Allaye Chan Law
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Rape Crimes & Charges

What is Rape Under California Law?

Sacramento is a major city and county in Northern California that has a significant rate of sex crimes. People from all walks of life can be accused of rape. Allaye Chan Law is a law firm of experienced Sacramento criminal defense lawyers. Richard Chan previously worked for the prosecution and understand the nuances of rape charges, including the stigma a conviction carries. We are prepared to use our detailed knowledge of prosecution tactics to vigorously defend clients accused of rape from investigation through to trial.

The legal definition of “rape” is provided under California Penal Code section 261, which was codified in 1872. “Rape” refers to instances when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with a person not his or her spouse against his or her will. The subsections of the statute detail a number of specific circumstances that can lead to a rape charge:

  • The alleged victim is unable to give consent due to a known disability, intoxication or unconsciousness;
  • The individual uses violence or physical force;
  • The individual takes advantage of the alleged victim’s fear of being hurt or retaliated against;
  • The individual uses certain types of fraud; or
  • The individual pretends to be the spouse of a married victim.

If you have been arrested or contacted by a law enforcement officer or detective in Sacramento or the surrounding areas, call our office right away for a consultation. At Allaye Chan Law our Sacramento criminal defense attorneys take a team approach to your legal problem. Rest assured that you are in good hands.

Potential Legal Defenses

Someone accused of rape faces the potential for serious punishment within the criminal justice system, as well as the social stigma that being associated with a sex crime carries. Whatever the circumstances of the rape someone is charged with, only a criminal defense attorney with significant sex crimes case experience can determine what the best possible defense strategy would be.

If you are accused, possible defenses include challenging a victim’s credibility or memory, or challenging the procedure used to obtain evidence against you. As to the former, it may be possible to show that the alleged victim is mentally imbalanced or lying. As to the latter, if the police did not conduct a proper search or did not read you your Miranda rights, there may be constitutional defenses available. Some alleged victims do not express in the moment that they are not consenting to sex or in fact engage in consensual sex. When they regret it later, they accuse their sex partner of rape. An experienced attorney can help determine if that scenario is applicable to your case.

The credibility of the accuser or accusers can play an important part in the defense and may affect whether or not the case makes it to a jury. For example, in one 2011 alleged rape case in San Francisco, a lawyer placed a personal ad looking for women who were interested in rough sex. The series of events that followed led to felony rape and other sex crimes charges against him. However, there were notable inconsistencies between a video he had made and the accusers’ testimony. As a result, the judge dismissed most of the charges against him.


If you are convicted of rape, a judge may sentence you to 3, 6, or 8 years in California State Prison. If the alleged victim was a minor, the judge may impose a minimum sentence of 7 years and a maximum sentence of 13 years. Or if the alleged victim sustained “great bodily injury,” you may face an additional 3-6 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

A rape conviction can count as a strike under California’s Three Strikes law. The judge may also require that you register for your entire life as a sex offender. If you are convicted and must register as a sex offender, you are required to provide the authorities with a DNA sample. On top of these legal penalties, the social consequences include difficulty finding work or housing, or disciplinary action by professional organizations to which you belong.

If you have been accused of rape, criminal defense attorney in Sacramento Richard Chan can assist you. We have successfully defended many sex crimes charges and will use our experience and knowledge as seasoned criminal defense attorneys and former prosecutors to defend you and restore your reputation. We want to hear your side of the story and will work hard to safeguard your life and reputation. For a confidential consultation, call our Sacramento office at (916) 446-4400 or contact us online.

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