There are many serious sex crimes on the books in California. California Penal Code Section 261: Rape is one of the most severe sex crimes charges an individual can face. Individuals accused of rape can face high fines and a lengthy period of incarceration.
You can find out more about California’s laws on rape from the Simmrin Law Group. Learn about penalties and the possible defenses that can be used to beat rape charges right here.
Rape: The Legal Definition
Individuals can be charged with rape if they force another person into non-consensual sexual intercourse. In California, any penetration of genitalia or the vagina can be considered sexual intercourse.
Individuals can be forced into non-consensual intercourse through:
The court system in Los Angeles also considers it rape if someone has intercourse with a person who:
- Is Drugged
- Is Asleep
- Is Unconscious
- Is Intoxicated
Note that, technically, individuals cannot be charged under PC 261 for forcing non-consensual sex on their spouse. However, they can face prosecution under California Penal Code Section 262, which can lead to the same penalties.
Individual who engage in sexual abuse that does not meet the definition of rape could instead be charged with a wide range of other crimes, including:
- California Penal Code Section 243.4: Sexual Battery
- California Penal Code Section 261.5: Statutory Rape
- California Penal Code Section 647(a): Lewd Conduct
- California Penal Code Section 647(b): Prostitution
The following actions could result in rape charges in California:
A man follows a woman home from work and forces his way into her home. He uses physical force to hold her down and forces her into a non-consensual sex act. He could be prosecuted and convicted under PC 261.
A man finds an unconscious woman at a party. She looks like she passed out after having a few drinks. He decides that he will have non-consensual intercourse with her while she is unconscious. He could be charged with rape.
A woman is called into her boss’s office. He tells her that he will fire her if she does not have sex with him. She does not want to, but she needs her job. He could face charges for rape for threatening her into non-consensual sex.
Rape: Penalties for a Conviction
Individuals will face felony charges if they are accused of rape in California. The penalties for a conviction under PC 261 can include:
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
- Prison Time: Up to 8 Years
Individuals who are convicted of rape must join California’s sex offender registry, or they can face charges for failure to register as a sex offender. Individuals must keep their sex offender registration up to date to avoid criminal charges.
Note that these are only the basic penalties for a rape conviction. Individuals may face more severe repercussions if:
The Victim Was Seriously Injured
Serious injuries to a victim can lead to fines of up to $10,000. An individual could also face 5 more years in prison for causing serious injuries during a rape.
The Victim Was Under 18
Raping a minor under the age of 18 can lead to up to 11 years of time in prison.
The Victim Was Under 14
Rape crimes against children younger than 14 can lead to 13 years in prison.
Rape: Possible Legal Defenses
The severity of a rape charge makes it very important that individuals get professional help from a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Legal professionals may be able to build a defense if you have been accused from rape by arguing:
You Thought the Other Person Consented to the Sex Act
Rape involves the act of non-consensual sex. If an individual can reasonably believe that they have consent to perform a sex act, they should not be charged with rape. However, if can be very difficult to prove that someone gave consent if they say they did not.
You Were Falsely Accused of Rape
Some individuals claim they were raped when they were not. A criminal defense lawyer can work to use evidence to protect you if you are facing a false rape allegation. It is important that you get professional help on your side right away.
Rape: Getting Professional Help on Your Side
The state of California uses California Penal Code Section 261: Rape to prosecute individuals who force others into non-consensual sex. You can get help fighting this charge by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today for a FREE consultation.
You can reach us by filling out our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.