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Rape is regarded as a serious crime in the state of California, and having a rape allegation leveled against you can come as a shock. The possibility of being socially alienated, and potentially having your employment and housing situation affected—and facing prison time if convicted—is an intimidating thought. However, just because you are charged with a crime does not negate your rights, and you have the right to retain a defense attorney to assist you with your case in the courtroom. If you live in L.A. and have been accused of rape, contact a rape defense lawyer in Long Beach at Okabe and Haushalter to learn more about your options as a defendant under the law.
The California Penal Code describes crimes and their punishments under state law. Rape is defined under Section 261 as intercourse accomplished without mutual legal consent. This law may appear straightforward on the surface, however, there is more to the legal concept of consent than a simple “yes” or “no.” Multiple factors can influence a person’s ability to provide consent—even without force or threat being present—such as age, intoxication, and disability.
Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, it is illegal for any person over the age of 18 to have intercourse with someone under the age of 18. Therefore, a 16-year-old person cannot legally consent to intercourse with a 19-year-old person, even if both parties verbally agree to the act. The penalties for this crime (referred to as “statutory rape”) vary but are largely based on the age difference between the minor and the adult. For example, intercourse between a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old may not be punished as harshly as intercourse with a child under 10, a crime which could result in a sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Someone who is intoxicated by alcohol or other controlled substances (even medications) may not be able to legally consent to intercourse. If two individuals are drinking alcohol at a party and later engage in intercourse that both parties have verbally agreed to, the consent given by one or both involved parties could be made void under the law due to the potential for alcohol intoxication causing impairment in judgment.
People with certain disabilities may be unable to give legal consent to intercourse, rendering any sex acts with these individuals to be a criminal offense. Certain physical disabilities and developmental disabilities that are considered to impair judgment and executive functioning may impact the ability of the person who has the disability to give consent under the law, regardless of whether they have agreed to intercourse.
If you need a rape defense lawyer in Long Beach, the criminal defense specialists at Okabe and Haushalter can help. Our knowledgeable attorneys can stand by you in the courtroom and will use aggressive defense strategies to get a desirable outcome for your case. We understand that each case is different, and we will create a customized defense based on the unique circumstances surrounding your case. Call or click today for a free consultation.