There was a time when a woman who was married to a man had no legal protections if the man refused to take “no” for an answer when it came to having sex. In fact, there are still some countries that abide by these rules, but in California, it doesn’t matter if a couple is married or not. If one person forces another to have sex, it is still rape although spousal rape charges are also often accompanied by charges of domestic violence. Spousal rape charges are rarely simple, which is why anyone accused of these crimes should immediately seek the assistance of a San Diego criminal lawyer.
The problem with spousal rape charges is that the victim and the defendant have such an intimate relationship with one another. It is easy to see how someone going through a major argument or even a divorce would have grounds to claim the other person raped them and while DNA evidence and a medical examination could show whether or not the couple had sex, it won’t be able to prove if the act was consensual. This is why it is so important to work with a San Diego sex crimes defense lawyer who has experience with these types of complex and emotionally devastating cases.
Like non-marital rape cases, these crimes do not need to be violent. If a husband takes advantage of his wife while she is passed out after a night of drinking, it is still considered rape. Unfortunately, these types of cases can be far more complex than other rape cases because the two people involved in the case usually live together. In some cases, the incident boils down to a simple misunderstanding. Because these cases are so emotionally-driven, it is critical you speak with a San Diego sex crimes attorney as soon as you find out you are being charged with this crime. Do not try to talk to your partner or the police as what you say or do could end up hurting your case later on.
The penalties for marital rape range from three to eight years in prison although that number could be increased by an additional three to five years if the rape resulted in great bodily harm to the victim. Additionally, those convicted for this crime will be forced to register as a sex offender if force or violence was used in the process of the rape.
There are ways to fight this charge, even if the physical evidence initially suggests you did have sex. If you have been accused of spousal rape, please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with San Diego criminal attorney Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Tim Dobbelaere