Posted on April 22, 2015

California Rape | Penal Code 261 PC

Accusations of any sex crime carry life time consequences. Mere accusations alone, without resulting in an arrest or charge, may cause the loss of family relations, friendships, and even employment. Furthermore, sex allegations can carry the social stigma of forever being labeled as a sex offender. When faced with very serious charges, it is imperative that you retain an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

Overview of California Rape Accusations

Rape is charged under California Penal Code 261 pc making it unlawful for someone to have intercourse with another without that person’s consent. Consent must be knowingly and voluntarily given but can be revoked at any time before or during intercourse. Rape can be charged with the other person: (1) does not give consent or revokes consent; (2) lacks the mental capacity to consent or is unconscious and incapable of consenting; (3) consent was the product of force, fear, threat(s), or by fraud; (4) the alleged victim is under the age of 18. The punishment for rape carries up to 8 years in state prison and perhaps additional time if certain aggravating circumstances exist. A conviction will also require a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. Other related offenses include statutory rape, sexual battery, and lewd acts on a child.

What are the Element of the Charge?

In general terms, in order for someone to be found guilty of rape, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant had sexual intercourse with a woman;
  2. Defendant was not married to the woman at the time of the act;
  3. The woman did not consent to intercourse;
  4. Defendant accomplished the intercourse by duress, force, fear, threats, violence,

Defenses to Rape – PC 261

  • Consent: The alleged victim must give freely and voluntary consent prior to intercourse. A reasonable mistaken belief on part of the accused may suffice under this defense. Consent however is a complicate issue raising several factual circumstances and reasonable interpretations.
  • Misidentification: Eyewitness identification is a growing concerning and often times witnesses or alleged victims misidentify the perpetrator. Factors which play an important role on a witness misidentification include cross racial identification, poor lighting, or the trauma of the event itself. Additionally, police misconduct is frequent law enforcement unduly suggest someone to the alleged victim prior to making the identification in a photo or in person line up.
  • False Accusation: Unfortunately, individuals accused of rape can be victims of fabrications on part of the complaining witness. The reason for false accusations is limitless. Common examples include embarrassment, attention, revenge, or financial motive.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been charged or are under investigation for rape (PC 261), contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers today. Call us to speak with an experienced Orange County sex crimes defense lawyer in a free consultation about your rights, issues, and about mounting your defense.

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