North Bay Rape Defense Attorneys
… A rape allegation will affect your life forever…
Rape is one of the most serious sex crimes that can be committed, and as such, it is one of the most diligently prosecuted by law enforcement. If you have been accused of rape, it is essential that you retain the services of an experienced North Bay sex crime attorney from our firm immediately. Rape is a felony crime, and can result in numerous harsh penalties if your case goes to trial and you are convicted.
Consequences of a Rape Conviction
Rape is considered a felony and if convicted, the defendant could face severe consequences including, but not limited to:
- Loss of certain rights
- Mandatory registration as a sex offender
- Compulsory HIV/AIDS testing
- Court ordered rehab
- Large fines
The likelihood of many of these punishments and penalties depends on the circumstances surrounding the rape case, including whether or not the accused has any prior convictions, is on parole or probation, the amount of media attention on the case, and the communities’ attitude about the crime.
There are many types of rape, all of which are illegal. Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with an underage individual. This is not necessarily non-consensual but because of the age of the alleged victim, it is still considered rape. Spousal rape is another form of rape that is complex and difficult to understand. This is the forcible rape of a spouse by another spouse, usually involving a husband raping a wife. Date rape is a type of rape that is perpetrated by an alleged victim’s acquaintance, commonly thought of as someone they are on a date with. All forms of rape are serious offenses and are punishable by jail and or prison time, monetary fines, probation and mandatory sex offender registration. If you have been accused of any form of rape, you need to speak with one of our attorneys immediately.
Rape Defense Lawyers in the North Bay
The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara which has been around for over 20 years has handled numerous sex crime cases. We have experience in handling sex crime cases and understand the sensitive and complex nature of these cases. When you are accused of rape, people will look at you differently and your friends and family may try to distance themselves from you. Proving your innocence in this case will be essential to returning your life to normal and proving to your friends and family that you are not a dangerous criminal. An attorney from our firm can help you fight for your innocence in court and may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Contact a Santa Rosa and San Rafael rape attorney if you have been charged with rape or sexual abuse of any kind. We can get started on your defense immediately. For a free initial consultation with an experienced Santa Rosa and North Bay criminal defense lawyer, please call us at our Santa Rosa office at 707-571-8600 or San Rafael at 415-492-4507, keeping in mind that we have two convenient centrally located offices in Sonoma and Marin Counties or feel free to complete and submit our online form .
… Common questions that clients have asked us for over 20 years…
What is statutory rape?
The crime of an adult having sex with a minor, which is commonly called Statutory Rape or underage sex, involves traditional common sense policy in addition to the government drawing certain lines in the sand. In essence the law states there are certain circumstances where someone is not able – no matter how willing or mature they feel – to consent to having sex. Generally, in lawyer-speak, we say that the under-age victim “lacked the capacity” to agree or consent to having sex.
What is the California Age of consent?
In California the age when one can legally consent to sex is 18. The penalties for statutory rape can become more severe depending upon the age differential between the alleged victim and accused.
Is it still statutory rape if the minor consented to sex?
One of the more frequently asked questions about the law involves the minor victim’s willingness to engage in sex. Because of the capacity concept discussed above, it is never a defense to statutory rape that someone under age “made advances” or asked to have sex or “made the first move” or that he or she was “mature beyond her years”. Even so, it may be helpful for your defense attorney to be aware of these factors. In other words, unlike other sexual assault and rape statutes where an adult is the victim, it is not enough that a minor acts “freely” and “voluntarily” and “has knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved” (See PC Section 261.6)
California Penal Code 261: California’s Rape Law
When reviewing the statute for Rape, (PC Section 261) you will begin to understand that lacking capacity is a universal theme. Rape involves sex without consent and the law includes lack of consent due to “mental disorder, developmental or physical ability, threat of duress, fear of injury” and also, roughly speaking, through drugging, during sleep or unconsciousness, through concealment of identity such as leading the victim to think the defendant was the victim’s husband, et al.
STATUTORY RAPE PENALTIES, ENHANCEMENTS AND SENTENCING
Sex with a Minor: Misdemeanor or Felony?
