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

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Feb 20, 2018

When it comes to the crime of rape, the legislature, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges in Los Angeles County and across California 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 sexual activity.

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

Rape by intoxication usually seems to manifest when someone has had way too much to drink and is with another person. Then that person takes advantage of the situation and has some sort of 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 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. They don't realize the circumstances that led to them engaging in some sexual activity with the other party.

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

When it comes to these rape by intoxication cases, you want to get an attorney who has some experience dealing with these cases. You want to get an attorney who can take your version of events and get that across to the other side – to the police, to the prosecutor and 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 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.  Several defenses can be utilized for this crime, obviously depending on the circumstances surrounding the contact with the alleged victim.

What I like to have you do comes 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 I keep everything confidential regardless of whether you hire me or not, and it's helpful to me. 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 can see and ferret out what they're claiming that you did wrong.

Once we have that all laid out, we can start talking about potential defenses to this crime and 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 just pretty much pointed the finger at the defendant and not taken into account the other side.

This is where an excellent 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. 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 agree to it, but the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape by intoxication lent themself 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 often my clients are just as intoxicated as the other party, so they don't know any issues there.

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

That doesn't necessarily mean that they were raped by the person they were with. Often, when they're trying to piece things together, they assume the worst. They feel 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 have to look at what happened here, why it happened and did you reasonably believe that the other party wanted to engage in some sexual activity with you.

Learn How We Can Help You

Another available defense is sometimes there's no proof that there was any sexual activity.  The other party simply thinks there was sexual activity, but there's no DNA, there are 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 vital 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 they can to convict you of this crime, get some 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 help you make the right decisions that can protect your rights, freedom, reputation, and future.

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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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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

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