Date Rape


ARE THERE DEFENSES TO THE CRIME OF “DATE RAPE”?

The short answer to this question is, “absolutely yes, there are many defenses if a person is charged with the crime of date rape in one of the Los Angeles County Courthouses.” The starting point to figuring out if there is a defense applicable to your case, is to sit down with a criminal defense attorney that handles sex crime cases on a regular basis in the courthouse where your case is pending. A seasoned attorney will be interested in the step by step facts leading up to the alleged crime. The specific facts and circumstances of a case will drive the defense. Meaning, the defense will hinge upon what happened during the time frame that the rape allegedly occurred. There may be witnesses to part of the evening that must be interviewed in order to contradict the woman’s story. There may be video footage in public places that can support a defense. There may have been prior contact between you and the person that is claiming you raped them that supports your version of events. Once a savvy attorney has all of the facts, then the strategy can be developed to defend you.

Many times, the person being accused of rape did not do anything illegal. However, the woman involved became angry at how she was treated (before, during and after the encounter) and then later decides that she was raped. The problem with this, is that she then alters the facts of what happened to support her story. This leaves a person that is arrested in a position of having to defend a case, knowing that the woman has lied, but trying to figure out how to prove it. This is where there is no substitute for an experienced attorney that knows how to handle a sex crime case. There are certain tell tail signs that the woman is not telling the truth. The key is to flush out the lies and be able to show the trier of fact (the judge or a jury) that the story does not make sense and the alleged victim’s version is not credible.

I have personally handled many cases involving sex crimes that would have never been filed by the police and prosecutors if they would have taken the time to properly investigate the case. I speak to the police everyday and point out to them that the alleged victim has a motive to lie and the inconsistencies with their story. Many times the police where never told certain crucial facts about the victim that would have caused them to doubt the story and find evidence to challenge the victim’s version of events. Once everything is on the table and it is clear that the police where lied to, they then will become angry and start to work towards clearing my client.

DOES THE FACT THAT DRUGS OR ALCOHOL WHERE CONSUMED BY EITHER PARTY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A RAPE CASE?

There is no question that people do things that they otherwise would not have done while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, it is not fair for a woman to use drugs or alcohol, engage in sexual relations with a man and then claim she was raped because she is sorry for what happened. This happens all the time and the police are becoming more and more aware of it. In the past 20 plus years since I have been defending men charged with rape, I have seen a shift in the law enforcement community. They will typically not arrest someone for the serious crime of rape unless there is more evidence than just the woman’s word.

On the other hand, if the man has had too much to drink and rapes a woman the police and prosecutors will not allow the man to get away with rape. They will prosecute them and try to prove that the man knew exactly what he was doing and must be held accountable for his actions, regardless of his level of intoxication. If both parties are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that makes it much tougher for the prosecutors to get a conviction on a rape case in Los Angeles. Juries do not feel comfortable convicting a person of rape if they are not convinced that the person acted against the will of the other party.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE METHODS THE POLICE USE TO PROVE A PERSON IS GUILTY OF RAPE IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY?

The first and most powerful tool that the police use in order to bolster a woman’s story in a rape case is what is called the “pretext phone call.” This is a phone call made by the woman to the man, that is recorded by the police. The woman will then confront the man with the allegations of rape and try and get him to acknowledge on tape that he is guilty. Depending on the man’s reaction to the allegations, this can possibly be a good way to prove that she is telling the truth. Sometimes the man says he’s sorry or makes some other incriminating statement, other times he denies the allegations and there are times when he remains silent. If there is a pretext call and it is not clear what is meant by the man’s response, then it is up to that person’s attorney to defend the case and explain his client’s actions.

Another tactic used by law enforcement to prove that a person is guilty of rape is to get them to admit it. They will confront them over the phone, at there home or at the police station with the allegations and put pressure on them to admit that they are guilty. Anytime a person is accused of such a serious crime, the first move they should make is to talk to an experienced sex crime attorney. I have seen the police lie to people about the evidence they have in order to convince them to confess. I have even seen the police make threats of prison or taking away children in order to coerce a confession. In over 20 years of practicing criminal defense, I have rarely seen a person making a statement to the police that helped them in any significant way. You have a right to remain silent and consult with an attorney…use it!

MORE INFORMATION AND LAW ON DATE RAPE IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY:

Date rape is becoming a more and more common accusation. Statistically, about 25% of sex crime victims believe that they were drugged by someone with the intent to commit a sex crime such as rape. As this becomes more and more prevalent in today’s society, legislators, police, prosecutors and judges see it as there job to take a stand against this type of serious behavior. They have enacted laws, prosecuted and doled out sentences that are particularly harsh and impact a person’s life forever. The best way to find out if you have a defense for this type of crime is to sit down face to face with an attorney that his defended these type of cases and understand what it takes to win.

As the name of the crime implies, date rape occurs during a date or in a bar/nightclub scenario. Generally, drugs or alcohol are used to impose a state of mind on the victim that makes it nearly impossible to consent to a sexual act. There are special allegations that prosecutors can file that add years in prison if a person renders another “unconscious” and then abuses them in a sexual manner.

Drugs Used For Date Rape

Date rape drugs are any types of drugs that would cause a person to be in a sedated state of mind. These drugs usually do not have taste or scent and are given to the victim without the victim’s knowledge, such as slipping it into food or drink. The most common date rape drug used is Rohypnol which was banned in 1996 by President Clinton due to the fact that it was being used for date rape.

WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE TO PROVE?

In order to convict a person of Date Rape, the government must prove that:
1. The person had sexual intercourse with a woman;
2. The person and the woman were not married;
3. An intoxicating, controlled or anesthetic substance prevented the woman from resisting AND
4. The person knew, or should have known that the effect of the substance prevented the woman from resisting.

The government defines intercourse as “any penetration”, no matter how short the duration. Additionally, the government holds that the woman must be unable to exercise reasonable judgment due to the substance that she is under the influence of. Also, If the woman states in advance that she consents, she can withdraw that consent at any time before or during the intercourse. If she does that, the person must cease the sexual activity immediately.

The danger of date rape allegations is that a victim may wake up and not remember how they got to where they woke up and not remember what occurred the night before and may automatically infer date rape or Drug Facilitated sexual assault, as it is sometimes referred to.

If there are indications that sexual activity has occurred such as missing clothes, soarness, bruises, bodily fluids, then the next step would be to determine whether the sexual acts were consensual; the victim may also be tested to see if there are drugs in her system.

Date Rape Defense in Los Angeles

If you or someone you know is facing allegations of date rape, it is imperative that you hire a defense attorney who has the necessary resources, skill, and knowledge to provide a strong and aggressive defense.

Contact the Hedding Law Firm for a free case evaluation.