As unbelievable as it sounds, for a long time, California law did not recognize the fact that you could rape your spouse. Unfortunately, to this day, many people still think “It’s not rape if it’s with my spouse.”
It wasn’t until the late 1970s that California passed Penal Code 262, making it a crime to rape your spouse. Let’s explore this important spousal rape law.
What is Spousal Rape? (PC 262)
Under California Penal Code Section 262, spousal rape occurs when a man or woman engages in an act of nonconsensual sexual intercourse with his or her spouse.
To be convicted of spousal rape under PC 262, you must have accomplished the nonconsensual sexual intercourse by one of the following methods:
- By use of force
- By use of violence
- By duress, menace, or fear of bodily injury, where the act is accomplished by threatening future harm against your spouse or another person to coerce him or her into the act, and there is reasonable possibility the threat can be carried out
- When your spouse is unable to resist due to drugs, alcohol, or another intoxicating substance and you knew or reasonably should have known this
- When your spouse is unaware of the nature of the act due to being unconscious or asleep; or
- By use of fraudulent means
Punishment for Raping Your Spouse
The crime of spousal rape is a felony under PC 262. If you are convicted of spousal rape, you typically face 3, 6, or 8 years in state prison. You will also be required to register as a sex offender for life under PC 290 if you are convicted of spousal rape.
If you inflicted great bodily injury to your spouse during the act of committing the crime, an additional five years could be added to your sentence for spousal rape.
Additionally, spousal rape by force, fear or threat of death counts as a strike on your criminal record under California Three Strikes law. Under this law, if you are convicted of a second strike, your sentence could be doubled. If it is your third strike, you could face 25 years to life in prison.
Contact Our Rape Defense Attorneys Today if You are Accused of Raping Your Spouse
Spousal rape is a serious crime that carries penalties that could impact you for the rest of your life. That is why you should not hesitate to contact an experienced rape defense attorney if you are accused of raping your spouse.
Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients accused of rape and other sex-related crimes for more than 35 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, our experienced rape defense attorneys are available near you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.