A new bill has recently been approved in the State Assembly that will increase the penalties faced by those who rape those who the state considers unable to provide legal consent for themselves. The bill, AB1335, must still be approved by the State Senate and the Governor before it becomes law, but given how little resistance it faced in the Assembly, it will likely sail through those two approval junctions as well. Here’s what the law will mean for potential offenders, according to top Vista criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss.
The current law adds an extra one year sentencing enhancement to those convicted of raping someone over the age of 65 or under the age of 14. If the person has already been convicted of a similar crime, the enhancement is increased to two years. Under the new bill, if the victim is blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, a paraplegic, or a quadriplegic, those same sentencing enhancements will apply.
There is one critical distinction in the law that can be used by Vista criminal defense lawyers in their defense during these cases: the law does specify that the defendant must have known or should reasonably have known that the person had a disability. That means that if the attack was random, occurred while the victim was asleep, or if the victim hides his or her disability, the sentencing enhancements might not apply although the defendant will still face rape charges regardless of whether or not the victim is disabled.
This is yet again a reason to refuse to speak to the police until you have contacted your Vista criminal defense attorney. If the bill passes and you are accused of raping someone and admit that you knew he or she was disabled, then you will automatically be facing an enhanced sentence in court.
If you have any questions about how this bill could impact you or someone you know, or if you are being charged with any sex crime, please contact Vista criminal attorney Peter M. Liss. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling (760) 643-4050.
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