Sexual Assault in Relationships

Sexual assault in a relationship may seem like a contradictory statement.  After all, most romantic relationships, particularly marital relationships imply a sexual relationship.  Despite this, it is possible to sexually assault a romantic partner as Colorado law dictates that consent be required even if two people are married to one another.  Under Colorado law, dating relationships are also privy to charges of date rape, which is considered to be sexual assault.

Date Rape

Date rape, as defined by Colorado law is considered to have occurred when a person is sexually assaulted by the person they are dating.  Colorado law takes all rape cases very seriously, even if the couple was dating, considering it to be a criminal offense.

Sexual assault can be more specifically defined as any form of sexual intrusion or penetration that was not consented to by the victim.  Sexual assault under Colorado law encompasses situations involving a victim that was unable to consent with the perpetrator aware of this fact, sexual assault as a direct result of intentionally drugging or intoxicating the victim, or the victim submitting to the sexual assault.

In instances of date rape that involve people in a romantic relationship, additional charges may be filed including domestic violence charges.  It does not matter if the relationship is current or previous, but it must involve people who were part of unmarried couples.  In instances of date rape occurring on the first date, it is possible that the encounter will not be considered as occurring between intimate partners.  Therefore, the guilty party will only face charges for the sexual assault, but no additional charges for domestic violence.

Consequences of Date Rape

The specific circumstances of each case will be taken into consideration, particularly factors such as the perpetrator’s prior criminal history and if the victim was injured during the rape.  Typically, date rape is a Colorado class 4 felony.  In the event of extenuating circumstances such as the perpetrator using drugs or intoxicants to cause submission to the rape, the crime will be considered a Colorado class 3 felony.  More serious forms of sexual assault that resulted in serious bodily injury, were perpetrated with a deadly weapon or included an accomplice will be considered a Colorado class 2 felony.

If convicted of a class 4 felony you may face up to 8 years in prison and as much as $500,000 in fines.  For the conviction of a class 3 felony, you may face up to 16 years in prison and, as much as $750,000 in fines.  A class 2 felony carries with it penalties of up to 24 years in prison and, as much as 1 million in fines.

Spousal Rape

Spousal rape under Colorado law includes having sex with one’s spouse without consent.  Colorado law considers spousal rape a serious offense to be regarded on the same level as sexual assault, in addition to domestic violence charges.  Gone are the days when a spouse could not claim rape if they were defiled by the person they are married to.  Instead, spouses are now protected from sexual assault to the same degree as unmarried persons.

All forms of rape are considered sexual assault in Colorado.  Sexual assault can be defined as sexual intrusion or penetration that occurs without consent, even if between spouses.  Such an instance would lead to charges of spousal rape.  Spouses are also protected from sexual assaults occurring when the spouse was aware the victim spouse was unable to give consent or was merely submitting.

Consequences for Spousal Rape

Specific factors such as the perpetrator’s prior criminal history and if the victim sustained injuries related to the rape impact the severity of consequences.  For those convicted of a class 4 felony that does not include force or bodily injury to the victim, the perpetrator may face up to 8 years in prison and, as much as $500,000 in fines.  If you are convicted of a class 3 felony as a result of drugging the victim, forcing a submission through violence/force, threatening the victim with death, bodily injury, torture, or kidnapping, or threatening retaliation to the victim or someone close to them, you may face up to 16 years in prison and, as much as $750,000 in fines.  A conviction of a class 2 felony will result in, as much as 24 years in prison and up to 1 million dollars in fines.  Factors that are taken into consideration for this crime is the involvement of an accomplice, the victim sustaining serious bodily injury, or the use of or threatened use of a deadly weapon.  If the conviction is directly related to spousal rape, additional domestic violence penalties such as treatment or counseling for domestic violence, restraining orders, limitations on firearm ownership or possession, and sex offender registry, may apply.

If you find yourself facing charges for a date or spousal rape don’t hesitate to consult legal counsel today!