Skip to Content
Offices in Cleveland & Columbus, Ohio 888-694-4645
Top

When You Need Skilled Criminal Defense

Helping Our Clients Put Their Charges Behind Them

Ohio Rape Defense Attorneys

Defense Against Rape Charges in Cleveland, Columbus and Throughout Ohio

What is Rape According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02?

Rape in Ohio is defined by Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02, there are several subsections that define Rape in Ohio.

Subsection (A)(1) of Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02 prohibits persons from engaging in sexual conduct with another who is not the spouse of the offender or who is the spouse of the offender but is living separate and apart from the offender, when any of the following applies:

  • For the purpose of preventing resistance, the offender substantially impairs the other person's judgment or control by administering any drug, intoxicant, or controlled substance to the other person surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception;
  • The other person is less than thirteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person; or
  • The other person's ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age, and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person's ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition or because of advanced age.

Subsection (A)(2) of Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02 prohibits persons from engaging in sexual conduct with another when the offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force.

What Does This Mean?

Written more simply, Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02 states that a person may be convicted of Rape in Ohio if:

A person engaged in sexual conduct with another who is not their spouse or separated spouse and:

  1. The person impairs the alleged victim’s judgment by giving them drugs, alcohol, or other substances, or impairs the alleged victim’s judgment by use of force, threats, or deception;
  2. The alleged victim is under the age of 13 (regardless of whether the person knows it); 
  3. The alleged victim’s ability to resist is substantially diminished because of a mental or physical condition and the person knows of this diminishment; and
    1. Often times the alleged victim’s ability to resist is substantially diminished by things such as intoxication or sleep.
  4.  The person engages in sexual conduct with another (including their spouse) when the person compels the other by force or threat of force.

It is important to note that the age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old. Under Ohio law, individuals aged 15 years or younger do not have the ability to legally consent to sexual conduct.

What is Sexual Conduct in Ohio?

Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.01 defines sexual conduct as vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio/cunnilingus (oral sex) between persons regardless of sex; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse.

Does a Victim Need to Prove Anything at Trial?

According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02(C), a victim does not need to prove physical resistance to the offender in prosecutions under this section. This means that the State of Ohio does not need to prove that the victim tried to fight back in order prosecute someone of rape in Ohio.

What Happens at Trial For Rape in Ohio?

Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02 discusses the admissibility of evidence in rape cases in Ohio, as well as the rights of the victim. 

Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02(D) states that, “Evidence of specific instances of the victim’s sexual activity, opinion evidence of the victim’s sexual activity, and reputation evidence of the victim’s sexual activity shall not be admitted under this section unless it involves evidence of the origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease, or the victim’s past sexual activity with the offender, and only to the extent that the court finds that the evidence is material to a fact at issue in the case and that its inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value. Evidence of specific instances of the defendant’s sexual activity, opinion evidence of the defendant’s sexual activity, and reputation evidence of the defendant’s sexual activity shall not be admitted under this section unless it involves evidence of the origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease, the defendant’s past sexual activity with the victim, or is admissible against the defendant under section 2945.59 of the Revised Code, and only to the extent that the court finds that the evidence is material to a fact at issue in the case and that its inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value.”

This means that, at trial, neither the State of Ohio, nor the defense can produce evidence of the offender or the victim’s past sexual history unless it is used to prove the origin of disease, pregnancy, semen, or a past sexual relationship between the victim and the offender. This is commonly referred to as Ohio’s Rape Shield Law. The purpose of this law is to avoid situations wherein the accused uses a victim’s sexual promiscuity as a defense, or the State uses the accused sexual promiscuity to suggest they are more likely to commit rape.

If evidence of prior sexual history is intended to be used during a rape trial in Ohio, Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02(E) states that, “prior to taking testimony or receiving evidence of any sexual activity of the victim or the defendant in a proceeding under this section, the court shall resolve the admissibility of the proposed evidence in a hearing in chambers, which shall be held at or before preliminary hearing and not less than three days before trial, or for good cause shown during the trial.” This means that any evidence of prior sexual activity must be approved by the court, outside the presence of the jury, before it is allowed to be presented to the jury.

