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Arkansas Rape and Sexual Assault Laws

Sexual assault is an umbrella term that refers to any crime in which the offender subjects the victim to unwanted sexual activity. Some examples of sexual assault include inappropriate touching, rape, attempted rape, and child molestation. Sexual assault is illegal in every state, however, each state individually defines which specific acts qualify as sexual assault within that state.

In Arkansas, the crime of sexual assault is broken down into four degrees. Examples of crimes that fall into the different degrees of sexual assault are outlined below.

First-degree sexual assault: Class A felony.

  • For example, engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a minor who isn't the offender's spouse and the offender is employed by the Department of Correction and the victim is in the department's custody.

Second-degree sexual assault: Class B felony.

  • For example, engaging in sexual contact with another person by forcible compulsion.

Third-degree sexual assault: Class C felony.

  • For example, being a minor and engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with someone who is less than 14 years old and who isn't the offender's spouse.

Fourth-degree sexual assault: Class D felony.

  • For example, an offender who is 20 years old or older and engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a victim who is less than 16 years old and who isn't the offender's spouse.

Rape

Rape is a particularly serious type of sexual assault. Every state criminalizes rape and the act is generally defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse committed by physical force, threat of force, or by some other form of duress. The following chart highlights Arkansas' rape laws.

Code Section

Arkansas Code section 5-14-103: Rape

What's Prohibited?

Engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person:
  • By forcible compulsion
  • Who isn't able to consent due to being physical helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated
  • Who is less than 14 years old, or
  • Who is a minor and the offender is the victim's guardian, uncle, aunt, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandparent by adoption, brother or sister, nephew, niece, or first cousin

Definition of "Sexual Intercourse"

 

Penetration (no matter how slight) of the labia majora by a penis.

Definition of "Deviate Sexual Activity"

 

Any act of sexual gratification involving:
  • Penetration of the anus or mouth of a person by the penis of another person, or
  • Penetration of the labia majora or anus of a person by any body member or foreign instrument manipulated by another person

Penalties

Class Y felony. Punishable by imprisonment for 10-40 years, or by life in prison.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Arkansas' rape and sexual assault laws contact a local sex crime lawyer or criminal defense attorney.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex cases usually require a lawyer
  • Experienced lawyers can seek to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties
  • Sexual assaults & sex crime convictions often have long sentences and lifelong consequences

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