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Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter



Download Our Free Guide

Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter





Alameda Rape Lawyer

Rape is a crime with extremely severe consequences under California law. Prosecutors, judges, and hurries treat rape charges harshly and often seek the maximum possible penalties. An Alameda rape lawyer may be able to assist individuals in building a valid defense to rape or related criminal charges.

One significant role that a criminal defense lawyer can play in a rape case is to investigate the situation that led to the allegations and determine the strength of the evidence against you. In some cases, individuals might be eligible for reduced charges. Furthermore, even if a conviction is impossible to avoid, a sex crimes attorney could still introduce as many mitigating factors as possible at the time of sentencing to reduce the potential penalties.

Rape Offenses in Alameda

California Penal Code § 261 defines rape as any nonconsensual sexual intercourse with others using force, threats, violence, fear, coercion, or fraud. Sex qualifies as nonconsensual or against the will of individuals in various circumstances, including when individuals are:

  • Protesting or telling others that they do not want to have sex
  • Disabled, either physically or mentally, in a way that prevents them from verbalizing a lack of consent
  • Unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware of the circumstances
  • Impaired by alcohol or controlled substances

Public officials and other authority figures also may commit rape when they use threats of arrest, incarceration, or deportation to carry out nonconsensual intercourse. A rape lawyer in Alameda may be able to establish whether consent existed in a specific circumstance, which can be instrumental to a potential defense to rape charges.

California law defines statutory rape separately from the general rape offense. Under Cal. Pen. Code § 261.5, statutory rape occurs when individuals engage in sexual intercourse with minors who are under age 18 and to whom they are not married. Statutory rape can be a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on whether the parties were less or more than three years apart in age.

Potential Penalties for a Rape Conviction

Rape is a felony offense that can have severe consequences. Individuals convicted of rape can face three, six, or eight years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. The court might opt to add five more years to a sentence if the rape resulted in significant bodily injury to the alleged subjects of the rape.

Rape also qualifies as a “strike” offense under California law. As a result, if individuals are accused of rape and already have a conviction for another strike offense, they could face double the prison sentence if convicted on the rape charges. A third conviction for individuals with two prior strikes can result in a prison sentence of 25 years to life.

If charged as a misdemeanor, statutory rape carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. If charged as a felony, however, statutory rape can be up to three or four years, depending on the ages of the parties. A statutory rape conviction can also result in fines ranging from $2,000 to $25,000.

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration

Being convicted of rape also has collateral consequences that are exceedingly harsh, including mandatory sex offender registration. A conviction for statutory rape may or may not result in a sex offender registration requirement, depending on the findings of the sentencing judge.

Sex offender registration in California requires individuals to register with law enforcement agencies wherever they work within five business days. The frequency with which they must register depends on the severity of the conviction and other factors. As the ramifications of mandatory sex offender registration can be highly damaging to the futures of those who are required to register, it may be highly advisable for individuals facing charges to seek the advice of a rape attorney in Alameda.

An Alameda Rape Attorney May Be Able to Help

Not only can the prison sentence for a rape conviction be lengthy, but its length can also increase if individuals have one or more prior convictions for crimes designated as “strike” offenses. An Alameda rape lawyer may be able to work toward building the defense that is most likely to be successful in your case. Retaining legal advice can help you determine the best defense strategy to pursue in your case.

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