Were you charged with rape?

Rape Defense Lawyers

If you’ve been charged, our experienced team can help you.

ABC News Logo
NBC Logo
Fox News Logo
CBS News logo
NewsNation Logo
Court TV Logo
Home » Sex Crimes Lawyer » Rape Defense Lawyer

California Rape Defense Attorney – Penal Code 261 PC

Are You Looking For A Rape Lawyer?

If you are ever charged with rape in California, then talk with an experienced sex crimes lawyer right away. They can help ensure you understand and make the most of your legal rights, including how to avoid getting convicted and imprisoned. My Rights Law has effectively defended many in California that have been accused of sex crimes, including serious felonies. We will fight for you.

For more information, reach out to an experienced rape defense lawyer at My Rights Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 702-8882 or leave us a message on our secure web form.

The accusation of rape[1] is one of the most offensive and atrocious accusations there is out there. If an officer arrests you for rape, you may feel your world is ending. What makes it even worse is that, typically, it is hard to get rid of this accusation once it is out there. The news tends to post pictures of people accused of rape, and a news reporter tends to interview alleged victims. After this interview, public opinion rests on the victim’s side, and society vilifies you regardless of the truth. Well before a conviction might happen, you can be forced out of school if you’re a student or asked to turn in your notice of resignation if you are employed.

Society will almost always believe the alleged victim. Although we do not condone victim-shaming or discrediting a victim, we also acknowledge that some accusers are dishonest. When a false accusation arises, you are left defending yourself against your accuser, social media, the news, and public opinion. In other words, you may lose everything before a finding of guilty or not guilty. Once you’re found guilty in a court of public opinion, sadly, this might be enough to sway a judge or jury to convict you in criminal court.

Reasons Why False Accusations Are Made

Various studies show that a significant fraction of rape allegations are false reports[2]. That’s roughly 46,363 people (mostly men) who suffer a wrongful conviction’s shame, criminal charges, and potential prison time. Cases where a judge or jury convicts someone of rape receive far less attention for review than cases where a judge or jury convicts someone of murder. For example, between 1989 and 2012, only 52 men were exonerated after serving time for a false accusation, according to The National Registry of Exoneration. So, this leaves us wondering, why would anyone make a false report about something as serious as rape?


If you’re facing a rape accusation and have no idea how you’ve gotten here, rest assured that you aren’t alone. Plenty of people wonder how and where this allegation arises. What would make someone say this about you? It can be confusing when it comes from someone you were dating. You may ask yourself, “Did I misunderstand something? Did I go too far? Did I misread the body language?” The reality is that the intercourse between you and your (former) partner could’ve been consensual, but now they’re accusing you of rape as an act of revenge.

Picture this. You and Barbara have been off and on for months, and you’re still on the fence about marrying her. One night, you get drunk and snuggle up with another woman you’d met earlier at a local library. You go as far as posting pictures to your social media of you and this new woman. Barbara sees the posts and becomes so enraged that she invites you over to “work things out.” After a night of consensual sex, she immediately calls the police and says you raped her.

Or how about this scenario? You and Kenny met online and exchanged a few private messages. You meet up and sleep together a few times. You wanted to have an open relationship and only date casually. Kenny wanted monogamy. You decide that you and Kenny aren’t a good fit for each other, and you delete him from your dating profile. Kenny becomes so furious that he says you raped him.

In both scenarios, the alleged victim made a false accusation to punish you. You should know that proving your innocence can be an uphill battle if this happens to you. Therefore, you should consult with expert criminal defense attorneys specializing in rape-accusation defense. The attorneys at My Rights Law are a compassionate team who will fight aggressively to prove your innocence and protect your freedoms.


Sometimes, a person will lie about being raped to conceal an affair from her spouse. As dramatic as it might sound, it happens. An affair may seem like fun and games until the woman you’re sleeping with becomes afraid that her spouse will divorce her and take the children, or she’s regretful of her actions and wants to do anything in her power to protect her reputation. Recently, a woman in Virginia pleaded guilty to lying about being raped for this very reason—she wanted to salvage her marriage and cover up her affair. A teenager may even lie about being raped because she’s ashamed to tell her parents how she became pregnant.

Mental Illness

Your accuser may make a false accusation of rape because the person has a mental illness. This illness can put them in momentary delusion where they genuinely believe actions have happened that have not occurred in reality.

False Memories

Accusers don’t always act maliciously. Sometimes, someone, perhaps a psychologist or a parent, has given your accuser false memories. These false memories paint you as a predator. It’s not always known why people would convince others that you victimized them. But it has happened. Still, society finds the concept of false memories hard to believe. However, the truth is that false beliefs have victimized countless people. These false beliefs can all but destroy your life and theirs. Authors Eleanor Goldstein and Kevin Farmer documented a phenomenon in the 1990s where many psychologists across America gave their patients false memories about sexual abuse and rape.

Personal Profit

Sometimes, your accuser may accuse you of rape so that you feel pressured into silencing the person with money. Let’s say that you’re a big-name business owner, someone famous on social media, or anyone who has a fair share of money and a high-paying career. It’s not uncommon for alleged victims to scheme to get money from people who have a lot to lose.

