California’s laws on spousal rape may change soon. Currently, California Penal Code 262 PC defines spousal rape as a separate criminal offense from rape. They both involve nonconsensual penetrative sex acts, but the only difference is that with spousal rape, the victim is the aggressor’s spouse. If you are facing criminal charges for spousal rape, contact the Ventura criminal defense lawyers at David Lehr Law.

Spousal Rape

Rape is the most serious form of sexual assault; it involves both penetration and physical coercion. Most states say that rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between the attacker and the victim; in fact, most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. In about 10% of reported rape cases in California, the attacker is the victim’s husband. Therefore, it gets charged as a different crime, with less severe penalties.

Until the new law passes, California is one of only 11 states where spousal rape is legally different from other kinds of rape. Here are some ways that spousal rape is and is not different from other rape charges according to California law:

  • Charges of spousal rape only apply if the attacker and the victim are legally married to each other, not unmarried domestic partners
  • You can go to prison for spousal rape, but the judge has the option to sentence you to probation instead of jail or prison
  • For non-spousal rape convictions, the sentence always involves incarceration, without the probation option
  • Spousal rape convictions do not require you to register as a sex offender, but many less violent sex crimes do require it
  • Critics say that spousal rape laws are outdated, and rape is just as bad when the rapist is your spouse as when he is a stranger

Whether or not spousal rape should be treated differently from rape where the attacker and the victim are not married to each other, one thing is certain: Spousal rape is a form of domestic violence. If your spouse accuses you of spousal rape, the court system will treat you as if there is reason to believe that you are a perpetrator of domestic violence. The standard of evidence to convict someone of spousal rape is high, so your lawyer can help you avoid a criminal conviction even if the family court considers you an abuser.

If you plead not guilty to spousal rape, you will have the opportunity to cast doubt on the prosecution’s version of events. Your Ventura criminal defense lawyer will help you find the best defense to use. These are some common defenses that might be used by defendants facing criminal charges for spousal rape:

  • The incident that your spouse alleges was rape was a consensual sexual encounter. Your spouse later claimed it was rape because she was angry at you for some other reason.
  • The incident that your spouse alleges was rape never occurred at all. Now that your divorce has turned acrimonious, your spouse fabricated the story to discredit you.
  • The police or prosecution violated your rights during the investigation or trial, such as by coercing you into a confession or not letting you consult a defense lawyer.

The best defense against criminal charges for spousal rape is to exercise your constitutional right to be represented by a defense lawyer, and the best defense lawyers in Ventura are at the Law Offices of David Lehr.

If you have been charged with 

spousal rape, call 805-477-0070.  

We can provide you with a free case review.

The information on this page is accurate as of June 2021, but California laws on spousal rape may change in the near future. Regardless of when you visit this web page, it is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice within the context of an attorney/client relationship. The Ventura, California criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of David Lehr will do everything possible to help you get a desirable outcome for your case, but no lawyer can honestly guarantee that you will be acquitted or will be offered a plea deal.

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