In rape-related cases, they need to prove some sort of sexual intercourse between the person they're charging and another individual. They also need to prove that sexual intercourse was not consensual – meaning the other person did not agree to it. Typically, we're going to need to see some sort of force on the part of the person being accused of raping another individual.
One area where rape gets a little tricky is I see a lot of cases, especially recently, where the person who is purportedly being raped is allegedly unconscious, meaning they're asleep, had too much alcohol, and they've had drugs.
Maybe they were date-raped, where some sort of GHB was used, or other intoxicants caused them to be unconscious, and then they were raped. This makes it much more difficult to prove the case because a lot of time, people are going on internet dates, they're drinking, they're using drugs, they're both having sex and what started off as something consensual.
The alleged victim is now claiming that they did not want to have sex, and the other party went too far, but no one's taking not account the fact the other party was intoxicated as well and thought they were given consent to have sex with the other person.
Those charged with California Penal Code 261 rape face prison time, a strike on their record, and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender. You want to get an attorney with much experience defending these cases.
That would be my first piece of advice to you. I've been doing this now for 30 years. I've worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. I've also worked for a superior court judge in LA County, so I know how these cases are handled from their perspective. Also, and probably most importantly, I've defended rape cases since the early 1990s as a criminal defense attorney.
Preparing a Game Plan
I suggest picking up the phone. Make a call. Please set up a meeting with me to review the best game plan for your case. To give you an idea of some of the considerations, we're going to look into the following:
- We want to decide whether this is the type of case you want to fight and take through a preliminary hearing and then to a jury trial; or
- Whether this is the case where the government has evidence against you, and we want to try to mitigate the situation, tell your side of the story, and work out a resolution with the prosecutors.
That, to me, is step #1 because whenever you're on an important journey to get the best possible result, you want to ensure that your roadmap is headed in the right direction.
Crucial Factors for Discussion
Some of the things we're going to discuss are the following crucial factors:
- Can the prosecutors meet the elements of the crimes you are charged with?
- We look at the jury instructions. We know what they have to prove;
- Then you and I sit down and discuss the case's facts and circumstances;
- We have to look at what evidence they have against you; and
- What they're claiming that you did and talk about your side of the story so we can see if a defense can be mounted for you.
Once we decide whether to fight or mitigate the case, we will take the necessary steps to get you the desired result.
Preparing a Mitigation Package
Suppose we decide to mitigate the case because the prosecutors have the evidence against you. In that case, we will get a 288.1 report, defined under California Penal Code 288.1 PC.
PC 288.1 says, “Any person convicted of committing any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes provided for in Part 1 of this code upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child under the age of 14 years shall not have his or her sentence suspended until the court obtains a report from a reputable psychiatrist, from a reputable psychologist who meets the standards outlined in Section 1027, as to the mental condition of that person.”
This is where a psychiatrist or psychologist evaluates you to see the following:
- Whether or not you are a danger to the community,
- To see if you would be a recidivist and do something like this again; and
- To seek a treatment plan the court can impose instead of sending you to prison for a long time.
Once we have that in hand, we can also get character letters. We can also look at other facts and circumstances that might help you.
That's where I come in because I will write a letter outlining potential issues that can help us. For example, there are problems with proof in the case.
Negotiating with Prosecutors
That would be something to outline for the prosecutors because that is something they consider when deciding how to resolve the case.
So if they have a chance to lose the case at a jury trial, that's obviously going to be a factor that will bear on them when deciding how to resolve the case.
I will typically meet with the supervisor responsible for your case and try to get you a resolution that you and I discussed based on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.
Penal Code 261 PC rape is a severe charge. Depending on how violent the crime was, whether there was any sophistication involved, whether the victim was conscious or not – these are all factors that are going to be considered in conjunction with your criminal record and any other factors that make sense as they relate to you and your future dangerousness to the public.
If you need the best, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.