Few criminal allegations carry the kind of social stigma that is attached to rape. A person accused of rape may begin to feel that they are being treated as if they are guilty long before the trial. That’s because state and federal laws take a very aggressive stance against sex crimes and those who commit them. This aggressive stance is exacerbated by the assignment of overzealous detectives and prosecutors who may seek a conviction at all costs. It is this approach to rape allegations that makes it imperative for you to seek a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer with all possible speed. The sooner you hire an attorney to represent you, the sooner you can start defending yourself against these damaging accusations.
A person accused of rape in Los Angeles suffers numerous indignities. Sex crime allegations have a way of making headlines and that can be bad news for the defendant’s life and for the well-being of their family. People who have been accused of rape find that their reputation is on the line. They may be fired from their job and find it difficult to get another one. Their family may be the subject of abuse and negative attention. Perhaps worst of all, someone facing rape charges in California is looking at the potential for serious jail or prison time on top of substantial fines and restitution. Clearly, it is in your best interests to mount an aggressive defense as soon as possible.
Defining Rape in California
State law divides rape into four separate categories. Conviction in any of these categories may lead to different penalties. The first kind of rape is forcible rape, which is defined in Penal Code Section 261. Included in this code is any type of sexual intercourse that was not consented to by one of the parties. Under this section, the victim may have been forced or may have been incapable of giving consent because of disability or incapacitation. Incapacitation may include being unconscious, anesthetized, drugged or under the influence of alcohol. Forcible sex that occurs under threats of deportation or other adverse action is also found in this section. The second class of rape, rape in concert, is similarly defined under this section. An individual may be charged with rape in concert if they in some way helped another person commit a rape. Being present for the crime is not a requirement for charges being filed.
In Section 261.5 statutory rape, the third rape category, is defined. Informally referred to as sex with a minor, this crime usually involves a victim who is under 18 years of age. This crime may be considered a misdemeanor if there is only a three year age difference between the parties. A larger age difference can mean felony charges and tougher sentencing guidelines.
Penal Code section 262 relates to spousal rape. This crime typically occurs between married parties and involves one party engaging in forced sexual intercourse with the other. Punishable by between three and eight years in prison, it’s clear that state law takes spousal rape allegations seriously.
Hiring an Experienced Los Angeles Rape Defense Lawyer
As soon as you suspect that you are being investigated for rape in California, it is vital that you engage the services of a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will immediately begin researching your case. Depending upon the findings, it may be possible to stop the criminal investigation in its tracks, sometimes even before charges are filed. That’s because many rape accusations simply don’t have enough hard evidence to back them up. Sometimes it is a “he said/she said” situation where one party is making a false accusation for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for police and prosecutors to discern the motivation behind the actions of the alleged victim. A former romantic partner may be using the rape allegations to get revenge. Since both law enforcement and prosecutors are predisposed to seek justice for victims, they may not look very hard at all of the circumstances surrounding the supposed crime.
That’s where your Los Angeles rape defense attorney comes in. Your attorney will work hard to find all of the holes in the prosecution’s case. Through his investigation, he may uncover misconduct on the part of the police or a piece of overlooked evidence that can help you maintain your freedom. A criminal defense attorney can begin representing you at any point throughout the legal process. It is never too late to begin an aggressive defense. However, your best chance of maintaining your freedom lies with hiring a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a Los Angeles Rape Defense Attorney
The criminal defense lawyers at this firm have already represented dozens of clients who were accused of rape. They know that if you are convicted, you may be looking at several years in prison or jail. Moreover, you may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. A rape conviction in California carries heavy consequences that can affect every facet of your life from your family to your job. You need an attorney who understands how much is at stake and who is willing to fight for you.
With so much on the line you need a criminal defense attorney with the right kind of experience and a track record for success. Contact our rape defense lawyers today.
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