California law considers rape to be sexual intercourse with a woman without consent and by means of threats or force. An allegation of rape is one of the most serious accusations a woman can make against a man, and a defendant convicted of rape can expect to receive a long prison sentence. When a man is accused of rape, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference.
Although California's definition of rape appears relatively straight forward, understanding the legal meaning of the terms within the definition can be of the utmost importance to a defendant. "Sexual intercourse" is the act of a penis penetrating a vagina, no matter how slight. "Consent" only occurs when a woman understands the nature of sexual intercourse and then acts freely and voluntarily. The law does not require a woman to physically resist intercourse in order to prosecute a defendant for rape. Previous sexual contact within a marriage or a dating relationship does not, by itself, demonstrate consensual intercourse. Also, the fact a woman asks a man to wear a condom does not necessarily mean the woman consents to sex. A rape can occur even if a woman initially consented to intercourse, but changes her mind during the act and the man continues after she tells him to stop. However, a defendant is not guilty of rape if he actually and reasonably believed the woman consented to intercourse. A knowledgeable defense lawyer understands the terminology and can exploit the nuisances to a defendant's benefit.
While unusual, there are occasions when a woman, either intentionally or innocently, falsely accuses a man of rape. It may be a case of a woman seeking revenge for a past transgression, crafting a lie to conceal an embarrassing truth, or simply due to faulty memory distorted by intoxication or mental disease. There are any number of reasons why a woman may fabricate an allegation of rape, unraveling the lie requires the assistance of an aggressive defense attorney who is not afraid of confronting the accuser and exposing the truth.
Penal Code sections 261, 261.5, 262, & 264.1