How is “Date Rape” Different From Regular “Rape”?

Date rape doesn’t have to include an actual date in order to count as rape!

You’ve probably heard the terms “rape” and “date rape”, and you may have wondered why they were different. So we’d like to clear up any confusion you may have about what exactly these two types of sexual assault are, what Michigan law has to say about them, and how they differ from each other.

The words you use for sexual assault matter.

First, let’s be clear about the differences between common, everyday terminology, and legal terminology. Here in Michigan, the term “rape” isn’t a recognized legal definition. In other words, anyone who is charged with ‘raping’ another person (forcing another person to engage in sexual penetration) will be charged with either First or Third degree criminal sexual conduct. So while the word rape is commonly used, it is not used by attorneys, courts or prosecutors.

The word ‘rape’ gets used in many different circumstances.

If a person sexually assaults another person by forcing them to participate in sexual penetration against their will, whether they’re on a date (date rape), under the age of consent (child rape), or married (spousal rape), it’ll still be charged as Third degree or First degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan. Michigan law doesn’t use the word ‘rape’ in any context. So while it may be a common term used in conversation, the law in Michigan categorizes both ‘date rape’ and ‘rape’ as the same thing – criminal sexual conduct.

The connection between the victim and the rapist defines the difference.

Despite the fact that Michigan law doesn’t use the terms, most people still understand the difference. ‘Rape’ refers to someone forcing another person to engage in sexual penetration against their will, whereas ‘date rape’ refers to a known assailant who isn’t a stranger, but also isn’t a spouse, or a family member. When someone is accused of ‘date raping’ someone else, it’s usually someone they knew, and had some kind of relationship with, however brief or peripheral.

So who exactly could be a ‘date rapist’?

A ‘date rapist’ is usually a boyfriend, a person you have a casual relationship with, someone you just met and are going on a first date with, or someone you met in a social situation and perhaps spent some time talking to. This is also where the term ‘date rape drugs’ comes from, as strangers who sexually assault people don’t usually take the time to drug them first. Whereas people who administer ‘date rape drugs’ to potential victims usually have time to drug their drinks in advance, usually while ‘chatting them up’ at a bar, or spending time with them on a date.

Being accused of sexually assaulting someone can be devastating!

It’s critical that you get legal help if you’ve been accused of rape, or of committing any kind of sexual offense. At The Kronzek Firm we take an aggressive stance on defending our clients, which may includes hiring top-notch expert witnesses and investigators to help with your case. Our criminal defense team has successfully defended clients against all kinds of sex crime charges, all over Michigan – from Lansing and Grand Rapids to Roscommon and Ann Arbor. Call 866 766 5245 today and talk to a highly skilled sex crime defense attorney right now. We’ve helped hundreds of clients over the decades and we can help you too.

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