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Rape Laws in California – Penal Code 261

Over the past 25 years, I have successfully defended and negotiated many rape-related offenses.  When you talk about the type of defenses to rape charges, the first place you should start is with the facts of the particular allegations themselves.

One of the ripe areas I typically see in rape cases is the alleged victim and whether they have an ax to grind against the defendant.  It could be that they are a jilted lover or did something consensual, but their boyfriend or husband later found out about it.

Now they have to cover their tracks by claiming rape, and I have also seen someone get very intoxicated, and when they wake up, they try and claim rape when they do not even remember all of the details of what happened.

I have learned that when it comes to rape charges in Los Angeles, everything is usually not what meets the eyes, and the truth can lie somewhere in the middle or even be manipulated by the alleged victim for their purposes.

For example, when there is a divorce case or a child custody issue, I see fake charges being trumped up to try and get the other party at a disadvantage and win what the person wants.

It is always amazing that people will make up such serious charges so they can win money or punish the other person for some perceived wrong.  This is where the best sex crime defense attorney must do everything to protect the innocent.

Fortunately, the police investigating sex crimes and rape charges, in particular, know that some alleged victims are evil and will make up charges to suit their purposes and take advantage of the other side.

You must have an attorney working on your rape case who has had success and knows how to deal with the authorities who investigate these cases and investigate these cases and also the alleged victims on cross-examination to make sure the truth comes out. You are vindicated if that is what should happen.

Rape or sexual assault is a grave crime to be charged with and has life-changing consequences such as lengthy prison sentences, lifetime sex offender registration as required by PC 290, loss of job, loss of relationships, and harm to your reputation.  With all of these stakes on the line, your attorney must be the best if you want to achieve the best results.

Intent to Commit a Sex Crime

This is a severe crime in California. Anytime someone goes into somebody's home and is going to commit a crime, the prosecutors have their ears perked up and are ready to do some damage. When that home invasion involves some sexual assault, those are some of the most seriously-prosecuted cases in Los Angeles County.

I've handled a lot of these cases in all of the courthouses – ranging from Downtown Los Angeles, the Westside into the Valley – and all the prosecutors, when it comes to burglary with intent to commit rape, are looking to hammer the defendant, put him in prison, make him register as a sex offender, and a lot of times – if they have the correct facts – they'll try to put the person away for fifteen to life.

First, the issue will be when the person entered the other person's home, did they intend to commit some sexual offense, like rape. Next is, does the person have a justifiable reason for being in the house, and finally, they're going to be looking at the jury, the prosecutor, and the judge – what evidence do the prosecutors have in this alleged sex crime case that the person intended to commit some rape.

Because if the person didn't intend to commit a rape, they're not going to get them for this grave crime of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a pretty broad term. So, if you're breaking in to commit some sexual assault, it doesn't necessarily have to be rape. So, they will look at how the person was dressed and what the person did when they got in.

Then, a lot of times, if the person gets away, there's going to be identification issues as to whether or not they have any DNA to put him back at the scene or the alleged victim can identify the person as the individual who committed the assault with intent to achieve some rape.

So, people don't realize that burglary is breaking into the dwelling house of another with the intent to commit a felony if that felony happens to be rape or some sexual assault, making it a worse burglary than, typically, people trying to break into stealing someone's property. Penal Code 220 PC defines the crime of assault with intent to commit a felony.

State Prison Time and Sex Offender Registration

You also have the issue of somebody being home. A person's home is their castle, and the prosecutors guard that. They don't want anybody breaking into their home either.

If they find out that somebody broke into a home and they were trying to commit some sex-related offense, they will be looking to put that person in prison.

They'll be looking to make them register as a sex offender, and sometimes, if the burglary is with intent to commit rape, they can get that conviction and put them away for fifteen to life – which gives them a big hammer.

It also gives them a lot of authority and power because when you have a situation where you can potentially put life on the back end of somebody's sentence, you can negotiate with that person and say, listen, if you don't cooperate or if you don't take this deal – and a lot of prosecutors do this – we're going to put you in prison for a long time. You're looking at fifteen to live. You may never get out again.

With someone staring that in their face in a Los Angeles sex-related offense, the bottom line is, they're going to be ultra-careful in deciding whether or not they go to a jury trial – whether or not they want to risk that fifteen to a life sentence.

How to Fight Rape or Sexual Assault Allegations

Sexual Assault is considered any unwanted sexual contact forced upon a victim. Sexual assault includes groping, molesting, touching, attempted rape, assault and battery, and rape.

Rape is defined by Penal Code 261 PC as sexual penetration without consent. Rape is classified into different categories.

Forced rape, a felony, is when the act of sexual intercourse is done against a person's will where the victim was unable to give legal consent due to a physical or mental impairment, intoxication, drug influence; force, threat, or fear of immediate bodily injury was used; the victim was unconscious of the act or tricked into the action; or the victim or another person was threatened to be deported, incarcerated, or arrested if the victim did not consent to the intercourse and the victim reasonably believed that the suspect was some public official.

One might think that you can not rape your spouse, but there is a crime referred to as spousal rape in California. Penal Code 262 PC defines marital rape as a felony wherein one spouse rapes the other spouse using force, violence, threats, or fear of immediate injury. Spousal rape also occurs when the other spouse gives no consent due to the influence of alcohol or drugs or the spouse is unconscious at the time.

Statutory rape is governed by California Penal code section 261.5 and is defined as having sexual intercourse with a person under 18 years of age, and in this case, consent is irrelevant. No ejaculation is necessary, just penetration, no matter how slight.

The crime of statutory rape is charged as a misdemeanor if the age difference is three years or less. If the age difference is more significant than three years, the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The difference between statutory rape and the other rape categories is that a conviction of statutory rape does not require lifetime sex offender registration but may result in jail time of up to 3 years.

The fourth rape category is rape in concert and is defined as the crime of voluntarily aiding and assisting another person to commit rape.

Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

The consequences of sexual assault crimes include penalties such as jail or prison, fines, lifetime sex offender registration required by California Penal code section 290, probation, community service, and counseling. Whether the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony is within the prosecutor's discretion. As Defense Attorneys, we will try to minimize the charges as much as possible.

Some of the defenses we may use on your behalf are consent, mistaken identity, and lack of credibility. As your advocate, we will thoroughly investigate your charges and build a solid and persuasive defense when you hire us. Call us, and we will discuss everything further in detail during your free face-to-face consultation.

August 2015 – Not Guilty Verdict in Attempted Rape Case

Los Angeles Downtown Criminal Courthouse – My client was charged with attempted rape and faced 20 years in prison. Following a two-week jury trial, he was found not guilty and released shortly after. He was alleged to have tried to rape his brother's girlfriend. However, once all the evidence was brought to light, it was clear that the alleged victim had stolen money from my client, and when he confronted her and threatened to call the police on her, she cried rape. Unfortunately, there is such a stigma associated with rape that even innocent people have to hire an attorney to defend themselves. Fortunately for my client, we convinced the jury of his innocence!

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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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