If you have been charged with the crime of rape, you should be aware that you are facing extremely serious charges, and need to contact an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC, we have over 16 years experience defending against rape charges. Call today for a free consultation.
In the state of California, rape involves an act of sexual intercourse which is against a person’s will, or without their consent. While many people believe the element of force defines rape, in fact, it is the element of consent, which is dependent upon the age of the victim, whether he or she was old enough and of sound mind to consent, and whether consent was present both before and during the act of sexual intercourse. The offense of rape is criminalized under California Penal Code §261, and, to obtain a conviction for the crime, the prosecutor is required to show that:
- You willfully engaged in the act of sexual intercourse with another person;
- The other person said “no,” i.e. did not give consent to the act of sexual intercourse, and
- It was not reasonable for you to believe the victim consented to the act of sexual intercourse.
The following acts can also result in charges of rape in the state of California:
- Forcible sexual intercourse with a date (date rape);
- Forcible sexual intercourse with a minor (statutory rape);
- Using deceit or lies to coerce a victim into performing sexual intercourse;
- Taking advantage of a person who passed out from being drugged or is intoxicated;
- Forceful oral copulation;
- Rape of a spouse, and
- Forcible penetration with an object.
Rape is never a misdemeanor crime in the state of California, and the penalties are severe. The penalties for a San Diego rape conviction include:
- A sentence of 3, 6, or 8 years in a California state prison;
- Fines as large as $5,000;
- Formal probation (as opposed to informal probation), and
- The requirement to register as a sex offender for the remainder of your life.
Additionally, there are enhancements which can result in longer sentences. Some of these enhancements include:
- Rape of a minor, carries an enhanced sentence of a minimum of 7 years in a California state prison, and a maximum of 13 years in a California state prison.
- Rape which results in serious bodily injury to another person carries an enhanced sentence of an additional 3-5 years in a California state prison, a fine as large as $10,000, and one strike, under California’s Three Strikes Law.
Sex Offender Registration for Those Convicted of Rape in San Diego
Under California Penal Code §290, any person convicted of the crime of rape must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his or her life. Registered sex offenders must update their information each year through the Department of Justice, and within five days of a move from one place to another.
The offender’s address, details of his or her sex offense and conviction, photograph and a general description are on a public website for anyone to see. As you can imagine, while a prison sentence and fines are certainly serious penalties, the requirement to register as a sex offender for the remainder of your life can prevent you from getting a job, renting a home, attending college on a government loan, obtaining a professional license or owning a firearm. Of course, this is true for any felony conviction, but there is an added serious social stigma to being listed on the sexual offender registry.
How Rape Can Impact Immigration
If you happen to be in the United States illegally, under California Penal Code §261, you could not only face the same criminal penalties as a citizen, you may be subject to removal or deportation and you may never be eligible to obtain a green card or to re-enter the United States.
Defenses Against the Crime of Rape
While the defense used by your criminal defense attorney will be tailored specifically to the facts of your charges, there are several defenses which could be applicable in your case, such as:
- You were falsely accused, perhaps by an ex who was angry with you, wanted revenge, or was seeking an advantage in a divorce or child custody case.
- You were misidentified as the person who committed the crime, when, in fact, you have a solid alibi (actual innocence).
- You have already been acquitted of assault with intent to rape, therefore double jeopardy laws prohibit a subsequent prosecution for rape.
- There was physical contact, but no penetration.
- You had reasonable belief that the alleged victim had consented to have sexual intercourse.
Voluntary intoxication is not considered a valid defense to the charge of rape, and neither is impotency in a person who has reached the age of puberty. Also, a man can be charged with rape against another man, a woman can be charged with rape for assisting a man in the rape of another woman.
Call San Diego Rape Attorney Vikas Bajaj Today
Because there are few crimes which are pursued as aggressively by law enforcement as the crime of rape, and because the penalties for rape are so harsh, it is imperative you have an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney in your corner as soon as possible after you are charged, or believe you may be charged.