Los Angeles Rape Crimes Lawyer

Los Angeles Rape Crimes LawyerHave you been arrested for rape in Los Angeles, CA? Rape is a serious sex offense and a “Three Strikes” crime that’s punishable by up to eight years in prison. This sentence may even be enhanced in certain scenarios – meaning another five to eight years behind bars. With your freedom and reputation on the line, you deserve a sound legal defense against the charge you are facing.

For over 20 years, The Rodriguez Law Group has represented clients throughout Los Angeles facing serious violent crimes. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles rape crimes lawyer who will aggressively defend you and build your defense.

How The Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’re Arrested for Rape in Los Angeles, CA

When you are facing a rape charge, there is no time to waste in building your defense. The prosecution will be aggressive in seeking maximum penalties and unsympathetic to the circumstances in your case. You deserve a compassionate and aggressive legal advocate to fight for you.

The Rodriguez Law Group has represented clients in Los Angeles, California for more than 20 years. Prior to becoming a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, founding attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez gained 13 years of experience as a Senior Deputy District Attorney. Our firm uses this insight into the tactics the prosecution uses to give our clients the best possible legal defense.

Count on The Rodriguez Law Group to represent you and we will:

  • Protect your constitutional rights at every step
  • Explore all legal defenses available to you
  • Search for exculpatory evidence to raise reasonable doubt or prove innocence
  • Work with experts to discredit the prosecution’s case against you by disputing evidence and discrediting witnesses
  • Negotiate on your behalf to seek a satisfactory plea bargain or reduced charges when appropriate

Contact our law office today for a free consultation with a Los Angeles rape crime lawyer who will fight to give you the representation you deserve.

Overview of Rape Charges in California

Rape is one of the most serious types of sex crimes in California. California Penal Code Section 261 PC defines rape as nonconsensual sexual intercourse involving fraud, force, or threats. While this statute specifically requires that the defendant and victim are not married, California also makes spousal rape illegal under California Penal Code Section 262 PC. Both offenses otherwise carry the same penalties and otherwise have the same elements.

A rape offense may be charged when sexual intercourse with another party is accomplished through:

  • Violence
  • Force
  • Menace
  • Duress
  • Threats to use the authority of a public office to arrest, deport, or incarcerate someone
  • Threats of future retaliation, or
  • Fear of imminent bodily harm to the victim or another person

Sexual intercourse specifically refers to any type of penetration of the genitals by a penis.

What is Consent & Can it Be Revoked?

Under California law, consent must be given voluntarily, freely, and by someone capable of giving consent. This consent can be revoked at any time, even during the act of intercourse.

Intercourse becomes non-consensual if the victim:

  • Communicates an objection to the intercourse and attempts to stop or
  • Communicates objection through acts or words that a reasonable person would understand demonstrate lack of consent, and
  • The defendant forcibly continues intercourse.

California law will consider someone unable to give consent to intercourse if they were asleep, unconscious, or too intoxicated to consent. Someone with a physical or mental incapacity that prevents them from giving consent also qualifies if the defendant is aware of the incapacity.

Statutory Rape in California

Statutory rape is a type of rape offense with its own statute under California law. In California, the legal age of consent is 18. An adult who engages in intercourse with a minor can be convicted of statutory rape, even if the minor was a willing participant, under Section 261.5.

While California does not have a so-called Romeo and Juliet law that decriminalizes consensual intercourse between minors or dating partners within a certain age range, there is an exception to this statute.

A legal defense to statutory rape exists if the defendant is under 21 and the alleged victim is older than 16 as long as the age difference is not more than three years apart.

Sexual Assault in California

Sexual assault is a sex crime related to rape and the two offenses are often confused. Sexual assault or sexual battery is defined under California Penal Code Section 243.4 PC as touching a victim against their will for sexual abuse, gratification, or arousal.

Sexual assault is a lesser offense than rape and generally a misdemeanor offense. However, aggravating factors can make it a felony including restraining the victim, assaulting a mentally incapacitated or disabled person in an institution, or claiming a professional purpose.

What Are the Penalties for Rape in Los Angeles, California?

Rape under Section 261 PC is a felony in California with harsh penalties if convicted. Unlike some states, California does not classify felonies into categories. Instead, each felony offense has its own penalty.

Rape is punishable by up to eight years in state prison. This offense is not eligible for felony probation as a violent offense. If the alleged victim sustained serious bodily injury, which may include any type of physical complication or injury like extensive bruising or a fracture, your sentence can be enhanced by an additional five years.

Rape is a Three Strikes Offense

In addition to jail time and a fine of up to $10,000, rape counts toward California’s Three Strikes law. This sentencing law gives defendants a 25-year to life sentence if they have been convicted of three serious or violent felonies. You also face harsher penalties if you have any prior “strike crime.” With a prior strike conviction, your sentence for a rape conviction can be doubled to up to 16 years in prison.

Sex Offender Registration Requirements

A rape conviction will require sex offender registration in Los Angeles. Registered sex offenders may have their personal information posted publicly on the Megan’s Law website. You must register with local law enforcement every year and you may be restricted on where you can live and work.

California replaced its universal lifetime registration requirement with a tier-based system in 2021. Under SB 384, there are now three tiers that may require registration for as little as 10 years. However, most cases of rape are a tier-three offense that requires lifetime registration.

Failure to register as a sex offender after a rape conviction is a serious crime on its own.

Penalties for Statutory Rape in California

Statutory rape is a wobbler offense that may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. The penalty depends on the age of the minor and the difference in ages between the defendant and minor.

Statutory rape is a misdemeanor when the defendant is not more than three years older than the victim. This is punishable by up to one year in county jail.

If you are at least three years older than the victim, but the victim is not younger than 16, statutory rape is a wobbler that may be a felony or misdemeanor. This will depend on the facts in your case and whether you have prior criminal convictions. You may face up to a year in county jail or 16, 24, or 36 months in prison.

Felony statutory rape occurs if the defendant is 21 or older and the victim is under 16. This felony is punishable by 2 to 4 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000.

What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Rape in Los Angeles, CA?

Even the accusation of a sex crime can carry serious consequences. However, you should not lose hope when you are charged with a sex crime; there are many possible defenses. These defenses may weaken the case against you to help you achieve a more favorable plea bargain, acquittal, or dismissal.

Our Los Angeles sex crime attorneys will help you explore the following potential defense strategies:

  • Disputing the credibility of the accuser or other witnesses the prosecution calls.
  • False allegations and proof that the alleged victim had some reason to lie such as infidelity in a relationship, a contentious custody battle or divorce, or a break-up.
  • The sexual intercourse was consensual. Regretting having sex later does not make the act rape.
  • An affirmative defense that shows you have an alibi or could not have engaged in the alleged act.
  • Violations of your constitutional rights seeking to have evidence excluded.
  • Disputing the validity of evidence submitted by the prosecution.

In sex crime cases that involve strong evidence against the defendant, our sex crime lawyers in Los Angeles may still help mitigate the consequences of a conviction. This may include fighting a plea bargain for a lesser sentence without the sex offender registry requirement.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Los Angeles Rape Crimes Lawyer

Being convicted of a sex offense can change your life forever, bar you from some types of employment, and result in a lengthy prison sentence. A sex crimes attorney at The Rodriguez Law Group will fight for your good name and freedom and help you protect your rights.

Contact our law office today to schedule a free case review with a Los Angeles rape crimes lawyer who can help you build the defense you need.

RESOURCES:

By Ambrosio E. Rodriguez

Last Updated on May 31, 2021