Can a Rape Victim Drop Charges? (PC 261)
Rape cases are often “he-said/she-said” circumstances where the only evidence against the defendant is the word of the alleged victim. Even in cases that don’t come down to “he-said/she-said,” the alleged victim’s statements are important pieces of evidence.
So, what happens when an alleged victim wants to take back his or her allegations of rape? Can the alleged victim have rape charges dropped?
Recanting Your Statements (PC 118)
Sometimes, people who make rape allegations do not initially realize the severity of their accusations. When they find out that the person they accused of rape is facing serious repercussions, they may want to protect the person from these consequences by taking back their statements.
Before you recant a statement, you should consider any potential consequences you could face. You are legally allowed to recant any statements you made to police under California Penal Code Section 118. However, if you say that the statement you made to police was false, you could face charges of obstruction of justice under PC 148 or making false statements to law enforcement under PC 148.5.
If you are sure you want to recant your statement, you should speak to an experienced attorney before doing so.
Who Can Drop Rape Charges? (PC 261)
Another thing you need to understand before you attempt to take back rape allegations is that recanting your statements will not automatically result in potential charges being dropped.
After a person has given a statement to police alleging rape, the police will file a report that is forwarded to the district attorney’s office. The district attorney’s office decides whether to pursue charges against the alleged perpetrator.
Although an accuser does not have the ability to drop rape charges, he or she could have a major impact on whether the prosecution formally files charges. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1219, victims have the ability to refuse to testify without being held in contempt of court. If the alleged victim refuses to testify in court or cooperate with the district attorney, it could decrease the prosecution’s chances of obtaining a conviction, and could lead to the case being dismissed.
Alleged victims should contact the defendant’s criminal defense attorney to help provide any insight that could be used to fight rape charges.
Speak to an Experienced Rape Lawyer Near You
Rape is a serious charge in California. If you are convicted of rape, it will have a negative impact on you for the rest of your life. That is why you should speak to an experienced rape defense attorney immediately if you or someone you love has been accused of rape.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients accused of rape for more than 40 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich rape attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.