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Sex Crimes - Sexual Assault/Rape

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers Protecting the Rights of People Accused of Sex Crimes

Sexual crimes carry many consequences beyond the possibility of a prison term. Sex offender registration, fines and fees, professional sanctions, and social stigma can effectively change a defendant's life forever - even if no prison term is ordered. It is important for all defendants who are charged with sexual assault or rape to have the guidance of an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

The experienced Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys at the Law Offices of David S. Chesley know how to effectively defend false accusations and mitigate the consequences of a conviction for sexual assault or rape. As a client, you can be sure that your constitutional rights will be protected at every step of sex crime investigation. In some cases, the representation of an attorney can prevent charges from being filed in the first place. To schedule a free consultation with an LA defense attorney, call us today at 800-755-5174 or contact us online.

What is the Difference Between Sexual Assault and Rape?

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is defined in Section 243.4 of the California Penal Code. California law calls the crime "sexual battery," and this includes touching the victim against his or her will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. A conviction for misdemeanor sexual battery can result in significant legal consequences, including:

  • 6 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Probation
  • Mandatory counseling
  • Community service

In addition, there are many potential aggravating factors that, if present, can turn a misdemeanor into a penalty. Some of these include:

  • Restraining the victim (whether by the defendant or an accomplice)
  • Claiming that the touching has a professional purpose, such as a medical exam,
  • Assaulting a seriously disabled or mentally incapacitated resident of an institution.

A guilty plea or conviction for any of these offenses can subject a defendant to a prison term of up to four years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Rape
By contrast, rape is an act of sexual intercourse to which the victim is incapable of consenting. This can be because the victim is incapable of giving legal consent (if, for example, he or she has a mental disorder or a physical or developmental disability). It can also occur when a victim is unconscious, asleep, or incapable of resisting due to an intoxicating, anesthetic, or controlled substance. Force, violence, threats, duress, or fear of immediate bodily injury can also overcome a victim's consent. These actions also qualify as rape. Section 261 of the California Penal Code prohibits rape to persons who are not the spouse of the perpetrator, while Section 262 prohibits spousal rape. Many of the same impediments to consent (such as threats, violence, duress, and intoxication) are identified in both statutes.

The Difficulty With Evidence in a Sexual Assault Case

In spite of the widespread availability of DNA testing, many rape cases still become a “he said/she said” situation in which the jury is asked to believe either the victim (who is portrayed as sympathetic by the prosecutor) or the defendant (who is portrayed as a sexual offender). This is a disturbingly subjective way to decide the outcome of a defendant’s life. In such cases, two different juries could hear the same evidence and come to exactly opposite verdicts. Arbitrary and capricious verdicts are a grim reality of rape and sexual assault convictions.

This problem is often exacerbated by intense political climates surrounding sexual issues in American society. The outcome of the Brock Turner case affected many other defendants charged with sexual offenses in California. Turner's sentence had absolutely no bearing on the facts of these other cases, yet these defendants' verdicts and sentences were inevitably affected by the political climate that evolved in the wake of Turner's controversial sentence. Similarly, the #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements have raised important awareness of sexual harassment issues in workplaces across the country, but they have also swayed the way that juries view sexual issues. Prosecutors know this, and they can use it to their advantage by insinuating an abuse of power (whether or not such an abuse actually occurred). In the right political climate, the mere hint of impropriety can be enough to convict a defendant - regardless of whether the hint is true or not.

Potential Defenses to Sex Crime Allegations

If you have been accused of a sex offense, it is easy to feel like there deck is stacked against you. Fortunately, there are often defenses available that can weaken the prosecution’s case, potentially resulting a more favorable plea bargain, an acquittal, or the case being dropped in its entirety. Some of these include the following:

  • Impeaching the credibility of the accuser or the prosecution’s witnesses
  • Arguing that the alleged conduct does constitute the conduct proscribed by the law
  • Alleging constitutional violations that can result in the exclusion of evidence
  • Introducing evidence that the defendant could not have engaged in the alleged conduct

Of course, some defendants face the challenge of very strong evidence against them. The victim's testimony may be corroborated by physical evidence, surveillance footage, or the testimony of independent witnesses. In these circumstances, an attorney's representation can mitigate the consequences of a sexual assault or rape conviction. For example, a conviction for rape or attempted rape requires lifetime sex offender registration. This is mandated by the California Penal Code, and judges have no discretion to shorten or omit sex offender registration in a particular rape case. Because of this, some defendants charged with rape may benefit from a prosecutor's offer to plead to a lesser offense with discretionary (or no) sex offender registration requirements. The decision to accept or reject a plea offer is, of course, complicated, and depends on many of the specific facts of your particular case.

An experienced attorney will be able to help defendants consider all of the pros and cons of a plea offer in order to make a well-informed decision about how to resolve their case. There are many "collateral consequences" to a conviction for a sexual crime, and it is important to consider all of them before deciding to accept or reject a plea offer. These often include the following:

  • Difficulty renting an apartment
  • Problems finding a job
  • Damage to your reputation in the community
  • Disqualification from certain types of employment
    • Experienced California Sex Crimes Attorneys Defending Allegations of Sexual Assault

      Many defendants find their lives permanently changed by the consequences of a sexual assault conviction. With the guidance of an experienced Los Angeles sex crimes attorney, defendants can invoke their right under the Constitution and California state law, and ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.

      The sooner an attorney becomes involved in your case, the better he or she will be able to protect you from illegal actions by law enforcement officers, investigators, and prosecutors. An experienced attorney will also be able to effectively advise defendants on the best method of mitigating both the collateral and direct consequences of a conviction for a sexual offense.

      Call (800) 755-5174 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles sexual assault lawyer. You can also contact us online.

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Prostitution

According to the Penal Code 647(b), any person who solicits accepts to engage in or engages in any act of prostitution in return to receive money or anything of value from the other person commits the crime of disorderly conduct.

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Lewd Acts

Soliciting or engaging in lewd acts in public place or a place in public view is a crime in California and the deviants are dealt harshly with punishments including jail time and monetary fines.

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Rape

Rape is one of the worst crime, and a citation for rape means that you are in the row for severe punishments. California has one of the strictest stances against rape and severely punishes the victim.

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Child Molestation

Child molestation laws are one of the strictest criminal laws in California and carry prison sentences for convicts.

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Sex Offender

If you have been convicted of a sex crime in California, you are required to register yourself as a sex offender even after completing your sentence.

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Sexual Battery

California Penal laws distinguish between the simple battery and sexual battery and have more severe punishments for the persons charged with sexual battery.

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Recent Results

  • Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

  • Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

  • Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

  • Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

  • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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