In the last few months of 2017, thousands of women across the country spoke out about times they had been the victim of sexual assault. Some of these women spoke about unwanted touching, thwarted advances, and other relatively minor acts of sexual assault. Other women, however, brought forth allegations of rape. Many of these accusations involved crimes that had been committed years ago. Since the 10-year statute of limitations has long since expired, the men who are accused of these acts of rape will not have to face criminal charges. Some allegations, however, involve acts that took place more recently. Criminal charges may be a reality for the men accused of these more recent acts of rape.
However, not all of the allegations that are made are true. What happens if you are falsely accused of rape? What steps should you take? Can you still be convicted of a crime even if you have been falsely accused? If you have been falsely accused of rape it is important to speak with Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez to learn the answers to these questions and to protect yourself.
What does it mean to be accused of rape? What will a victim have to prove in order to establish that you have committed the crime? In California, rape is defined in Penal Code 261 PC to mean sexual intercourse with another person against their will and/or without their consent. Rape includes times when the victim is intoxicated, asleep, disabled, or otherwise unaware of the gravity of the situation. Rape can, but does not have to, include acts that are committed using force, threats, or fear.
When you are accused of rape the victim must be able to prove:
- The two of you are not married, and
- You forced the victim to have sexual intercourse against their will, or
- You had sexual intercourse with the victim without their consent or knowledge.
He Said, She Said
Rape allegations often boil down to a very difficult “he said, she said” situation. There may be little-to-no solid evidence to support the victim’s claim. As a result, it is your word against your accuser’s. When you are accused of rape it is incredibly important to gather any evidence to support your innocence. However, there are limits on the information that you can assert to support your case. For example, you are generally prohibited by California law from bringing up the victim’s sexual history. The fact that the victim has willingly had sex in the past or has willingly had multiple partners is irrelevant to the current case. Rape shield laws prohibit a victim’s own sexual history from being used to impeach her credibility.
Evidence that may be helpful in contesting false rape allegations include:
- Text messages or emails between you and the alleged victim that can support the argument that the sex was consensual;
- Photographs and/or video footage to prove that you were not at the scene of the alleged rape;
- Witness testimony concerning the victim’s possible motives for falsely accusing you of rape;
- Witness testimony confirming your alibi.
Consequences of False Rape Allegations
If you do not fight the false rape allegations that have been made your life will be changed forever. If you are convicted of rape charges in California you will face between 3 and 8 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines. In some cases, you may face additional penalties if the victim who has accused you rape is a minor. In addition to jail time and fines you will also be required to register as a sex offender. This will significantly limit your ability to work, live, and lead a normal life in your town. There will be restrictions on where you can go, who you can see, and the type of jobs you can have.
Your life will be changed forever even if you are not formally charged or convicted of a crime. The social stigma surrounding the rape allegations are likely to follow you wherever you go. Your friends and family may look at and treat you differently. If your accuser has requested a restraining order, you may have difficulty living a normal life. You may even lose the right to have custody of or visit your children if a court believes you pose a threat to their health and wellbeing.
Fighting False Rape Allegations in Los Angeles
If you have been falsely accused of rape in Los Angeles it is incredibly important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At The Rodriguez Law Group, our skilled team of attorneys will immediately begin to investigate your alleged crime. We will review the victim’s statements, interview witnesses, and search for evidence that supports your innocence. We will find the holes in the victim’s story and fight to make sure that you are not punished for a crime you did not commit.
Early intervention in your case is essential to a positive outcome, so do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles rape defense attorneys today.