Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation removing California’s 10-year statute of limitations for bringing charges against someone for rape.
The legislation, specifically Senate Bill 813 (also known as the Justice for Victims Act), amended the California penal code so that specific sex crimes, including rape, forcible sodomy, and molestation of a child can be prosecuted, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred.
California has an array of laws and code provisions related to rape and other sex crimes including:
- Date Rape
- Statutory Rape (Penal Code 261.5 PC)
- Spousal Rape (Penal Code 262 PC)
The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017 and does not apply retroactively. This means that cases brought prior to January 1 cannot rely on the new law.
Other states have adopted similar modifications to their criminal codes. For example, Colorado doubled its statute from 10 years to 20 years, according to The Bottom Line. Nevada also extended its statute of limitations from four years to 20 years.
The Cosby Effect
Many believe that the sexual assault allegations against infamous comedian Bill Cosby inspired the California legislature to take action. In fact, Mr. Cosby’s accusers testified before the California Legislature in support of the bill. Mr. Cosby has denied the rape allegations arguing that his sexual encounters with the accusers were consensual.
Serious Ramifications from a Rape Conviction
If you or a loved one is charged with rape or another sex crime, you need to speak to an experienced Los Angeles sex crime defense attorney to explore your legal options. The penalties associated with a sex crime conviction are quite serious and have lifelong ramifications. For example, you could be subject to the following penalties:
- Three, six, or eight years in a California state prison (mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven years if the alleged victim was a minor)
- Large monetary fines
- Mandatory participation in a treatment program,
- Having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life
The requirement to register as a sex offender is where can have your life permanently altered. Quite often, if you are a registered sex offender, you will have an extremely difficult time finding employment or even finding a place to live since many apartment complexes and landlords may refuse to lease their property to a convicted sex offender.
Stand Up for Your Rights
Unfortunately, it is possible for someone to be mistakenly accused of rape. There are a variety of legal defenses that can help you defeat these serious charges including:
- You reasonably believed that the accuser consented to intercourse;
- Whatever physical contact took place, it fell short of actual intercourse;
- The accusations are fabricated; or
- You are the victim of mistaken identity.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers
The Law Office of Peter Berlin is dedicated to providing excellent service to our clients. If you are facing a sex crime charge, including rape, then you need to seek the legal aid of an experienced sex crime defense attorney. We offer a free initial consultation as well as 24/7 contact availability so that you may obtain legal advice at any time and without any financial commitment (310) 289-5418.