Rape Kit Laws
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Rape Kit Laws
Rape is a crime involving non-consensual sexual intercourse between two or more people. It is considered non-consensual because one of the parties did not legally consent to the sexual intercourse.
What Is a Rape Kit?
A rape kit is physical and biological evidence collected from an individual who was rape. The biological evidence taken include swabs of the genital and oral areas, blood, bodily fluids, and hair samples. Photographs are taken of the individual’s clothing and body. A rape kit is typically taken at the hospital.
The kit is taken to the crime lab for testing. It, along with other evidence, is preserved and closely guarded to reduce the risk of contamination or evidence tampering.
Why Are Rape Kits Used?
Rape kits are used to help identify a rapist via DNA found during the examination. The DNA is then compared to the DNA logged into a criminal database.
What Are Rape Kit Laws?
Rape kit laws vary depending on state law. Some states require the mandatory submission of sexual assault kits, which include ones that are current and ones that are old.
For example, Texas law requires a rape kit be submitted to the lab for testing within 30 days of receipt. The state also allows the victim of a rape to receive updates of any evidence collected in his or her rape investigation including:
- When evidence was submitted to the crime lab
- When the evidence in the rape kit is compared to DNA in the database
Utah has expanded the right-to-know laws of rape victims. They can be informed when:
- The evidence is entered into the Utah Combined DNA Index System
- The DNA profile is obtained
- There is a match found in the system
Are There States with Strict Rape Kit Laws?
Yes. Some states like Illinois require kit testing within 10 days of receipt. The police must also provide an inventory of rape kits in its possession.
Should I Contact an Attorney about Rape Kit Laws?
Contact a criminal attorney to learn more about rape kit laws in your state or help with getting it tested.
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Last Modified: 06-01-2015 07:14 PM PDT
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