Rape Case Outrage Leads to Mandatory Prison Sentences

News outlets throughout the world carried extensive coverage of the notorious rape case involving a Stanford student and unconscious victim. Outrage erupted during the sentencing phase of the criminal trial, when the judge issued what was perceived as an extremely lenient sentence for a violent sex crime. Lawmakers responded quickly by proposing a new law that regarding sentencing in such cases: As the L.A. Times reported in early September 2016, the law passed, requiring mandatory prison time for those convicted of rape under certain circumstances. If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, here’s what you need to know about potential sentences and other criminal penalties.

Criminal Penalties for Sexual Assault Laws

Criminal Penalties for a Rape Conviction: In general, the conviction for a sex crime depends on how the prosecuting attorney presses charges, i.e., misdemeanor sexual battery or the more serious crime of felony sexual battery. A misdemeanor might result in a prison sentence up to six months and fine of $2,000. A conviction of felony sexual battery could lead to a sentence of up to four years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

As it relates to the Stanford rape case, California law at the time did not require a mandatory jail sentence when the victim was unconscious or unable to consent due intoxication. This new measure would apply the same penalties as a rape case involving additional physical force, which mandates time in prison.

California Sex Offender Registration Requirements: Regardless of whether a sex crime is charged as a felony or the lesser offense of a misdemeanor, you may be required to register as a sex offender under California law. When your name is entered into the national database after registration, you will be tracked by various government agencies – including across state lines. In California, you must register with your local law enforcement authorities upon your release from prison. Plus, you’ll need to report annually within five days of your birthday to update any change of address or other information.

Defenses to Counter Rape Claims

In a sex crimes case, it’s possible to use consent as a defense. A prosecutor must prove that the assault was against the will of the victim and, if he or she consented, there is no rape. The matter of consent became a controversial issue in the Stanford rape case because of the argument that an unconscious person cannot consent to an act of a sexual nature. It’s important to note that, in the case of a minor, there is no ability to consent, so the defense would not apply.

In San Diego, the consequences for a rape conviction are severe, especially the requirement to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Still, there are defenses to rape charges that can result in dismissal or reduced penalties. You need an attorney with extensive experience in representing criminal defendants to help you present your case. Please contact a qualified criminal defense attorney in San Diego who can represent you in California criminal court and obtain the best possible result.

Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr. #22
San Diego, CA,
92108