Under California law, rape is defined as nonconsensual sexual intercourse accomplished by means of force, threats or fraud (Penal Code § 261). Rape laws apply to both men and women. Spousal rape, defined at Penal Code § 262, and date rape, as well as statutory rape, defined at Penal Code § 261.5, each are also rape under 261, but each are distinct crimes defined by separate code sections.
Without a doubt, anyone accused of rape faces a mountain of consequences, even if the charges are eventually dismissed or a plea bargain is reached to a charge with far less stigma attached. Such enormous consequences are often why false accusation are made, usually out of jealousy or to seek revenge for some emotionally charged circumstance. Sometimes, the accusation is made weeks or months after the alleged act, making any physical or medical evidence impossible to assemble in defense.
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