charged with rape or sexual assault. You can reach us at 865-546-2141 or contact us.