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Definition of Marital Rape

Spousal Rape – California Penal Code § 262

Just as rape can occur between two strangers or two acquaintances, rape can also occur between a husband and wife. Marital rape, which is also known as "spousal rape," is treated as a serious felony offense in the state of California. If a defendant is convicted of marital rape under Penal Code § 262, they would face the same penalties as those imposed for the rape of a stranger. According to the letter of the law, a person would be guilty of rape (whether the victim is their spouse or not) if:

  • The sexual act was committed through force, violence or threats
  • The victim was prevented from resisting due to intoxicating substances
  • The victim was unable to consent because they were unconscious
  • The perpetrator threatened to retaliate if the victim did not consent
  • The victim consented under the threat of arrest or deportation

What are the penalties for marital rape?

If a defendant is found guilty of raping their husband or wife, they could be sentenced to three, six or eight years in state prison—depending on the specific elements of the crime. In some cases, the convicted individual will also be required to register as a sex offender in California. If you have been accused of marital rape, it is recommended that you retain the help of a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our firm immediately. A sex crime conviction could have lasting consequences on your future.

Apart from time spent behind bars, the consequences of a rape conviction could also include a permanent mark on criminal record, lost employment opportunities, a tarnished reputation and strained personal relationships. For this reason, it would be in your best interest to discuss your case with the team at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners as soon as you have been arrested. We have been representing criminally accused clients throughout Los Angeles County for more than 70 years combined.

Charged with spousal rape? Set up a free consultation with our firm today.