Rape

What is Rape?

Rape is broadly defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse by means of threat, force, or fraud, or with a victim who is unconscious and unable to consent. Less obvious examples of rape include:

  • A man having sexual intercourse with a woman who is passed out drunk.
  • A doctor tricking a female patient into having sex with him by telling her it’s the only way to cure her particular sickness.
  • A police officers pulling over a woman and telling her he will let her go if she has sex with him.

Penalties for Rape

Rape under California law is a felony. The punishment of this crime is three, six, or eight years in a California State Prison. In some cases, the judge may grant felony probation and up to one year in a county jail. This is only possible if:

  • You are guilty only because the victim was incapable of giving consent due to a disability,
  • You pretended to be someone else known to the victim, or
  • You threatened to use the authority of a public official against the victim and the case is unusual where the judge finds that granting probation will serve the interests of justice.

In all rape cases, including those where the victim was unconscious, asleep, or intoxicated, the state prison sentence in mandatory.

Additional penalties for rape include:

  • A possible additional three to five years in the state prison if the alleged victim sustains a great bodily injury,
  • A maximum fine of $10,000, and
  • A possible strike on your record under California’s three strikes law.

If the victim was a minor, under 18 years of age, the possible prison sentence goes up to seven, nine, or eleven years. If the victim was a minor, under 14 years of age, the possible prison sentence goes up to nine, eleven, or thirteen years.
Most people who are convicted of rape under California law have to register as a sex offender for life. Failure to register as a sex offender is a separate felony.

Legal Defenses For Rape

The accuser of rape needs little or even no evidence. Here are some of the most common legal defenses for this crime:

  • Falsely Accused – This is very common since it’s an easy way for the accuser to get revenge on the defendant. Some studies have supported that ten percent of rape allegations have no basis.
  • Consent – If the alleged victim gave consent to sexual intercourse, then no crime occurred. Even if the alleged victim consented and later changed his or her mind, but did not effectively communicate that, you can’t be convicted.
  • Insufficient Evidence – If the alleged victim does not get medical attention, there may be no physical evidence confirm the allegation. If there were no witnesses and the case may be based on “he said/she said” allegations. In this case, insufficient evidence may apply.
  • Mistaken Eyewitness Identification – This is the number one reason for wrongful convictions in the United States. Unless the victim knows who raped him or her, it’s possible to wrongly identify the assailant.

It’s very important to hire an experience criminal defense lawyer when accused of rape.

Any questions? Contact us.