Elements Of Rape

Whenever the state says that you have committed a criminal offense, you must learn the elements of that crime. A misdemeanor or felony can have elements. Elements are specific. If one element is missing, your actions do not fit the crime. If the circumstances of your case do not match the language of the rape elements, either the prosecutor must reduce the charge to a lesser offense or dismiss the case against you. If you have gone to trial and your defense attorney raises a reasonable doubt that the state met its burden of proof on proving that each element occurred, the jury should find you not guilty.

In General

For the state to successfully charge you with rape, a prosecutor must show that:

  • You engaged in non-consensual intercourse through force, fraud, or threats, or
  • You engaged in non-consensual intercourse when the other person was incapable of giving consent.

The alleged victim may say they felt coerced into sleeping with you because you threatened to hurt them or someone they love. But let’s suppose that you’re a doctor, and you told a patient that they could only recover if they took an antidote that you could only pass through to them through sexual intercourse. Although the sex may seem consensual, it amounts to rape because you resorted to fraudulent manipulation. A person may be incapable of giving consent due to a physical or mental impairment, intoxication, or unconsciousness.

Date Rape

There are some misconceptions about the term “date rape.” Some people believe that it refers to when a person slips a sedative into their date’s drink. The definition is a bit broader than that. For the state to successfully charge you with date rape, a prosecutor must show that:

  • You engaged in non-consensual intercourse.
  • You were dating or spending time with this person before the act occurred.

Spousal Rape

Today, California can bring a rape charge against you even if the alleged victim is your spouse. This rape is sometimes called marital rape[3]. For the state to successfully charge you with spousal rape, a prosecutor must show that:

  • You engaged in non-consensual intercourse with your spouse.
  • You engaged in non-consensual intercourse by means of force, fraud, or threat.

Note that the marital rape statute in California was repealed in 2021[4] , and marital rape is now prosecuted exactly as other forms of rape are.

Penalties For Rape

Rape is a felony offense. If the state brings a rape charge against you, you’re at risk of harsh penalties. A judge can sentence you to prison for up to eight years. A judge may sentence you to felony probation for eight years in rarer cases. If the victim suffered a great bodily injury during the rape, a judge could add another three to five years to your eight-year sentence. Great bodily injury is a severe injury, such as a concussion or broken bones. Bear in mind that, unlike other enhancement sentences judges tend to add, you can’t serve this enhancement concurrently; you must serve it consecutively.

Another serious penalty is that you’ll have to register as a sex offender. In California, there is a three-tier system for sex offender registration. Offenders in the first tier will have to register for ten years unless they commit another offense—then you may move to the second tier. Offenders in the second tier will have to register for twenty years, and offenders in the third tier will register for a lifetime. A rape case conviction automatically places you in tier two or three.

Because rape is a felony offense, you can’t get it expunged from your criminal record. Having to register as a sex offender and having a felony on your record are significant blocks to your education, career, and housing. Many security jobs, government jobs, and childcare jobs won’t hire you if you have to register. Most landlords run a background check, and most landlords are required to deny applications from people who are registered sex offenders.

Defenses For Rape

False Accusation

Some people lie for various reasons. Whenever someone accuses you of any crime, you can argue that it’s untrue. A common case where someone falsely accuses you of committing rape is when you break up with your partner. For example, suppose that your ex does not want to break up and is angry that you would like to see others. On the other hand, imagine that your ex breaks it off because you were cheating throughout your relationship. In either scenario, your ex-partner can become so angry that the next thing you know, police are knocking at your door and ready to put you in handcuffs. Sadly, some people will go this far just to get revenge.

Mistaken Identity

Not every rape case occurs between people who know each other. Rapists have worn masks and broken into victims’ homes or attacked pedestrians while they were out on a morning or midnight jog. Thus, the victims never got to see the face of the rapist. In this case, mistaken identity may be a viable defense. Your attorney can use your location during the time of the rape, character witnesses, and lack of your DNA to prove you are not the perpetrator.


An obvious defense to any rape allegation is that the sexual intercourse was consensual[5]. Whether it took place as a one-night stand or within a relationship, you can always argue that you and the alleged victim had sex voluntarily. Statements, such as you two texting each other that they were coming over to have sex or proof that you two have engaged in intercourse before, might help prove that this encounter was consensual. Here, it’s important to add that at no point did the alleged victim say, “No,” “Stop,” “Wait,” or communicate that they were disinterested or unwilling to have sex.

California Rape Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with rape in CA, you ought to speak with a criminal defense attorney for guidance. My Rights Law is here when you need us. To learn more about how we can help you avoid a conviction, get in touch with a rape lawyer at My Rights Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 702-8882 or by using our secure online form.

Other sex crime charges we defend include: child pornography and indecent exposure

[1] California Penal Code 261
[2] U.S. Department of Justice
[3] California Penal Code 262
[4] California Assembly Bill 1171
[5] CalCrim 1000

We’re On Your Side Free Consultation

(888) 702-8882