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Rape and Date Rape

Sex Crime Lawyer Assisting Riverside County and San Bernardino Residents

Being arrested and charged with a crime is a frightening experience. It is important that people who are facing an accusation of rape, date rape, or another sex offense fully understand their legal rights and the importance of speaking to a sex crime attorney about their situation as soon as possible after being arrested. You should also consult a lawyer if you find out that an investigation is pending, even if an arrest has not yet been made. If you are facing criminal prosecution for a sex crime or another criminal offense, understanding your rights and having an effective advocate on your side may be vital in putting together an effective defense strategy for your situation. San Bernardino and Riverside County rape defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings is here to help you seek justice in your case.

Defending a Rape Charge

Defending a sex crime charge may be challenging. This is true in traditional rape cases as well as in a “date rape” situation, in which the defendant and the alleged victim are acquainted with each other. The parties may agree that intercourse or another sexual act took place but disagree as to whether effective consent was articulated. Since lack of consent is one of the key elements of the crime of rape, the burden of proof is on the State of California to prove the absence of consent beyond a reasonable doubt. Typically, this is done through the testimony of the alleged victim. Although the defendant has a right to testify on their own behalf, many defendants exercise their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refrain from giving the prosecution an opportunity to cross-examine them or undermine their credibility.

It should also be noted that consent is not always an effective defense in a rape or date rape case. Victims who are below a certain age or who lack mental capacity are not able to legally “consent,” even if they do verbally agree to have intercourse with the defendant. Consent is also unlikely to be an effective defense in cases in which the alleged victim was asleep, unconscious, or severely intoxicated. However, the situation is often not straightforward. A knowledgeable rape defense attorney can assist Riverside County and San Bernardino residents with determining which defenses may apply to their circumstances.

Penalties for the Crimes of Rape and Date Rape in California

The crimes of rape and date rape are felonies in California. The punishment faced by a particular defendant depends on several factors, including the age of the alleged victim. Typically, the punishment for rape is between six and eight years of imprisonment in the state penitentiary. However, if the person against whom the crime was perpetrated was a minor, the defendant may face up to 13 years in prison. Fines and other penalties, such as inclusion on the sex offender registry, may also be imposed.

Any felony offense has the potential to affect the defendant’s life and livelihood for many years to come. Especially with regard to registered sex offenders, finding work and suitable living accommodations may be very difficult, and the offender risks additional penalties if they do not comply with the requirements of the registry.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Rape Defense Lawyer in Riverside County or San Bernardino

A qualified criminal defense attorney can help a person accused of rape or date rape determine and assert a variety of possible defenses, including those available under the federal Constitution and California statutory law. Legal counsel can also help investigate the circumstances of the alleged crime and the defendant’s arrest in order to expose possible weaknesses in the State’s case. Without proof beyond a reasonable doubt of each element of the crime with which the defendant is charged, the defendant may be able to ask that the charges against them be dropped or reduced. To talk to San Bernardino and Riverside County rape defense attorney Gregory H. Comings about your specific case, call 951-686-3457 or contact us online and schedule a free appointment. He also represents people who need a child pornography lawyer or assistance in fighting other sex crime charges.