Beginning January 1, 2017, California has several new laws affecting people charged with sexual assault.
The new laws have been inspired by high-profile cases such as the allegations against entertainer Bill Cosby and the light sentence handed down to convicted Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.
The first important changes is the complete elimination of any statute of limitations for sexual assaults committed after Dec. 31, 2016. This means that if someone is sexually assaulted in 2017 (or later), the victim can report it at any time in the future and the case can be prosecuted regardless of how much time has passed. Before passage of the new law, the statute of limitations for sexual assault was generally 10 years.
The second major change is that prison time is now mandatory when someone is convicted of sexual assault against a victim who was unconscious or unable to give consent due to intoxication. Judges no longer have the authority to grant probation (with or without jail time) under these circumstances.
Finally, possession of ketamine, flunitrazepam (a/k/a Rohypnol or roofies), or GHB with the intent to commit sexual assault is now a felony instead of a misdemeanor. It can be punished by 16 months, or 2 or 3 years in county jail.
These changes make it more important than ever to seek the assistance of an experienced California criminal defense lawyer if you are charged under California's sexual assault laws.
Our caring California criminal defense lawyers are up-to-date on all the new laws and the best defenses to California charges of rape, sodomy, oral copulation or sex with a minor. If you have been charged with a sex crime, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation to find out why we are considered among the best sexual assault defense lawyers in California.