Rape falls under the category of sexual assault and when people think of rape, nonconsensual sexual intercourse committed by physical force comes to mind. However, in California, less obvious circumstances can lead to rape charges. And now, even tougher legislation has been passed in reaction to the lenient sentencing of Brock Turner, the former Stanford student-athlete who was given six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
Expansion of Legal Definition of Rape
California's rape statute broadly defines rape and spousal rape as acts of sexual intercourse done under specified circumstances where there is a lack of consent, force, or duress. Additionally, the law makes other behaviors, including such things as sodomy or sexual intercourse with a minor unlawful as sexual assault.
In September, 2016, California expanded its legal definition of rape even further. According to Assembly Bill No. 701, all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault may now be considered rape “for purposes of the gravity of the offense and the support of survivors.”
Mandated Prison Time
Prior to September 2016, the existing California law regarding punishments,  stated that, in most cases, judges must impose prison sentences (terms of 3, 6 or 8 years) for those convicted of rape or sexual assault. The prison sentence can increase when:
- The defendant acted together with another person to rape the victim;
- The victim is a minor who is older than fourteen years of age (sentences of 7, 9, or 11 years); or
- The rape victim is a child who is younger than fourteen (sentences of 9, 11, or 13 years).
However, in cases involving victims who were unconscious or heavily intoxicated, judges could opt for a lesser punishment, like Brock Turner's six-month jail term.
In response to this lesser punishment, in September 2016, California's governor signed Assembly Bill No. 2888. AB 2888 mandates prison sentences for those convicted in sexual assault cases, including the times when victims are unconscious or too intoxicated to consent.
Sex Offender Registry
In addition to the punishment for rape that includes prison time and fines, California's Sex Offender Registration Act  requires that people found guilty of certain sexual crimes, including specific instances of statutory rape, are required to register as sex offenders. Sex offenders must register for the rest of their life while residing in California. In fact, the California Sex Offender Registry  is responsible for adding offenders and is now maintaining a database containing over 120,000 sex offenders.
Contact the Kann California Defense Group
Regardless of the circumstances, if you have been accused of rape in Ventura, Encino, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, or Los Angeles, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney proficient in California sex crimes defense can often examine and discredit the accusations before the prosecuting attorney even files formal charges. If however charges are filed, a skilled attorney knows the legal defenses that can help you beat a rape charge. Contact the knowledgable team of attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group for assistance. Call our toll-free number 888-744-7730 today or use our online contact form.
 California's rape statute
 Assembly Bill No. 701
 California law regarding punishments
 Assembly Bill No. 2888
 California's Sex Offender Registration Act
 California Sex Offender Registry