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RAPE

The crime of rape has been around since recorded history. Prior to changes in the law of rape, rape was defined an illegal carnal knowledge of a female by a male who is not her husband without her consent. At the outset, it should be observed that there are many problems with this archaic understanding of rape. Specifically: (1) the crime could only be committed against a woman by a man, and (2) a husband could not rape his wife. Society has developed a more evolved understanding of the crime of rape, and enacted there enlightened understanding of the crime in California Penal Code §261.

California Penal Code §261 makes it a punishable offense to engage in sexual intercourse with a victim who is not married to the Defendant against the Victim’s consent. The most common form of rape occurs through force and threat of force. However, there are many more types of conduct that could constitute rape. Ultimately, if there is “sexual intercourse” and the Victim did not consent to that intercourse, the Defendant has committed rape.

The following list is a non-exhaustive list of examples that would constitute rape pursuant to California Penal Code §261. If the Prosecution proves all of the elements of a given example, the Defendant will be convicted of rape, and face significant penalties.

  1. Dan engaged in sexual intercourse with Vivian, but Vivian was mentally disabled and was unable to provide valid consent to the act. It should be noted that the Prosecution will have to show that Dan knew or should have known that Vivian was mentally disabled and therefore unable to give valid consent to sexual intercourse.
  2. Dan engaged in sexual intercourse with Vivian against her will. Dan accomplished this by physically forcing Vivian into sexual intercourse.
  3. Dan engaged in sexual intercourse with Vivian. Vivian was unable to resist because she was under the influence of an illegal substance, an intoxicating substance, or an anesthetic substance. The Prosecution must prove that Dan knew or should have known that Vivian was under the influence of those substances.
  4. Dan engaged in sexual intercourse with Vivian while she was unconscious. The Prosecution must prove that Dan knew or should have known that Vivian was unconscious.
    1. Unconscious means that Vivian was unable to resist because she was unconscious or asleep
    2. Unconscious can also mean Vivian was completely unaware that sexual intercourse had occurred.
    3. Unconscious can also mean Vivian was unaware of the act because Dan led her to believe the penetration was for a legitimate medical purpose.
  5. Dan engaged in sexual intercourse with Vivian. Dan accomplished this by convincing Vivian that he was someone else.
  6. Dan engaged in sexual intercourse with Vivian. Dan accomplished this by threatening to hurt Vivian and her family if she did not engage in sexual intercourse with him. The Prosecution must show that it was reasonable for Vivian to believe that Dan would follow through with his threat.
    1. Threats include threats of false imprisonment, causing severe pain, causing serious bodily injury, causing death, or kidnapping Vivian or her family.
  7. Dan is an immigration officer, and engages in sexual intercourse with Vivian. Dan accomplished this by threatening to deport Vivian and her family if she does not comply. The Prosecution must show that it is reasonable for the Victim to believe Dan is a public official, and that he has the ability to complete his threat.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and is present simply to illustrate different methods of accomplishing rape beyond the typical force or threats of force method.

DEFINITION OF RAPE

Pursuant to California Penal Code §261, a conviction for the crime of rape can only occur if the Prosecution proves the following elements:

  1. The Defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with the Victim
  2. At the time of the sexual intercourse, the Victim was not married to the Defendant; AND
  3. The sexual intercourse occurred without the Victim’s consent.

It is a fundamental aspect of criminal law that the Prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime they have accused the Defendant of committing beyond a reasonable doubt. If the Prosecution fails to meet this burden, the Defendant cannot be convicted of rape. The attorneys at Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer have decades of combined experience representing individuals who have been accused of a wide variety of criminal conduct; including rape. The consequences of a conviction for rape are incredibly severe. At LACL, we pride ourselves on providing the best representation in the business, and providing superior services to our clients. Part of providing superior service to clients accused of criminal conduct is keeping them informed about their case. The remainder of this article will focus on: (1) the elements of rape, (2) the penalties you may face if you are convicted of rape; and (3) how Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer can assist you if you have been accused of rape.

WHAT IS SEXUAL INTERCOURSE?

A rape cannot occur unless the Prosecution is able to show that sexual intercourse occurred. Sexual intercourse occurs when an individual uses any portion of their body, or another object, to penetrate the mouth, vagina, or anus of another person. The slightest penetration constitutes sexual intercourse, and it is no defense to argue that the penetration wasn’t significant. It is irrelevant whether or not the Defendant climaxed, the fact that penetration occurred is enough to satisfy this element.

