If you or someone you love has been accused of date rape, it is important to speak with a defense attorney as soon as possible.

Rape allegations are damaging. Even if no criminal charges are filed, being labeled a date rapist can lead to professional and personal repercussions. You can lose friendships, professional opportunities, income and more.

It’s important to seek out a criminal defense attorney who is skilled in handling sex crimes cases. They can help you navigate this stressful time, and they will carefully examine the details of your case to build the best defense possible.

What is date rape?

los angeles criminal defense lawyer“Date rape” refers to a situation where a person has non-consensual sexual intercourse with someone they:

  • Are or were dating, or
  • Were voluntarily spending time with.

Date rape cases are prosecuted under Penal Code 261 PC, which is California’s rape law. In order to convict you of rape, the prosecutor must prove:

  1. You had sex with the alleged victim. 
  2. That you were not married at the time.
  3. That the other person did not consent.
  4. This was accomplished through either “threats, force or fraud,” or the alleged victim was otherwise unconscious or unable to consent.

Let’s look at two examples:

Example 1: Mark and Lisa have been dating for years. One night they go out for drinks, and Lisa drinks past the point of intoxication. They return to their apartment, where Lisa passes out on the bed. Mark undresses her and begins having sex with her. Even though the couple has an established sexual history and even though Lisa voluntarily drank past the point of intoxication, she lost the ability to consent when she fell unconscious. Every instance of sexual intercourse must be consensual under California law, so Mark could be guilty of rape.

Example 2: David and Cindy are out for drinks on their first date. When Cindy excuses herself to the restroom, David drugs her drink. She later “blacks out” and returns with David to his apartment, where he has sex with her. Because this was a case of “involuntary intoxication,” this almost certainly is rape.

Penalties for date rape

Date rape is prosecuted as a felony in California, punishable by:

  • Three, six or eight years in California State Prison
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • A strike on your record, pursuant to California’s three strikes law

If convicted, you’ll likely also be required to register as a tier-three lifetime sex offender. This means you will have to re-register with your local police department on an annual basis and anytime you change your address for the rest of your life.

Appearing on California’s sex offender registry is often more of a burden than the prison sentence itself. It can lead to loss of professional licensure (for doctors, nurses and engineers), and we often hear stories of it causing issues with finding housing and work.

Defenses against date rape

“Robert really came to my rescue! I found myself under false accusations and he really came through. I was really freaking out, and Robert was able to make me feel like I was in good hands. I can’t recommend his services enough.”Drew, CA

Date rape allegations are serious, but the good news is that there are defenses on your side.

Criminal defense attorneys who are skilled in sex crimes cases know how to examine the facts of a date rape case and uncover details that can help get your charges reduced or see them dismissed outright. This can be a nervous and anxious time, but a good attorney will help bring you peace of mind.

Robert M. Helfend is a SuperLawyers rated defense attorney who specializes in sex crimes cases. He has practiced criminal defense in the Los Angeles area since 1984, securing thousands of favorable judgments for his clients in that time. Call today for your free case evaluation — 800-834-6434.