Rape

Rape accusations are serious. Being charged with rape can have life-changing consequences imprisonment, lifelong registration as a sex offender, loss of employment, loss relationship with loved ones, and damaged reputation. If you’ve been accused of rape in Los Angeles, it’s paramount to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately without wasting time. Cases involving rape crimes are too complex to rely on a lawyer without extensive experience in these types of case. At Pasadena Criminal Attorney, we know that most false rape charges are common and yet, the society believes that every rape allegation is outrightly true even without conclusive evidence.  Our attorneys are highly experienced in this specific practice area, with a track record of successfully defending clients against rape charges in Los Angeles. We can also help you. Contact us 24/7 by calling 626-689-2277 for a free, confidential legal consultation.

Definition of Rape Under California Law

California’s rape decree largely outlines the crime of rape as sexual intercourse that is nonconsensual, because it’s achieved by means of threat, force, or fraud under California Penal Code Section 261 PC.  If you have sex with a victim who is unconscious or unable to consent, you’re deemed to have committed a sex crime under the California law and can be charged for the offense.  Most people associate rape as a crime committed using physical force. However, there are numerous less apparent situations that could lead you to be charged in California. They comprise:

  • If a man has sexual intercourse with a drunk woman who has passed out.
  • A police officer who promises to let go a woman under arrest for an offense if they can have sex together
  • A physician who lie to his female patient that they will get cured of their illness if they had sex with him and actually manages to have sexual intercourse with the woman.

Elements of Rape under California Penal Code 261 PC

The prosecution must prove that you raped another person in violation of Penal Code 261 PC and this involves establishing four elements of the crime. These are:

Sexual intercourse

Sexual intercourse for purposed of rape is any penetration regardless of how slight it’s. Also, there is no requirement for ejaculation to have occurred. Intercourse in the case of rape is defined very broadly. Even if you initiate sexual intercourse with someone against their will, and then you regret and terminate the act, that will still count as rape since you’ll have engaged in sexual intercourse under section 261 PC.

The issue of consent

To determine whether the sexual intercourse that took place was rape or not, the concept of consent comes up. Simply put, when sexual intercourse occurs without the person’s consent, that is considered as rape. Consent is a positive cooperation in an act meaning that one acts on free will. Consenting to sexual intercourse means doing so voluntarily and freely while the understanding the nature of the sexual act. In some cases, however, the consent of the victim is ineffective. This implies that the victim consented but is incapable of understanding the conduct, and that is considered as rape. Inability to consent may be caused by the effect of drugs, unconsciousness, or the mental condition of the victim (insane or cognitively impaired).

It’s important to know that just because you used to be married or used to date someone does not satisfy by itself consent. Similarly, it does not mean that you have consent just because you have a relationship with another person. In other cases, the victim may ask the defendant to use a condom or any type of contraceptive. Under California rape laws, this does not show by itself consent of the victim. However, that can be used as a strong evidence to show that the defendant believed that the victim gave free and voluntary consent.

Defendant must have known he did not have the victim’s consent

The prosecution must prove that the defendant had no reasonable belief that he had the consent of the victim to the sexual intercourse. The defendant cannot be convicted of rape if the prosecution cannot prove this fact beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rape Laws Apply to Both and Women in California

In other states, the crime of rape is only considered if the alleged victim is a woman. However, things are different in California since rape crime could be applied for both men and women. Therefore, if for example a woman can be convicted of rape under Penal Code 261 if she forced a man to have sexual intercourse. Also, a woman could be guilty of rape if she helped a man to rape another woman. This is regardless of the fact that she did not have sexual intercourse with the victim. In California rape cases, an individual who helps another to commit rape could be considered a principal in the crime and is punishable.

Penalties and Punishments for Rape

PC 261 rape is always a felony with severe punishments. Possible penalties include:

However, the defendants will face an additional three (3) to (5) years in state prison if the victim suffered great bodily injury. Additionally, the punishments become more severe if the victim is a minor. For those under 18 years of age, the penalties increase from 7 to 11 years in state prison. On the other hand, depending on the case, the imprisonment could increase from 9 to 13 years if the rape victim is a minor under the age of 14. Also, the fine can be up to $25,000. The defendant will also be required to register as a sex offender for a lifetime pursuant to PC 290. However, there are exceptions to this punishment. Sex offender registration will not be required if the crime of rape was by means of fraud or threat of arrest. A rape conviction is a stigma that will remain with you and will affect your ability to live a normal life and obtain employment. Therefore, fighting a rape charge in every possible legal way is critical and will highly depend on the proficiency of a skilled and experienced rape crimes defense attorney.

