California law makes it illegal to personally commit rape while someone is assisting in the rape, or to voluntarily assist someone who is committing rape. 

This is commonly known as “gang rape,” and under California law, it is referred to as “Rape act in concert.” As you might imagine, the penalties for gang rape in California are extremely steep. It is punishable by up to 14 years in prison for each count for rape act in concert, in addition to any penalties you face for rape itself.

If you or someone you love has been accused of rape act in concert, it is important to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your future depends on it.

What is ‘Rape act in concert?’

“Robert Helfend is one of the best criminal defense attorneys I’ve ever worked with. He was so knowledgeable, and always made sure I understood everything every step of the way.” Pat, CA

Under California Penal Code 264.1, prosecutors can apply rape act in concert charges in cases of rape, spousal rape or forceable penetration by a foreign object. Rape act in concert can happen in one of two ways:

  1. You personally committed rape while someone else assisted in the rape.
  2. You “aided and abetted” someone else who committed forceable rape.

“Aiding and abetting” means that you helped someone commit the crime. In order to show that you aided and abetted a rape, the prosecutor will have to prove that:

  1. You knew the perpetrator planned to commit the rape.
  2. You intended to help him or her carry out the crime.
  3. You assisted, encouraged or facilitated the commission of the crime, either through your words or actions.

Penalties for gang rape in California

As we mentioned above, the penalties for gang rape in California are quite steep. It is always charged as a felony, and the maximum penalty depends on the age of the victim.

  • If the victim was an adult over 18: 9 years in California State Prison
  • If the victim was a minor between 14 and 18: 11 years
  • If the victim was under 14: 14 years

These penalties are applied in addition to any other punishments you might face around the rape act itself. A conviction of rape act in concert will also require you to register as a tier-three lifetime sex offender. 

Defenses against gang rape charges

A conviction for gang rape charges can mean the loss of your freedom for the next several decades of your life. Not to mention, once released, you will face the hardship presented by mandatory registration as a tier-three sex offender.

However, a defense attorney who is skilled in sex crimes cases can help safeguard your freedom. The prosecutor must prove that you meant to aid and abet in the crime, and a defense attorney can carefully comb through the facts of your case to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments.

Robert M. Helfend is a SuperLawyers and National Trial Lawyers Top 100 rated attorney who specializes in sex crimes cases. He has practiced in the Los Angeles area since 1984. Call today for your free case evaluation — 800-834-6434.