Crime Victims Now Have Constitutional Rights

California Rape Shield Law and Victims Rights Lawyer

November 21, 2013

California Rape Shield Law and Victims Rights LawyerCalifornia rape shield laws protect victims of rape by prohibiting the use of certain evidence at the suspect’s trial. A victims rights lawyer can tell you that the rape shield laws are generally rules of evidence that determine what may be admissible and not admissible at a criminal trial.

Evidence That May Not Be Admitted

A victims rights lawyer can explain that too often during a rape trial, the victim of the rape herself is put on trial. The defendant will often attack the victim and basically claim that the victim asked for the assault or consented based on irrelevant and embarrassing testimony.

The effect of these unpleasant rape trials is that many victims of rape have been unwilling to step forward. As a result, California lawmakers passed laws like Marsy’s Law (the Victim’s Bill of Rights) and the rape shield laws so that a victims rights lawyer can protect the interests and reputations of rape victims.

Some of the evidence that a victims rights lawyer can keep out of a criminal trial due to rape shield laws include:

  • Reputation. Testimony as to the victim’s reputation for promiscuity is not admissible.
  • Prior Sexual History. Any prior history between the victim and suspect is generally not admissible. This type of evidence can be complicated, and you will want to talk to a victims rights attorney.
  • Past Conduct. Any opinion or evidence of the victim’s past sexual conduct generally (beyond with the suspect) may not be presented at trial.
  • Dress. Evidence of the victim’s attire or dress is typically not admissible.

The above are general rules for the exclusion of evidence. A defendant may always argue for a specific piece of evidence given the circumstances of the charge. As a result, you will want to talk to a victims rights attorney to learn your options for keeping that evidence out.

Contact a Victims Rights Lawyer

There are many protections built into California law to protect victims of crimes, particularly victims of rape. If you believe that your rights are not being protected, you should talk to a victims rights lawyer. Attorney Michael L. Fell can explain to you your rights and protections. To learn more, contact the victims rights attorney at (949) 585-9055.