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Rape is a serious crime in the state of California, and facing a criminal charge like this one can come as a shock. The possibility of losing friends, being ostracized by neighbors, losing your job, and even facing prison time if convicted is an intimidating thought. However, just because you are accused of a serious crime does not negate your rights, and you have the right to retain legal counsel in the courtroom. If you live in L.A. and have been accused of rape, contact a rape defense lawyer in Hermosa Beach at Okabe and Haushalter to learn more about your options as a defendant under the law.
The California Penal Code outlines crimes and punishments for various unlawful acts. Rape is defined under Section 261 as sexual intercourse accomplished without the consent of the alleged victim. This law may appear straightforward on the surface, however, there is more to the legal concept of consent than a simple “yes” or “no.” Some factors that can influence a person’s ability to provide consent—even without force or threat being present—are age, disability, and intoxication.
Age of consent
Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, it is illegal for any person over the age of 18 to engage in sex acts with someone under the age of 18. Therefore, a 17-year-old person cannot legally consent to intercourse with an 18-year-old person, even if both parties verbally agree to the act of intercourse. The penalties for this crime—statutory rape—vary depending on the age difference between the minor and the adult. For example, intercourse between an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old may not be punished as harshly as intercourse with a child under 10, which could yield 25 years to life imprisonment if convicted.
Some disabilities can preclude legal consent
People with certain disabilities may be deemed unable to give legal consent to sex acts, rendering any intercourse with these individuals to be a crime under state law. Physical disabilities, mental disabilities and developmental disabilities considered to impact judgment and cognition may impact the ability of the person who has the disability to give consent even if they agree to intercourse.
Intoxication can affect ability to consent under the law
Someone who is intoxicated by alcohol or controlled substances may not be able to legally consent to sex. So if two individuals are drinking alcohol at a party and go off to engage in mutually agreed-upon intercourse, the consent given by one or both involved parties could be made void under the law due to intoxication affecting judgment and thinking.
Call a rape defense lawyer in Hermosa Beach at Okabe and Haushalter if you are facing rape allegations in the L.A. area. Our knowledgeable attorneys can stand by you in court and will use proven defense tactics to get a desirable outcome for your case. We understand that each case is unique, and we will tailor a custom defense on your behalf. We offer case evaluations at no charge and have successfully defended many clients against rape allegations in the past. Let us put our courtroom excellence to the test and help you fight the charges you are facing.