What is Rape Shield Law and What are its Punishments in Nevada?
Before we try to know more about rape shield law, we should see why this law has become necessary. The problem with the crime of rape is that chances of the rape victims being excessively cross-examined or the victims being publicly identified are quite high. That is the reason this law has been legislated in a number of countries including the United States of America.
How does this law protect rape victims?
Legal luminaries have applied their minds and designed this law in such a manner that the rape victims are protected from facing embarrassing situations. One of the provisions of the law limits the demonstration of evidence about past sexual behaviors and patterns of the victims. Further, the identity of the victims is not revealed. The victims cannot be cross-examined as well.
Nevada Rape Shield Law
It was during 1974 this law was passed for the first time in the USA in the Michigan state. Other states followed suit and Nevada did not lag behind. According to this law, the crime of rape or sexual assault comes under NRS 200.366 and this crime is said to occur if a person forcibly attempts sexual penetration of any type on another. This means that this crime is said to occur if this attempt is carried out without the consent of the person.
At present, more and more people are inclined to know fully about this law because of the popularity of Times Up and #MeToo movements. Especially, people want to clearly know about the aspect of "consent" as described in the law. Under the Nevada Rape Shield Law, sex is considered non-consensual if the victim indicates or says "no" or if the victim is an inebriated condition or is so much incapacitated that she or he is not able to give or indicate valid consent.
Punishments meted out to the person who commits the crime.
According to the state's law, the person who is said to have committed this crime of sexual assault or rape is apprehended under category A felony. If the accused is convicted, she or he will face life imprisonment in the prison of the state. She or he will be registered as a lifetime offender as well.
Safeguards available to victims according to Nevada Rape Shield Law
Lawmakers of the state who conceived this law and made sure that it was enacted did so because they knew that victims would undergo an inexplicable and traumatic phase after they were subjected to this heinous crime. But a number of these victims do not come out openly nor do they report about the crime. The lawmakers aim to encourage these victims to report the incidents and hence, they have come out with the following few safeguards for protecting the interests of such victims.
- As far as criminal cases pertaining to these incidents are concerned, these victims will be able to keep the confidentiality of their identities.
- They can request the police for rape kits or SAFE kits. SAFE is the acronym for "sexual assault forensic evidence." Police have to submit these SAFE kits to the forensic laboratory that has been entrusted with the task of conducting the genetic-marker analysis. Police have to submit the kits within 30 days after they receive them as well. The lab has to test the kits before the expiry of 120 days.
- Information in the court filings, if any, that may identify the rape victims shall remain confidential unless the judge rules otherwise. This is a very important safeguard for the victims because it protects their privacy. Not only that, the victims are protected from harassers as well.
- Even during the trial, the evidence pertaining to past sexual conduct or behavior of the victims is not admissible. But this provision comes with a few exceptions.