A person may be charged with rape if that person commits and act of sexual intercourse with another person by the following means:
- By violence, force, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury top the victim
- By threat
- By acting in concert with another person or persons
- By a threat to use the authority as a public official against the victim
- With a minor
- On a person who is incapable of giving consent for various reasons
- By pretense of marriage
Sexual intercourse is whenever there is any penetration of the victim by the accused, no matter how slight. Penetration of the external genitalia constitutes rape; vaginal penetration is not required.
In addition to rape a person may also be charged with sodomy, oral copulation and penetration by a foreign object if that person uses one of the methods described above to effectuate one of those acts without consent.
A person may also be charged with attempted rape or assault with the intent to commit rape even if no penetration occurs. For the assault with intent to commit rape, however, the person must have the present ability to carry out the intention of the assault. Assault with intent to commit rape may also include assault with intent to commit spousal rape.
Spousal Rape in California
In addition, California allows for a person to be charged with the crime of spousal rape if the non-consensual sexual intercourse occurs while the person is married to the victim. This is filed under a different criminal statute but is also a very serious crime.
The law regarding rape and sexual crimes is extremely complicated and there are many pitfalls along the way. Only a qualified California criminal defense attorney can assist a person the right way. It is imperative that you contact a lawyer who specializes in sex crimes immediately.
Punishment for Rape
Rape, sodomy, oral copulation or penetration by a foreign object is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for three, six, or eight years.
A person who is convicted of forcible rape, rape in concert, spousal rape, sodomy, oral copulation or penetration by a foreign object is required to register as a sex offender with the local authorities.
Enhancements of sentence, which may lead to much longer prison sentences, may also be imposed in cases of rape, spousal rape, sodomy, oral copulation, and penetration by a foreign object in various circumstances, including when the crime involves:
- The infliction of great bodily injury;
- The use of a firearm or another type of deadly weapon;
- The person accused of the crime was a day-care provider in a day-care facility; or
- The person charged had a prior record.
Rape or other sexual crimes as described above are very serious and may lead to extended prison sentences, registration requirements and other devastating ramifications for the person accused of a crime. Many times all it takes of for someone to point a finger at the person and their life is virtually turned upside down overnight.
There are many defenses and case strategies that can help a person get out from under the weight of the legal system. Many times the only witnesses to the alleged crime are the victim and the Defendant themselves, thus a complete investigation is extremely important. The most important thing a person can do if he is being accused of a sexual crime is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer
Call Sigal Law Group located in Los Angeles, California today for a FREE consultation. Our L.A. criminal lawyers can be reached toll free at (888) 335-6008.