Legal Defenses

Some of the defenses that are commonly used by rape crimes defense attorneys to successfully defend individuals against these charges include:

  • You reasonably and honestly hold that your accuser was a consensual and willing participant.  In the event that you sincerely believe that your accuser gave you permission to do the sexual intercourse, you might have a binding defense to the charges. But, you ought to remember that if the victim was unconscious, asleep, mentally disabled or intoxicated, at the time of the occurrence, consent cannot be used as a defense.
  • The complainant has other motives for making the false allegations. Very often, people are incorrectly accused of sex crimes.  Occasionally, an individual may accuse another of rape to exert revenge or purely out of jealousy. An individual can also falsely accuse their spouse in order to get a divorce or child custody. Your attorney might be able to demonstrate that your complainant has a motive to falsify information and make up the allegation.
  • If touching took place but there was no intercourse or oral copulation, the crime will not be considered as rape but it will be sexual assault. Therefore, your defense attorney can argue that nonconsensual touching took place but there was no actual penetration. 
  • Rape committed by a stranger with a mask or at night creates a basis for mistaken identity. It could be that the alleged victim did not see the face of her attacker, a scenario that could lead to erroneous eyewitness identification. However, your attorney can argue that you’re a victim of mistaken identity even if the identification was done by a witness. In another instance, you cannot be proven guilty of rape just because you have a past criminal record and you’ve been pointed out as the culprit.

Since all these defenses cannot be available to you for every case, your sex crimes attorney will work with you to make a defense approach that is custom-made to your particular case. Your attorney will develop the best legal defense once you have deliberated on the particulars of your case.

Other Types of Rape-Related Crimes Under the California Rape Law

Spouse rape

Under California law, Penal Code 262 PC, spousal rape is a severe felony. Actions that might contribute to spouse rape charges being preferred against you include some obvious and complicated circumstances. For instance, if a spouse employs physical force to coax their partner into having sexual intercourse with them, that is rape.

Penalties

Although the circumstances that surround this crime are usually very diverse, the California rape law metes the same punishment just like they would do it if it was a stranger. Probable consequences include three, six, eight years in California state prison. Apart from the jail term, spousal rape conviction could force you to be cataloged as a California sex offender.

Statutory rape

Statutory rape under California Penal Code 261.5 PC happens when an individual participates in a sexual contact with an underage person. Statutory rape is a crime irrespective of the victim having consented or was the one who initiated the act.

Penalties

The statutory rape offense is case specific. It can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The way the crime is tried largely depends on the age difference between the minor and the defendant. In the event that the defendant is over 21 years old and the victim is under the age of sixteen, the consequences might comprise up to four years in California state prison.

Oral Copulation by Force

Penal Code 266c of the California rape law addresses the crime of oral copulation by force. This occurs if a person persuades another to take part in sexual intercourse, oral copulation, sexual penetration, or sodomy and gets the consent by fraudulent, false representation or deception. This could either be done with the intention of creating fear which then causes a rational individual to do contrary to the individual’s free will and forces the victim to act.

Forcible penetration with a foreign object

Under Penal Code Section 289, forcible penetration with a foreign object is a very grave crime in California.  It’s described as a deed of sexual penetration when it happens in contradiction to the will of the victim by means of duress, force, violence, fear or menace of unlawful and immediate physical harm on another person or the accuser. The intent to do these acts is usually harder to prove by the prosecution, particularly if the accused individual is represented by an experienced and skilled sex crime lawyer.

Penalties

Under the California law Penal Code Section 289, it is a felony to sexually penetrate somebody forcibly with a foreign object. The crime, therefore, carries severe consequences on conviction. The possible consequences to PC 289 violation include three, six, eight years in state prison. If the purported complainant of your violent sexual penetration with a foreign object is a minor, the probable prison punishment you face escalates radically. The likely consequences for forceful sexual penetration with a foreign object on a minor, hinge on the settings of your case. The penalties include:

  • For victims who are fourteen years or older, you could get six, eight or ten years in state prison
  • In the event that the victim is under fourteen years of age, you could get eight, ten, or twelve years in state prison. 
  • You’ll be needed to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life in accordance with California Penal Code Section 290.

Contact Us for Immediate Assistance

At Pasadena Criminal Attorney, we are dedicated to developing a strong defense strategy to fight for the rights and freedom of our clients. We will employ every possible legal defense. The reputation of an innocent person could be destroyed by a rape conviction and our team shows respect to all our clients including those accused of rape. Time is of the essence if you’ve been charged with the crime of rape. You should promptly look for an attorney. Our attorneys have a proven track record in defending clients accused of rape and we can help you by contesting these types of charges. Please contact our successful and friendly staff for more information. You can reach us directly at 626-689-2277 or through our online contact form. Give us a chance to show you how we fight for our own.

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