EFFECTIVE CONSENT MEAN

Another element the Prosecution must prove is that the Victim did not consent to the sexual intercourse. In doing so, the intent of the Victim is the first question that must be addressed. In situations where the Victim did not provide consent in any way shape or form, the Prosecution will have an easy time satisfying this element of the crime. However, this is not always the case. Many cases involve a Victim who seemingly provided consent, but the consent was invalid for a number of reasons including: (1) The Victim was unable to understand what they were consenting to, (2) the Victim was under the influence of mind altering substances and thus could not provide valid consent; and (3) the Victim initially consented to sexual intercourse but became unconscious in the middle of the act. Consent is defined as providing affirmative cooperation utilizing their free will. Ultimately, the Victim must have voluntarily and freely agreed to engage in sexual intercourse, and the Victim must understand the nature of sexual intercourse.

A Victim may give consent, or withdraw consent at any time. Thus, sexual intercourse that was consensual at one point, becomes rape the moment the Victim withdraws their consent. The Victim has to convey clearly to the Defendant that their consent has been withdrawn.

The Victim Was Not Married to the Defendant at the Time of the Sexual Intercourse

If the Victim was married to the Defendant at the time of the nonconsensual sexual intercourse, the Defendant has committed the crime of spousal rape as set forth in California Penal Code §262. To be convicted of rape, the Victim must not have been married to the Defendant at the time of the nonconsensual sexual intercourse.

Defendant’s Knowledge of Lack of Consent

Lack of consent, or invalid consent, is an essential element of the crime of rape. In addition lack of consent however, the Prosecution must show that the Defendant knew there was a lack of consent. As a matter of course, the Defendant will argue that the sexual intercourse was consensual. At this point, the burden shifts back to the Prosecution to prove that the Defendant did not actually believe, or that it was unreasonable to believe, that the Victim had consented to sexual intercourse. If the Prosecution can prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, the Defendant may be convicted of rape.

The Victim’s Gender

As mentioned at the outset of this article, the laws concerning rape were once very archaic, and held that only a woman could be raped. In today’s more enlightened society, we have come to accept that anyone can be the victim of rape. Thus, if a woman forced a man to engage in sexual intercourse against his will, she will also be convicted for the crime of rape.

I Have Been Convicted of Rape, What Penalties Might I Face?

Rape is always charged as a felony offense, and carries significant consequences if the Defendant is convicted.

If you are convicted of rape, without additional factors, you will face incarceration in California State Prison for a period not exceeding eight (8) years and/or a fine of ten-thousand ($10,000) dollars.

If you are convicted of rape, and you employed violence to accomplish that rape, you will receive a “strike” in accordance to California’s Three Strikes Law. If you receive a second strike for a violent felony, you will face up to double the penalty allowed for a conviction of that crime. If you are convicted of a third strike, you will face a penalty of twenty-five (25) years to life imprisonment.

If during the commission of the rape, you inflicted serious bodily injury on the Victim, you will face an enhancement of five (5) additional years of incarceration in California State Prison.

If you are convicted of rape, and the Victim is between the ages of 14 and 18, you will face an enhanced penalty of seven (7) to eleven (11) years of incarceration in California State Prison.

If you are convicted of rape and the Victim is under the age of 14, you will face an enhanced penalty of thirteen(13) years in California State Prison.

In Addition to those penalties, a conviction for rape will result in you being placed on a sex offender registry, and you will remain on this registry for the remainder of your life.

I Have Been Accused of Rape, How can Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer Assist Me?

Rape is always a felony in California, and if you are convicted it will appear on your criminal background. This could have a profound impact on your future job prospects. Employers frequently conduct a background search on employees they are considering hiring. Employers generally do not want to hire individuals who have been convicted of a felony, especially when the felony is rape.

In some circumstances, a conviction for rape will also carry a “strike” with it pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law. If you receive a second strike, the Court is authorized to impose a penalty up to twice the amount set forth in the statute you are accused of violating. If you receive a third strike, the Court is authorized to impose a penalty of twenty-five (25) years to life imprisonment in California State Prison.

Finally, if you are convicted of rape, you will be registered as a sex offender for the remainder of your life. Being labeled as a sex offender has a significant social stigma associated with that, and has the distinct possibility of haunting you for the rest of your life.

In light of how severe the consequences are if you are convicted of rape, it is important to have the very best representation available. Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer knows how much harm a conviction can cause to an individual, and we strive to prove the innocence of each and every one of our clients. At trial, LACL will present a number of defenses to defeat the Prosecution’s case against you, and have you walk away a free person. Some of these defenses

  • You were falsely accused of rape
  • The Victim consented to the sexual intercourse
  • The Victim never withdrew consent in a clear manner
  • You reasonably believed that there was valid consent
  • There was not sexual intercourse
  • The Prosecution has not met their burden

If you or a loved one has been accused of rape, contact Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314 today for a FREE consultation.

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