How is Rape Defined in Mississippi Law?

No matter which state you live in, rape is always a serious crime in the U.S. That being said, each state may define this crime in slightly different ways. If you have been accused of this crime in Mississippi, it is important to understand the specific actions that are legally defined as rape in the Magnolia State. You should also connect with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These professionals can help you strive for justice. If you have been falsely accused of rape, a skilled attorney can use a number of different strategies to prove your innocence in court.


The Legal Definition of Rape in Mississippi


It must be said that the legal definition of rape in Mississippi is quite antiquated. According to the official law, rape is defined in Mississippi as “an assault with intent to forcibly ravish any female of previous chaste character.”


So, what does this mean (in plain English)? Essentially, this law is a throwback to laws in England that are hundreds of years old (and no longer enforced). In order for a woman to prove that she had been raped in this era, she needed to show that she had been chaste prior to the assault. In other words, a woman who was not a virgin could not legally claim that she had been raped.


Of course, that argument no longer holds up, and it is an unwritten rule in Mississippi courts to assume that all victims are chaste. However, this antiquated wording means that many prosecutors choose instead to rely on the laws pertaining to sexual battery. Many observers and organizations feel that Mississippi’s sexual assault laws are not strict enough.


Sexual Battery


Mississippi’s laws are much more clear when it comes to sexual battery. This is essentially a separate law that also covers rape and similar offenses. A person is guilty of sexual battery in Mississippi if they engage in a sex act with another person without their permission. In addition, a person will also be guilty if they engage in a sex act with someone who is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or “physically helpless,” regardless of whether they consent or not.


Sexual battery also covers acts with children to some degree (Mississippi also has separate statutory rape laws). A person is guilty of this crime if they engage in sex acts with children who are in their care. For example, a teacher who engages in a sex act with one of their high school students would most likely be charged with sexual battery.


According to the way this law is phrased, there must be penetration in order for a person to be charged with sexual battery. This is another sticking point for various activist groups, as many other states define rape in more broad terms. Groping or fondling does not classify as rape in Mississippi, and there are few laws that govern such acts outside of “disturbing the peace.”


Get Help From a Legal Expert Today


If you have been accused of rape or a similar crime in Mississippi, it makes sense to enlist the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney who is experienced with these matters. Reach out to Vic Carmody Jr, P.A. today.


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