Los Angeles Spousal Rape
Understanding California Spousal Rape Laws: Protecting Legal Rights and Avoiding Serious Consequences
Spousal rape is a serious crime that can result in severe legal consequences under California Penal Code 262 PC. In California, spousal rape is a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to eight years, a fine of up to $10,000, and a mandate to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290. The penalties imposed on spousal rape perpetrators are akin to those in cases involving stranger rape. Thus, if your spouse accuses you of spousal rape in Los Angeles, the course of action is to take this charge very seriously and speak with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney immediately. This write-up provides a comprehensive overview of spousal rape laws in California.
Overview of California Spousal Rape Laws
In 1979, California became one of the first states in the USA to recognize marital rape as a crime. This recognition came in the form of the introduction of a bill to allow the prosecution of marital rape perpetrators under the law. Despite Senator Bob Wilson’s objections, who asked, “If you can’t rape your wife, who can you rape?” the bill passed into law.
The original legislation covering spousal rape only stipulated that rape must occur through force. Rape by coercion, rape by threat, and rape when the victim is incapable of consent were not a part of California’s earliest spousal rape laws. These contingencies, however, made it into the state’s more general rape statutes. Today, they are part of California Penal Code 262 PC.
When Does Spousal Rape Occur under California Law?
Spousal rape does not encompass spousal assault or battery or sexual battery, which are both covered by California’s domestic violence laws (California Penal Code 273.5 PC). Spousal rape, as per the California Penal Code 262 PC, involves engaging in nonconsensual sexual intercourse with one’s spouse where:
– The sexual contact takes place through force, violence, duress or menace, or by the fear of bodily harm; and
– The victim is incapacitated through the use of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants, and it is reasonably possible to assume that the alleged perpetrator knows this.
The Marital Rape Exemption
While California recognizes spousal rape as a serious offense, the laws make an exception under California Penal Code 261.5 PC. If an individual engages in sexual intercourse with a person below 18 years of age, that sexual contact is regarded as statutory rape. Suppose the alleged perpetrator is legally married to the underage individual. In that case, such sexual conduct will neither be statutory rape nor spousal rape under California’s legal definition.
He Said/She Said
In spousal rape cases, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution to prove first that sexual intercourse did occur and second, that the victim did not give consent to the sexual contact. The emotionally charged and intimate nature of marriages sometimes leads to false accusations of spousal rape, motivated by rage, jealousy, or an attempt to gain an upper hand over marital assets. In the absence of damning physical evidence, spousal rape prosecutions can turn into a battle of he said/she said arguments.
The Serious Consequences of a Spousal Rape Conviction
A spousal rape conviction in California carries significant and long-lasting penalties. These consequences may include:
– A prison sentence of up to eight years;
– A fine of up to $10,000;
– Mandatory registration as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290.
Seeking a Strong Criminal Defense
An accusation of spousal rape is not something to take lightly, even if you know you are innocent. Felony convictions carry severe and long-lasting social consequences. Your line of defense is to consult with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney immediately to safeguard your rights. With a solid defense strategy, you can seek to have spousal rape charges dropped, reduced, or even dismissed, depending on the circumstances of your case.
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