Does a Victim Have Any Rights Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02?

Yes. Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02(F) states, “upon approval by the court, the victim may be represented by counsel in any hearing in chambers or other proceeding to resolve the admissibility of evidence. If the victim is indigent or otherwise is unable to obtain the services of counsel, the court, upon request, may appoint counsel to represent the victim without cost to the victim.” This means that the court can allow the victim to be represented by an attorney in matters related to the admissibility of evidence. The court may also appoint an attorney if the victim cannot afford one themselves.

What Are The Penalties For Rape in Ohio?

The penalties for rape in Ohio vary depending on a number of different factors. These factors and penalties are fully explained in Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.02(B). Under this section, sentences range from:

  • Mandatory 3-11 years if someone is convicted of rape by administering a drug/intoxicant/or by force (adult victim);
  • Mandatory 3-11 years if the defendant is less than 16 at the time of the offense and did not cause serious physical harm to the victim and the victim was 10 or older;
  • Mandatory 3-11 years if the victim’s ability to resist was impaired by a mental or physical condition;
  • 5-11 years if someone is convicted of administering a scheduled controlled substance to the victim;
  • Mandatory 10 years to life if the victim was less than 13 years old;
  • Mandatory 15 years to life if the victim was less than 10 years old;
  • Mandatory 25 years to life or life without parole if the victim was less than 13 years old and the offender caused serious physical harm;
  • Mandatory 25 years to life or life without parole if the victim was 13 and the offender used force or threat of force.
  • Mandatory Classification as a Tier III Sex Offender, which requires individuals to register as a sex offender every 90 days for life. Registration may have additional impact on an individual’s ability to secure housing and employment.

What to do if You Are Accused of Rape in Ohio

Being accused of rape in Ohio carries significant consequences and can have an extreme effect on one’s life, regardless of whether they are convicted or not. If you, or someone you know has been accused of rape in Ohio, it is recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney who has specific knowledge and experience handling rape cases in Ohio. It is important to speak to an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney before speaking to anyone about the allegations, as anything you say can and will likely be used against you, even if the statement is not made to law enforcement.

An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss your case and the allegations against you, help you gather evidence that may be beneficial for your defense, give advice on how to speak and act around loved ones who know about the accusations, and make sure that you are treated properly throughout any investigation or proceeding. If you are contacted by law enforcement, it is never recommended to make a statement. Instead, be polite but respectfully decline answering any questions. Immediately, contact an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney. 

At Friedman Nemecek & Long, L.L.C., our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys have travelled all across the State of Ohio representing individuals facing criminal investigations or charges related to rape allegations. Our lawyers stay abreast of the constant changes in legislation and/or court cases to ensure that our clients receive the most comprehensive and effective representation available. If you have questions regarding such matters, or you have been subjected to, or accused of, rape or other sexual misconduct, please call the law firm of Friedman Nemecek & Long, L.L.C., at (888) 694-4645  for an initial consultation. 


Call Friedman Nemecek & Long, L.L.C. today at (888) 694-4645 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our criminal defense lawyers!


Meet Our Defense Team There's No Substitute for Experience

When it comes to a criminal matter, it’s important to have an attorney with trial experience, as they know the people working within the justice system and how to present compelling cases. Our lawyers are skilled litigators and prepared to represent you in court.

a Nationally Recognized Law Firm

Many of Our Cases Have Appeared in the Media
  • Court TV
  • New York Times
  • NBC
  • Fox News
  • CNN
  • Huffpost
  • USA Today
  • ABC
  • The Washington Post

LET'S GET STARTED

We’re Ready to Help

A member of our team will be in touch shortly to confirm your contact details or address questions you may have.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy
  • Co-Chair of American Bar Association Cyber Committee
  • Former President of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Former President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Legal Educators & Analysts
  • American College of Trial Lawyers Fellow
  • Rule 20 Certified - Lead Trial Counsel Capital Cases
  • Former President of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers
  • Recognized Leaders in the Legal Community
  • Practicing Throughout U.S. & Internationally
  • National Authors & Speakers on Our Team