A person commits rape if he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis without consent and without a reasonable belief the person consented (s.1 Sexual Offences Act 2003).

Offence Nature Starting Point Range
Single incident by single offender 5 years 4 – 9 years
Rape accompanied by an aggravating factor (sustained attack, ejaculation, use of drug/alcohol etc…) 8 years 7 – 13  years
Repeated Rape of same victim by single offender or rape involving multiple victims 12 years 10 – 15 years

How we can help

There is no easy way to approach this subject. Rape is regarded as one of the most serious crimes. Even the word “rape” carries a grave stigma. For an accused person, simply being arrested for such an offence has the potential to destroy that person. It can be extremely difficult to get through what can be several months of legal proceedings with the threat of a very long prison sentence hanging over you. Certainly, having a dedicated and experienced legal team on your side will help to make the process easier for you to manage.

Over the years there has been national anger regarding celebrity and sport personalities, not to mention politicians, being accused of rape – many of whom were found not guilty. Often the attitude of the public is that the accused person ‘got away with it’. No doubt the fact that these people could afford top legal representation had a bearing on the outcome of those cases.

Our team of specialist barristers are handpicked from some of the country's leading chambers. They're trained to fight your corner in confidence. 


Did the claimant have "reasonable belief?"


The act itself must be intentional and the accused person must not have believed that the other person consented. If there was a belief that the other person consented then that belief must be reasonable. The question of what is reasonable will be decided by the jury taking into account the situation as it happened at the time.


It is usually not sufficient for the accused person to claim they thought the other person consented. The jury will consider whether any steps were taken to find out if the other person was consenting.

Although rape is no doubt a violent act, the law does not require violence to make an offence. However, if violence was used the assumption is that it was non consensual. The court will also regard the act as non consensual, as a starting point, where the victim was held captive, was asleep, unconscious, drugged or incapable of consent due to a disability and/or age.

Even where the victim ‘consented’ to having sex with the accused person, but where the victim was deceived into having sex because the accused person impersonated someone else (who the victim would have had sex with), there is still an assumption of no consent.




'Rape' isn't straightforward...


Every defence should be considered, including;

  • Consent. The question of consent is key when trying to determine whether rape was consensual or non consensual. The issue of consensual sex should have been raised during the police interview. In some cases, however, the accused person may not actually remember the incident.
  • Forensic evidence. This type of evidence is crucial in rape cases, but it is not always as certain as you might think. DNA from skin cells or bodily fluids should be checked by obtaining a full independent forensic reports. The CPS are under a duty to provide these.
  • Character. A full investigation into the background of the complainant can often assist the defence. We regularly rely on third-party reports (e.g. from Social Services), private investigators and social media inquiries. 

A police investigation may begin with a knock at the door or a visit whilst at work. The police may ask you to "come in for a friendly chat" so they can ask a "couple of questions". The police may even want your DNA so they can "eliminate you from the investigation." Please don't be fooled. It's important that you contact us immediately so we can safeguard your interests and protect your position. 

Being properly advised from the outset of a criminal investigation can make a crucial difference. Early intervention may help prevent the police from charging you. There may also be time-critical evidence that needs to be obtained/requested before it's destroyed. 

If you have been suspected of raping another it is vital that you contact us immediately. Please do not underestimate the importance of 'pre-charge' preparation. We may even be able to prevent the police charging you. Please see our page 'Before Court' for more information.



Preparing a defence

Preparation is the key to our success as sexual offence solicitors. If our team approves your case, we will take detailed instructions during a personal conference (or over the phone if you prefer). It is important that we fully understand your circumstances, including the reasons why and how the allegation arose. We will identify all potential defences and outline your next steps. All our advice is confirmed in writing. 

We will then conduct an in-depth analysis of the complainant's account. This may involve reviewing police disclosure, witness statement, social media accounts or witness testimonies. Any inconsistencies can help to establish doubt. 



Will you be granted bail?  

If you have a previous conviction of rape, bail will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

If the prosecution can persuade the magistrates that you pose a risk of reoffending, or absconding, bail will not be granted. The more serious the offence the less likely you are to be granted bail. 

It is critical that you be granted bail. Being the subject of a criminal prosecution is a worry time. It's important to be surrounded by the people you love. A criminal case may take months to reach a final court hearing. If your bail is refused, you'll spend this time behind bars. Prison company is far less pleasant. 

PCD Solicitors began challenging the police before I was charged. The investigation was dropped 8 weeks later.

CH Accused