When you hear the word “rape,” you probably think of an act of violence. However, California rape laws cover more than using force to have sexual intercourse with the alleged victim.
You could be accused of rape for any sexual intercourse where the alleged victim was not legally able to provide consent. Let’s examine situations in which you could be accused of rape without the use of force or fear.
Rape Under California Law (PC 261)
The use of force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate bodily injury to accomplish the act of sexual intercourse is considered rape. However, under California Penal Code Section 261, you could be convicted of the crime of rape if you have sexual intercourse with someone who:
- Has a mental disorder or a developmental or physical disability that renders him or her legally incapable of giving consent
- Is unable to resist because of an intoxicating or anesthetizing substance
- Is unconscious or asleep; or
- You have tricked into believing he or she is having sexual intercourse with someone other than yourself
None of the situations listed above involve the use of force or fear. However, under all of these circumstances, the alleged victim is either not legally able to provide consent or did not provide consent to sexual intercourse with the person committing the act.
There is another scenario in which you may think you are having consensual sex with a partner but you are in fact committing the crime of rape.
Statutory Rape (Penal Code Section 261.5)
In California, a person is considered legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity if he or she is under the age of 18. Regardless of whether the alleged victim willfully agrees to have sexual activity with you, you could be charged with the crime of statutory rape if your sexual partner is younger than 18 years old.
To convict you of statutory rape under PC 261.5, the prosecution must prove that:
- Sexual intercourse occurred, no matter how slight the penetration
- The parties involved were not married to each other at the time of the act, and
- The alleged victim was under 18 at the time of the act
Depending on the circumstances of your case and the age difference between you and the alleged victim, statutory rape could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries a sentence of up to three years in county jail and fines of up to $10,000. Felony statutory rape is punishable by up to four years in jail and $10,000 in fines.
Speak to the Experienced Rape Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
No matter the circumstances of your case, a rape charge is a serious accusation that can dramatically change the course of your life. That is why you should not hesitate to speak to an experienced rape defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled sex crimes lawyers have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing rape charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich rape defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.