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Rape by Intoxication – California Penal Code Section 261(a)(3)

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Feb 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

When it comes to the crime of rape, the legislature, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges in Los Angeles County and across California, obviously take these types of offenses very seriously and dole out harsh punishments on those individuals convicted of these types of crimes.

Rape by intoxication, which is defined by Penal Code Section 261(a)(3), is a crime wherein the victim is made incapacitated in some way – whether it be by alcohol, drugs or some other substance that affects their ability to defend themselves and to be coherent when it comes to being able to consent to any type of sexual activity.

Basically, what this crime is protecting against is those individuals that prey on people who are in such a state that they are unable to protect themselves and make conscious decisions about whether or not they want to be involved in some sort of a sexual way with another person.

Rape by intoxication usually seems to manifest itself when someone has had way too much to drink and is with another person and then that person takes advantage of the situation and has some sort of a sexual interaction with them.

Basically against their consent – but the person was so intoxicated that they were unable to defend themselves or say no or stop the other person.  Of course, I've seen a number of these cases over the course of the last twenty-five years, and a lot of times the victim was so out of it that they don't even remember exactly what happened and they don't realize the circumstances that led up to them engaging in some sort of sexual activity with the other party.

And because they can't remember anything, a lot of times they assume the worst, when in fact, they were in a position where they were with the other person and the other person reasonably believed that they were consenting to have some sort of sexual relation with them.

When it comes to these rape by intoxication cases, obviously you want to get an attorney who has some experience dealing with these cases and you want to get an attorney who is able to take your version of events and get that across to the other side – to the police, to the prosecutor and to the judge – and even to a jury if that's necessary – if the other side is not being reasonable when it comes to dealing with a rape by intoxication case.

Legal Defenses to Rape by Intoxication

The prosecutors in Los Angeles County have special units that prosecute those individuals charged with rape by intoxication.  There are a number of defenses that can be utilized when it comes to this crime, obviously depending on the circumstances surrounding the contact with the alleged victim.

What I like to have you do is come in the office.  We go over everything step by step under the cloak of the attorney-client privilege where obviously, nobody is there to listen to it.

And obviously I keep everything confidential regardless of whether you hire me or not, and it's helpful to me and I think you ultimately, if you give me an honest account of what happened with no spin on it, even from a law enforcement standpoint so we an really see and ferret out what they're claiming that you did wrong.

Once we have that all laid out, then we can start talking about some potential defenses to this crime and/or some mitigating circumstances.

A lot of times I get these cases, I review the police report, I see the police have just given a one-sided slanted version of what happened without any regard to what my client had to say about it and have really just pretty much pointed the finger at the defendant and not taken into account the other side.

This is where a good seasoned criminal defense attorney comes in and gets your side of what happened across, so that the prosecutors and judge see that there's more than meets the eye here and they have something to consider when it comes to resolving the case – whether it be by way of a dismissal, a lesser charge or even a jury trial if that's necessary.

So, the types of defenses that are available in rape by intoxication center around consent, and a lot of times my clients tell me that the other party consented to it.  Not only did they consent to it, but the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape by intoxication, lent them self to that other person reasonably believing that the other party wanted to engage in sexual relations with them.

They had done everything that would make them think so, didn't say no, didn't stop them, and a lot of times my clients are just as intoxicated as the other party, so they don't really know that there's any issues there.

You know, really where the problems come in I think, is that sometimes these people that are alleging rape by intoxication get themselves into a black-out state by whatever drugs or alcohol or mixture that they're taking, and then when they wake up in the morning, they literally cannot remember what happened the night before.

Well, obviously that doesn't necessarily mean that they were raped by the person they were with and a lot of times when they're trying to piece things together, they assume the worst and they feel as though they were taken advantage of, but this is not necessarily always the case and there are defenses to these crimes, again, depending on the circumstances.

These cases are fact-driven, and we have to go through all of the facts and we really have to look at what happened here why did it happen, and did you reasonably believe that the other party wanted to engage in some sort of sexual activity with you.

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Another defense that is available is sometimes there's really no proof that there was any sexual activity.  The other party just simply thinks there was sexual activity, but there's no DNA, there's no injuries and they really cannot prove that any sexual relations happened.

That's why it's so important when you think that you're the target of an investigation related to rape by intoxication or some date-rape related charge, it's key that you get to a criminal defense attorney and let them guide you through the process.

The police are not your friends in this process and they will do everything that they can to convict you of this crime, get some sort of incriminating evidence against you and put you behind bars.

Hence, you've got to get in front of a criminal defense attorney.  Let them advise you.  Let them act as a buffer between you and the police and let them help you make the right decisions that can protect your rights, your freedom, your reputation and your future.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.


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