Legal Dictionary

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Date Rape

Date Rape, also referred to as Acquaintance Rape, is forcible or nonconsensual sexual intercourse between persons who know each other and who have been in a dating relationship, ranging from a first date to a stable relationship. While the term Date Rape sounds informal it is no different than rape and is prosecuted and punished under California's Rape Law – Penal Code section 261. The term "Date Rape" is not a legal term, and such a crime must be proved like any other rape.

In order to obtain a rape conviction in California, pursuant to Penal Code section 261 the prosecutor must prove the defendant had sexual intercourse with a woman other than the spouse of the defendant under any of the following circumstances:

  • The victim is mentally or physically disabled and incapable of giving legal consent - Penal Code 261(a) (1).
  • Force, violence, or fear of bodily injury is used against the victim –Penal Code 261(a)(1).
  • The rape is accomplished by administering the victim an intoxicant, anesthetic, or other drug, and therefore the victim is prevented from resisting – Penal Code 261 (a) (3).
  • The victim is unconscious and unable to legally consent – Penal Code 261(a) (4).
  • The victim is induced to believe that the defendant (with whom she has sex) is her husband - Penal Code 261(a) (5).
  • The defendant threatens to retaliate in the future against the victim – Penal Code 261(a) (6).
  • The defendant threatens to deport or arrest the victim – Penal Code 261(a) (7).

Rape or Date Rape is a felony and a "Strike" in California. A rape conviction carries a lengthy state prison sentence ( up to 8 years ) with additional state prison time if the victim sustained major physical injury or is under 18 years old. A Date Rape conviction comes with lifetime sex registration under California's Penal Code section 290.

If you suspect that someone is accusing you of Date Rape, contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney immediately! Do not try to contact the accuser to fix the situation. It will likely get worse. By contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney early, you can minimize the possibility of making incriminating statements to anyone, specifically law enforcement and maximizing your potential for a successful defense and avoiding the life-changing consequences of a date rape conviction.