Where sex between the accused and a minor happened when the age difference is three years or less, the accused can be charged with a misdemeanor. This includes cases where the accused party is a minor not less than three years younger than the victim as well as being not less than three years older.
Sex with a minor where the perpetrator is more than 3 years older than the minor victim triggers an offense which can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony involving up to one year in jail or prison time per count.
Anyone 21 or older who has sex with someone younger than 16 faces misdemeanor or felony charges involving county jail time up to one year or prison sentence of 2, 3, or 4 years.
Additional Civil Penalties
In addition to time served in a jail or prison, the District Attorney can bring a separate action allowing courts to levy civil penalties which range from $2,000 per “count” to $25,000 per count. The judge may additionally levy a $70 fine to anyone who violates this section.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
Usually cases where an adult provides drugs to a minor will result in this charge. At times, where proof is flawed or if there are multiple charges brought against the defendant, we may be able to negotiate that one charge such as this be dropped.
Pimping or Pandering to a Minor
Generally this charge addresses supporting oneself through the proceeds of another’s prostitution. When one pimps a minor, there is an enhanced penalty. An enhanced penalty could substantially increase jail or prison time.
- 3, 6 or 8 years prison time where prostitute was under 16
- 3, 4 or 6 where the minor-prostitute was 16 or older
Similar charges of pandering with a minor can be brought where someone encouraged or induced a minor to prostitute herself.
Procurement of Child Under Age 16 for Lewd or Lascivious Acts. CA PC 288
Charges of procurement involve people who make available minors under 16 for the purpose of any lewd or lascivious act defined in section 288. Those charged under this section face a felony with prison time of 3, 6, or 8 years.
General Rape Statute where Victim is a Minor. CA PC 261(2)(a)
A violation of under California Penal Code 261(2)(a) discusses the general rape statute against a minor. Under the broader rape statute, any person who rapes a child under 14 shall be sentenced by imprisonment for 9, 11 or 13 years. Under the same paragraph any person who rapes a child 14 or over shall be sentenced to 7, 9 or 11 years per count.
“Sentencing laws and statutes are subject to legislative changes so please consult with your attorney or the California Penal Code for updated and accurate information.”
Being charged with these counts would not stop prosecutors from bringing other related charges, such as minor-enhanced provision involving penetration of genital or anal openings by foreign object or acting in concert by force (“gang bang”) or other enhancements which would yield 10, 12 or 14 years in prison (per count) for minors under 14 or 7, 9, or 11 for victims 14 or older. There are also enhancements under P.C. 269 for aggravated sexual assault of a child and separate penalties for abduction of a child for the purpose of prostitution.
Lewd or Lascivious Acts
Under P.C. Section 288 “Lewd or Lascivious Acts,” people who commit acts on minors less than 14 with the intent of arousing, appealing to, gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony with potential prison time of 3, 6 or 8 years. If force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate injury is involved the sentence can be enhanced to 5, 8 or 10 years per count.
Registration as a Sex Offender
Under Section PC 290, the “Sex Offender Registration Act,” those who are convicted or who pled to a sex related offense are often required to register on a database of sex offenders “for the rest of his/her life while residing in California”, and the record becomes freely searchable by the public on the internet. Most of the offenses discussed under the statutory rape would be registrable and are listed both in the body of Penal Code 290.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara can develop an innovative defense strategy to effectively improve the outcome of your case. Potential rape defenses may include the victim’s consent, lack of evidence to support the case, factual evidence or mistaken identity, the use of polygraph tests, and more.
If you’ve been accused or charged with rape, do NOT attempt to investigate or defend your own case. It is in your best interest to retain competent and aggressive legal representation to ensure you rights and interests are protected every step of the way.
Please feel free to contact us any time of the day or night to receive a free and confidential case review to strategize, discuss your options, defenses and how to avoid jail time. For a free initial consultation with an experienced Santa Rosa and North Bay criminal defense lawyer, please call us at our Santa Rosa office at 707-571-8600 or San Rafael at 415-492-4507, keeping in mind that we have two convenient centrally located offices in Sonoma and arin Counties or feel free to complete and submit our online form.
We are available 24/7. Our operations will connect you to one of our attorneys, nights and weekends!