Rape / Statutory Rape

About Rape / Statutory Rape:

California rape laws have many layers that can be complicated if not understood.

California Penal Code Section 261 (general definition of non-spousal rape)

California Penal Code Section 261.5 (definition of statutory rape)

California Penal Code Section 262 (definition of spousal rape)

California Penal Code Section 264 (punishments for rape crimes)

Rape cases are hardly ever open and shut. The factors involved can be numerous and affect the way a case is handled. Facing allegations of rape can immediately discredit a person in the community, regardless of guilt. Even though the judicial system operates under a strict policy of innocent until proven guilty, the time before acquittal can leave you feeling hopeless and unheard. If you’re facing date rape charges, Jamie Harris can help.

Anyone accused of rape deserves the representation of an impartial and experienced defense attorney. Many cases involving rape include several accounts of hearsay. In some cases, it may be your word against an alleged victim’s. Regardless of evidence, a case that is taken out of context can construe a damaging picture of the defendant and lead to life-altering repercussions.

The Law Office of Jamie N. Harris is dedicated to protecting your rights and making sure that your side of the story is heard. Jamie Harris has a background in defense and prosecution, so she knows how to approach cases from every angle. By working in partnership with our clients, she can act as compassionate advocate who has the high level of expertise needed to ensure a successful outcome.


What if my allegation involves drugs or alcohol?

Rape is commonly associated with drugs that are slipped into a victim’s beverage or food without his or her knowing (“Date Rape”). The offense does not have to involve drugs, however.  Rape can occur when anyone is under the influence of alcohol or is medicated beyond the point of consent.

Since certain rape allegations require the presence of intoxicants, part of the prosecution’s job is to secure evidence of drugs or alcohol in the victim’s system or in the possession of the defendant. Rape allegations involving alcohol or drugs can become difficult to prosecute if a victim waits to have a medical examination or to bring allegations. However, a case that excludes this evidence can still present difficulties that will require hiring an attorney.

Proving Consent

Maybe you did have sex with the complainant, but it was consensual. The allegations may come as a shocking surprise. Always be careful with consensual sexual activities if alcohol or drugs are involved. A partner’s “yes” may not be legally valid in these instances. However, merely having consensual sex is not illegal.

Many rape cases stem from preexisting relationships, romantic or otherwise. Errors in communication can be a legitimate defense, and the context surrounding the case is often carefully evaluated to determine legal consent. “Date rapes” are stereotypically thought of as college campus offenses, but can occur between strangers, coworkers, and spouses, too.

You may feel that the laws are not on your side in a rape case. Rape allegations have been known to be fabricated. They may be a product of the complainant’s regret, or else the need for revenge or attention. The laws are intended to protect the innocent and punish the guilty, but rape cases often walk a fine line when it comes to consent. Protect yourself and your rights by consulting with Jamie Harris who is well versed in the rape laws of California.

What should you do if you suspect you are being accused?

Consider speaking calling Jamie Harris right away. It is vital that your case be evaluated fully from the start. Since many rape cases, including date rape, may hinge on what your memory, contacting an attorney soon can provide protection from misinformation. Jamie Harris always provides free initial consultations to help you understand what you may be facing.


Statutory Rape

Under California Penal Code 261.5 PC, a “statutory rape” takes place when any person engages in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of eighteen (18).1 The crime of statutory rape is also commonly referred to as “unlawful sex with a minor”…or as “unlawful sexual intercourse.”

Crimes against children are certainly a serious matter which are not taken lightly by South Carolina law enforcement and court officials. Sexual contact with a minor, even if both parties consented to the act, is considered a serious offense. If this activity is suspected, a statutory rape charge may be filed if the minor is below the state’s legal age of consent.

Statutory rape is defined as sexual relations with an individual who is not of age to give consent. While rape charges are typically associated with forced sexual activity, statutory rape does not have a force requirement.

The charges for statutory rape can range from misdemeanors to felonies, and the punishments associated with a conviction also vary in their severity. The level at which the offense is categorized is typically determined by the age of the victim, the age of the perpetrator and any other contributing factors deemed relevant to the case. Punishments may include a mandatory jail or prison sentence, fines, court ordered treatment and may require registration on the Sex Offender Registry.

A statutory rape charge often presents with a unique set of challenges that must be handled in a delicate way. Jamie Harris will assist in successfully fighting these allegations, or work toward minimizing the severity of any punishment handed down if a conviction is ultimately secured.

Our Attorneys In This Area:

Jamie N. Harris
Jamie N. Harris

Senior Lawyer