Second-Degree Rape: Definition and Punishment

Originally Published July 16, 2020

Rape is an absolutely heinous crime. It is the act of engaging in non-consensual or forced sexual intercourse with another person (victim). This can happen to victims who are intoxicated or have been drugged.

Second-degree rape is a grave crime punishable by mandatory jail time. However, the definition and punishment of which varies across states. I’ve gone through different state laws and gathered some common definitions of it.

Rape is considered to be in the second degree when:

  1. The act does not meet the definition of first-degree rape. 
  2. The act occurred without consent or with the offender’s use or threat of force.
  3. The offender is at least 18 years old, and his or her victim is younger than 14 years old.
  4. The victim is either physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or mentally disabled, making them incapable of giving consent.

In a similar fashion to the definition, the punishments vary across states as well. Second-degree rape is considered a felony act in most, if not all, states. The felony class it falls under differs as well.

The actual punishments for a class B felony depend on the jurisdiction where the crime happened.

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These are some examples of punishments under different jurisdictions:

  • Federal: No less than 25 years with a maximum fine of $250,000
  • Alabama: No less than two and no more than 20 years
  • Iowa: No more than 25 years
  • Ohio: No less than two and no more than 12 years

The following are examples of punishments of class A felonies under different jurisdictions:

  • Federal: Life imprisonment (or death) with a maximum fine of $250,000
  • Alabama: No less than ten and no more than 99 years
  • Iowa: Life imprisonment without the possibility for parole
  • Ohio: No less than three and no more than 16 years

These are just some examples of definitions and punishments for second-degree rape. To be sure, you might want to check your local state laws. Rape is an unforgivable crime that the entire world condemns.


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Author Terrence Tan Ting


Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.