NY Penal Code Section 130.25: Third-Degree Rape

by ECL Writer
New York Penal Law Section 130.55: Third-Degree Sexual Abuse

In the realm of criminal law, few subjects are as sensitive and contentious as sexual offences. New York, like many other states, has stringent laws in place to protect individuals from sexual misconduct and assault. Among these statutes, NY Penal Code Section 130.25 addresses a specific form of sexual crime known as third-degree rape.

Third-degree rape is a charge that carries significant legal and social consequences for those accused. Understanding the nuances of this legal provision is crucial, not only for legal practitioners but also for anyone interested in the pursuit of justice and the protection of individual rights.

In this article, eastcoastlaws.com will delve into the intricacies of NY Penal Code Section 130.25, exploring its definition, elements, penalties, and the broader implications it has within the legal landscape of New York.

Third-Degree Rape

Under the New York Penal Code Section 130.25, an individual can be charged with the sex crime of rape in the third degree if they engage in any of the following actions

  • Engaging in Sexual Intercourse: Having sexual intercourse with another person without their consent constitutes third-degree rape. This includes any form of penetration, no matter how slight, without the other person’s freely given and informed consent.
  • Incapacity to Consent: If the victim is unable to give consent due to a mental disability, being physically helpless, or being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point where they cannot provide consent, engaging in sexual intercourse with them is considered third-degree rape.
  • Age Discrepancy: If the victim is under the age of 17 years old and the perpetrator is 21 years old or older, engaging in sexual intercourse with the minor can result in a third-degree rape charge. This provision is in place to protect minors from sexual exploitation by older individuals.
  • Authority Figure Abuse: If the accused is an authority figure, such as a teacher, coach, or employee in a position of trust or authority, and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is less than 21 years old and under their supervision, they can be charged with third-degree rape.
  • Mental Incapacity: Engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is incapable of giving consent due to a mental disorder or developmental disability, even if the act appears consensual, can lead to a third-degree rape charge.

It is essential to recognize that New York law takes consent seriously, and consent must be clear, voluntary, and informed. Any sexual activity without consent or with a person who cannot legally provide consent may result in criminal charges, including third-degree rape. Understanding the specifics of this law is critical for both individuals to protect their rights and for society to maintain the safety and well-being of its members.


The prosecutor will need to show that you did not have consent to have sexual contact with the other person because the absence of consent is a requirement for a charge of rape in the third degree or any sex offence. You cannot be found guilty of third-degree rape if it can be proven that there was consent.

The statute of limitations could be used as a defence in another situation. The statute of limitations is a legal term that describes the window of opportunity a prosecutor has to file criminal charges against a defendant. The five-year statute of limitations applies to third-degree rape.

This means that if you are not charged with third-degree rape within five years of the alleged crime, you cannot be charged at all. However, the statute of limitations does not start to run until the person who accuses you of third-degree rape turns 18 or until the incident is reported to law authorities if they were underage at the time of the incident.

Sentencing for Rape in the Third Degree in New York

Rape in the Third Degree is classified as a class E felony in New York. A first-time offender facing this charge can expect a determinate prison sentence ranging from 1.5 to 4 years.

Furthermore, a period of post-release supervision, lasting between 3 to 10 years, is mandatory. There are three other potential sentences that could be imposed upon conviction for Rape in the Third Degree.

  • In certain circumstances, if the judge deems it appropriate based on the nature of the crime and the individual’s history and character, a sentence of up to 1 year in prison can be given, considering that a longer term would be excessively severe.
  • Alternatively, the judge may opt for a probationary sentence of up to 10 years if it’s determined that incarceration is not essential for public safety, and the convicted person requires treatment that can be provided by the Department of Probation, while still aligning with the principles of justice.
  • A person found guilty of Rape in the Third Degree may also be mandated to undergo HIV testing.

In addition to the aforementioned penalties, a conviction for this offence necessitates registration on the New York Sex Offender Registry. The specific level of registration (Level 1, 2, or 3) is determined by a judge based on the assessed risk of committing another sex offence.

New York Penal Code section 130.25: Rape in the third degree.

A person is guilty of rape in the third degree when:

  • He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than seventeen years old;
  • Being twenty-one years old or more, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person less than seventeen years old; or
  • He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent where such lack of consent is by reason of some factor other than incapacity to consent.

Speak With a Rape Lawyer in NYC Today

  • Contact the New York State Bar Association: They can provide referrals to experienced attorneys in your area.
  • Use Online Legal Directories: Websites like Avvo, FindLaw, or Justia can help you search for attorneys by practice area and location.
  • Seek Personal Recommendations: If you know anyone who has been in a similar situation, they may be able to recommend a lawyer.
  • Consult Legal Aid Organizations: Organizations like the Legal Aid Society may provide assistance or referrals for individuals who can’t afford private legal representation.
  • Contact Local Law Firms: Reach out to law firms in your area that specialize in criminal defence or sexual assault cases.
  • Consider Initial Consultations: Many lawyers offer free or low-cost initial consultations. Use these meetings to assess whether a particular attorney is the right fit for your case.

It’s crucial to find an attorney who specializes in the specific area of law that pertains to your case and who has experience handling similar cases. Additionally, be sure to ask about their fees and payment arrangements during your initial consultation.

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