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Is Marital Rape a Crime in Utah?

 Posted on September 08, 2022 in Sex crimes

salt lake city sex crime defense lawyerThere is often a social presumption that sexual activity between spouses is always consensual. However, there is no such legal presumption. In Utah, even if you are married to the alleged victim, you could still be charged with rape if you use force or coercion to get your spouse to submit to sex. The only time that marriage provides any protection against a rape charge is if you are charged with statutory rape, but were married to the underage alleged victim. However, that exemption still only applies if your minor spouse actually consented. In all other cases, you could be convicted of rape in Utah for having nonconsensual sex with your spouse. If you are facing charges for the rape of your spouse, it is important to seek out high-quality legal representation at once.

The History of Marital Rape

Traditionally, marriage provided a complete defense to rape accusations. In the past, spouses could not be punished for having sex with each other, even if that sex was non-consensual. Many people believe that the marital exception to rape laws disproportionately affected women, who were the most common victims of spousal rape. These laws only began changing in the relatively recent past, and on a state-by-state basis. Today, marital rape laws can still vary between states, but in Utah, marital rape is rape.

Understanding Marital Rape 

Marital rape simply means having sex with your spouse without their consent. This may include having sex under circumstances like: 

  • Extreme intoxication - Just as you could not engage in sex with a stranger who has passed out drunk at a party, you cannot have sex with your spouse if they are too intoxicated to provide meaningful consent. Your spouse does not need to be intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness to be deemed too drunk to consent.

  • Coercion - Defining what constituted coercion in cases of marital rape can be tricky. It is not unusual for loving spouses to “bargain” with sex. However, if you seek to overcome your spouse’s refusal to have sex through emotional manipulation, threats, or other coercive tactics, you could find yourself facing rape charges.

  • Force - Forcible rape could include actions like holding your spouse down against their will to have sex with them, carrying your spouse into the bedroom over their protests, and any other forcible action designed to force your spouse into sexual submission may count.

Rape is a very serious sex crime, whether it involved a stranger or your own spouse.

Call a Davis County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing rape charges, Collins Rupp, P.C. can offer you a high-quality legal defense. Our skilled Salt Lake City sex crime defense attorneys believe that everyone deserves the best possible criminal defense. Contact us at 385-777-2753 for a free consultation.


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