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Harvey Weinstein Charged with Rape and Sexual Battery in California

February 5, 2020

The charges were filed shortly after Weinstein’s New York trial on sex crime charges began

Harvey Weinstein Charged with Rape and Sexual Battery in California

Harvey Weinstein has become the symbol of the #MeToo movement: a man who sexually harassed and assaulted women for decades, without repercussion. In 2018, New York filed criminal charges against Weinstein for sexually assaulting two women. At the time, California prosecutors were unable to charge Weinstein for many of his alleged crimes because the statute of limitations had run.

In the legal system, the statute of limitations is the period of time for starting a case, such as filling a lawsuit for a car accident or a prosecutor filing charges against a person accused of committing a crime. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the legal matter is effectively dead. As a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can explain, if a prosecutor does not file criminal charges within the statute of limitations, the charges cannot be brought.

When allegations against Weinstein first surfaced, the ones that occurred in California involved behavior that took place as long ago as the 1970’s. For this reason, California prosecutors could not bring charges for most of the alleged crimes. California has since changed the law on the statute of limitations for sex crimes, expanding the time period significantly.

In early January 2020, prosecutors in Los Angeles County filed charges against Weinstein for forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint. These charges relate to allegations made by two women who have said that Weinstein attacked them in hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

California has severe punishments for anyone convicted of a sex crime. For example, rape is a felony offense that is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 8 years, along with felony probation. In addition, most rape convictions will require an individual to register as a sex offender for life.

Under California law, there are four elements to a rape charge:

  • An accused individual had sexual intercourse with another person;
  • The parties were not married at the time;
  • The other person did not consent to sexual intercourse; and
  • The accused accomplished the act through the use of force, violence, duress, menace, fear of bodily injury, retribution and/or fraud.

The other charges that Weinstein is facing have different elements. Sexual battery — which may also be referred to as sexual assault — involves touching the intimate part of another person, without their consent, for the purposes of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. Depending on the facts of the case, sexual battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, with penalties ranging from one year in county jail and a fine of up to $,2000 to between 2 and 4 years in California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you have been charged with a sex crime, you will need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to defend you. In addition to possible incarceration, if you are convicted of a crime related to sexual violence, you will likely have to register as a sex offender. This can have a significant impact on your ability to find a place to live, get a job, or even live in peace (as the sexual offender registry is public).

The Chambers Law Firm represents individuals who have been charged with sexually-based offenses. We are fierce advocates for our clients, and will work hard to get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

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