Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Search for legal issues
For help near (city, ZIP code or county)
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location

Delaware Rape and Sexual Assault Laws

The precise definition of sexual assault varies from state to state, but generally refers to any unwanted and offensive sexual touching. The table below outlines Delaware's three degrees of sexual assault.

Code Section

Delaware Code sections 767 to 769: Unlawful Sexual Contact (Sexual Assault)

Unlawful Sexual Contact in the First degree

 

  • Physically injuring the victim, displaying what appears to be a deadly weapon to the victim, or representing to the victim that you possess a deadly weapon while committing unlawful second or third degree sexual contact, during the immediate flight from a crime, or during an attempt to prevent the reporting of a crime, or
  • Intentionally having sexual contact with someone who is less than 13 years or causing the victim to have sexual contact with a third person
Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Second degree

Intentionally having sexual contact with someone who is less than 18 years old, or causing the victim to have sexual contact with a third person.

Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Third degree Having sexual contact with a victim, or causing the victim to have sexual contact with a third person, while knowing that the contact is either offensive to the victim or occurs without the victim's consent.

Penalties

First-degree: Class D felony.

Second-degree: Class F felony.

Third-degree: Class A misdemeanor.

Rape

In Delaware, the crime of rape is broken down into four different degrees, depending on the circumstances surrounding the rape. First-degree rape is the most harshly punished offense and constitutes a class A felony while fourth-degree rape is the least of the rape offenses and is categorized as a class C felony. Delaware's first-degree rape law is outlined in the table below.

Code Section

Delaware Code section 773: Rape in the First Degree

What's Prohibited?

 

Intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse with another person under any of the following circumstances:
  • The act is done without the victim's consent and occurs during the commission of a crime, during the immediate flight from a crime, or during an attempt to prevent the reporting of a crime, and the offender causes physical injury or serious emotional injury to the victim
  • The act is done without the victim's consent and was facilitated by or occurred during the commission (or attempted commission) of any felony or one of the misdemeanors listed in section 773
  • In the course of commission of rape in the second, third, or fourth degree (or while in immediate flight therefrom) the offender displays what appeared to be a deadly weapon or represents that they are in possession of a deadly weapon
  • The sexual intercourse occurs without the victim's consent and a principle-accomplice relationship existed between the offender and another person with respect to the commission of the crime, or
  • The victim is less than 12 years old and the offender is at least 18 years old

Penalties

First-degree: Class A felony.

For more information about the different degrees of rape in Delaware, see the text of the state rape statutes:

Sexual Extortion

It is also a crime in Delaware to engage in sexual extortion. In other words, it is illegal to intentionally compel or induce another person to engage in a sexual act (involving contact, penetration, or intercourse) by instilling in the victim a fear that if the sexual act isn't performed the defendant will:

  • Physically harm someone
  • Cause property damage
  • Engage in other criminal conduct
  • Accuse someone of a crime
  • Expose a secret intending to subject someone to hatred, contempt, or ridicule
  • Falsely testify or withhold testimony, or
  • Perform any act intended to harm a person's health, safety, business, career, financial condition, reputation, or personal relationships

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Delaware's rape and sexual assault laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

If you are a rape or sexual assault survivor there is help available for you. During an emergency dial 911, and when you're safe call Contact Lifeline for sexual assault services.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Find a Lawyer

More Options