Penal Code 261 — Rape
Rape is one of California’s most serious criminal charges. A rape conviction may be a “Strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law and punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to thirteen (13) years depending on the age of the victim — for example if the victim was a minor – and the severity of any injuries.
Being falsely accused and convicted of rape can destroy every aspect of a person’s life. It is imperative that anyone charged with Rape immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with specialized knowledge in defending against rape charges.
Under California law, “rape” is defined as sexual intercourse against a person’s will or without their consent, accomplished by threats, physical force, or fraud. Examples of “threats, physical force or fraud” include, but are not limited to:
- Physical force
- No consent due to Intoxication
- No consent due to physical or mental impairment
- No consent due to being asleep or unconscious
What the Prosecutor Must Prove to Convict a Defendant of Rape
In order to convict a defendant of rape, a prosecutor must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with another person (any penetration is enough, regardless of how slight the penetration),
- Defendant and the other person were not married at the time of the event,
- The other person “did not consent” to the intercourse, AND
- The intercourse was accomplished by “means of threats, physical force, or fraud”
Defenses to Rape Charges
While every rape case must be evaluated on its specific facts, successful defenses in rape cases may include the following defenses:
- Defendant “actually” and “reasonably” believed that the victim consented to the intercourse
- False accusations
- Insufficient evidence. For example, DNA tests, victim and witness statements and other evidence fail to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed rape.
- Mistaken eyewitness identification — the “wrong guy.”
Contact Us Now
Schwartz & Naderi’s team of criminal defense attorneys has over 80 years of combined experience aggressively defending clients facing all types of sex-related charges, including Rape charges, and will strategize a vigorous defense from the moment of arrest until the completion of the case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with any sex offense, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Schwartz & Naderi today at (310) 246-9550.