Los Angeles Rape Defense Attorney
Don't Fight Your Sex Crime Charges Alone
Rape allegations are a serious matter. A sex crime conviction can come
with life-altering consequences—including a lengthy prison sentence,
the loss of your job, damage to your reputation, and lifelong sex offender
registration. If you have been accused of rape, a Los Angeles criminal
defense lawyer from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners can help you fight
the charges and work hard to keep you of prison.
How Rape is Defined Under California Law
Sex crimes include all types of sexual activities, ranging from the serious
crime of rape, usually defined as sexual penetration without consent,
to the less serious crime of prostitution. Every two minutes, someone
in this country is sexually assaulted. 70% of rapes involve alcohol or
drugs. More than 66% of sexual assault victims know their attacker; among
college students, this number is much higher. Rape in California is defined
in Penal Code section 261 and can be classified into four categories:
Forcible Rape — Penal Code § 261
Forcible rape is defined as an act of sexual intercourse with another person
other than the spouse of the perpetrator and done against a person's will.
This can include any of the following circumstances:
- The victim was incapable of giving consent because of a disability;
- The act was accomplished against the victim's will by means of force;
- The victim was incapable of giving consent because of intoxication, anesthetization
or being drugged, and the perpetrator knew or reasonably should have known
about the incapacitation;
- The victim was unconscious of the nature of the act (e.g., asleep, unconscious
or tricked into believing that the act was not intercourse);
- The victim was tricked into believing the perpetrator was their spouse;
- The perpetrator threatened to retaliate against the victim or another person
unless the victim consented to intercourse; or
- The defendant threatened to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or
another person if the victim did not consent to intercourse, and the victim
had a reasonable belief that the defendant was a public official.
Forcible rape is prosecuted as a felony in California, which is punishable
by three to eight years in state prison and
sex offender registration for life. There is an additional three years if the victim sustained great
Spousal Rape — Penal Code § 262
Spousal rape, commonly referred to as marital rape, is a husband's
sexual intercourse with his wife by force or without her consent. Spousal
rape in California is prosecuted as a felony under Penal Code 262.
Spousal rape can occur under any of the following circumstances:
- A rape occurs when it is completed against the spouse by using force, violence,
or threats, or fear of immediate unlawful bodily injury;
- A rape occurs when there is no consent given by the spouse due to an intoxicating
or drug substance administered to the victim;
- A rape occurs if the victim is unconscious at the time of intercourse;
- A rape occurs when a spouse consents to intercourse due to threats; or
- A rape occurs when the sexual intercourse is accomplished against the victim's
will by threatening to arrest or deport the spouse.
The punishment for felony spousal rape is three to eight years in state
prison and lifetime sex registration. You could face an additional three
to five years in prison if there is great bodily injury or harm to the spouse.
Statutory Rape — Penal Code § 261.5
Statutory rape, commonly referred to as unlawful sexual intercourse or
sex with a minor, is defined as sexual intercourse with a person who is
under the age of 18. Statutory rape is prosecuted in California under
Penal Code section 261.5. Sexual intercourse is defined as any penetration,
no matter how slight, of the vagina or genitalia by the penis. Ejaculation
is not required. Consent by the victim is not relevant and therefore is
not a defense in statutory rape cases.
statutory rape is prosecuted as a misdemeanor if the age difference between the perpetrator
and the victim is three years or less. If the perpetrator is more than
three years older than the victim, he or she can be found guilty of a
misdemeanor or felony, and can punished in county jail for up to one year
or in state prison for up to three years. A statutory rape conviction
does not require sex offender registration in California.
Rape in Concert — Penal Code § 261
Rape in concert occurs when someone voluntarily aids and assists another
person in committing rape. The person who aids and assists another does
not have to personally participate in the rape, nor do they have to be
present at the exact scene during the rape in order to be convicted of
rape in concert.
Most sexual assault crimes are charged as felonies although lesser offenses
are charged as
misdemeanors. Punishment for sexual assault crimes includes jail or prison, fines,
community service, counseling, probation/parole and lifetime sex registration.
Multiple convictions of sexual assault can lead to increasingly severe
punishments. The decision to charge a person with a felony or misdemeanor
rests with the prosecutor; however, a criminal defense attorney may be
able to minimize the charges that you face.
How Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners Can Help
Many sexual assault acts have no witnesses; therefore, sexual assaults
are regularly prosecuted, even if the evidence appears weak or the accuser
lacks credibility. Possible defenses to sexual assault cases include consent,
insufficient evidence and mistaken identity arguments. If you are accused
of being involved in a sexual assault offense, including rape, you should
speak with an attorney at our firm immediately to learn more about your
rights, defenses that may be used in your case and the legal system itself.
Ways that Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners can help you include:
- Arranging for bail or being released on your "own recognizance"
- Understanding the possible penalties and likely outcome of your case
- Hiring an investigator to interview witnesses and gather evidence
- Negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduction of your charges
- Presenting the best defense and challenging the prosecution
- Seeking alternative sentencing programs such as counseling
The criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners have
successfully defended many individuals charged with rape and
sex-related crimes. Our lawyers bring over 70 years of combined legal experience to fight
your rape charges, prepare a strong defense, and find the weakness in
the prosecution's case.
Rape charges are very serious and require aggressive and experienced representation.
If you are being investigated or charged with rape in Los Angeles, do
not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Stephen
G. Rodriguez & Partners to schedule a no-cost confidential consultation
to discuss your legal options.