The allegation of rape is a serious charge that can be devastating for you, your family, your reputation and your future. If you or a loved one have been charged with rape in California, you need to retain a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. While you are innocent until proven guilty, even the simple allegation of a sex crime has the potential for long-term damaging consequences. The sooner you retain an aggressive rape defense attorney, the better your chances will be to defeat any rape allegations.
A conviction for rape is extremely serious in California. The penalties for sex crimes are severe. No one understands this more than a former district attorney. The criminal defense lawyers of Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC have over 50 years of combined criminal law experience. They use their knowledge and skill as former district attorneys to fight for your freedom, your reputation, and the well-being of you and your family. If you are facing rape allegations in southern California, call Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC immediately to discuss your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
California Rape Laws
The most common charge for rape is forcible rape; however, there are several variations of this charge depending on the status of the victim and the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape. Rape is usually defined as sexual penetration without the consent of the other party. California statutes classify rape into four categories: forcible rape, spousal rape, statutory rape, and rape in concert.
California Penal Code 261 – Forcible Rape
Forcible rape is defined as having sexual intercourse with another person, other than your spouse, against the will of that person. Forcible rape is a felony charge that carries a three to eight year prison sentence if convicted, with an additional three years, if the victim suffered great bodily injury. The conviction also requires sex offender registration for life.
The charge of forcible rape is used when:
- The perpetrator used force to commit the rape;
- The victim was unable to give consent because of a disability;
- The victim was drugged, intoxicated, or anesthetized thereby preventing the victim from giving consent and the perpetrator knew or should have reasonably known the victim’s condition;
- The victim was not conscious of the act (i.e. the victim was asleep, tricking into believing the act was not intercourse, or was unconscious)
- The victim believed the perpetrator was the victim’s spouse because he or she was tricked;
- The victim was threatened with retaliation against the victim or another person if the victim did not consent to intercourse; or,
- The victim had a reasonable belief that the perpetrator was a public official who threatened to arrest, incarcerate, or deport the victim or another person if the victim did not consent to intercourse.
California Penal Code 262 – Spousal Rape
Spousal rape, also known as marital rape, is also prosecuted as a felony with a three to eight year prison sentence and lifetime sex offender registration. An additional five years is added to the prison sentence if the spouse suffers great bodily injury.
Spousal rape is defined as a husband having sexual intercourse with his wife without her consent or by force under the following circumstances:
- The spouse uses force, violence, threats or fear of bodily injury to commit the rape;
- The victim is unable to give consent because the spouse administered a substance to intoxicate or drug the victim;
- The victim is unconscious at the time of intercourse;
- The victim consents to the intercourse because of threats made by the spouse; or,
- Sexual intercourse occurred because the victim was threatened by his or her spouse with arrest or deportation.
California Penal Code 261.5 – Statutory Rape
California defines statutory rape as sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. Any penetration of the vagina or genitalia by the penis, regardless of how slight or regardless if the perpetrator ejaculated, is considered statutory rape. Consent is not an issue with statutory rape because a minor under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse even with a partner that is under the age of 18 at the time of the act.
Whether the crime is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the ages of the parties, and is in the discretion of the district attorney. The sentence for a conviction of statutory rape is one year in county jail or up to three years in a state prison. The conviction does not require the perpetrator to register as a sex offender.
Penal Code 261 – Rape In Concert
Rape in concert is a charge used to prosecute a person who assists the perpetrator in committing the act of rape. The person assisting or aiding in the rape does not need to participate in the act of rape nor does that person need to be present at the actual time of the rape to be convicted under this code section.
Have You Been Charged with Rape?
If you are being investigated or if you are charged with rape, you need an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. A rape conviction will result in a criminal record that will follow you the rest of your life affecting where you can live, your right to own and possess a firearm, and your potential job opportunities.
If you are arrested for rape, exercise your right to remain silent, and immediately request an attorney. Do not talk to the police. Any information you give the police to try to “clear up” the matter will be used against you.
Do not risk your freedom and your future. Rape is a very serious charge. Contact an attorney at Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC today to schedule a free confidential consultation.