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Criminal defense: Rape laws

Charges involving sex crimes are often aggressively prosecuted and can carry a significant stigma in the community. It's normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do first when you find out that you are being charged with rape or sexual assault. The legal wording used in the California penal codes can also cause confusion for some defendants, but understanding exactly what you have been charged with is the first step to proceeding with a defense.

Rape is one of the most serious of the possible sex crimes charges. The California penal code includes situations where the other party was unconscious at the time of the incident in its definition of rape, presuming the defendant was aware that the party was not conscious. The phrasing "unconscious of the nature of the act" is used in the law, and this can apply to several different circumstances.

Situations that could be factors in a rape charge include if the other party was asleep at the time of the alleged act or if the other party was "not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant." This can also be applied to consensual sex cases where the defendant is accused of misrepresenting the act as serving a professional purpose.

Every case is different, and the particulars surrounding cases of rape or sexual assault are extremely important. Even seemingly minor details can be the difference between an acquittal or a conviction. One of the best things you can do for your defense is to be honest and forthcoming with your legal counsel so they can help you navigate your case.

Source: FindLaw, "CAL. PEN. CODE § 261 : California Code - Section 261," accessed May. 01, 2015

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