Online dating is becoming increasingly popular with the advancement of computer technology. Many people today use dating sites to find love and create lasting relationships. While there are so many success stories about strong relationships that began on dating sites, some people use these platforms for the wrong reasons. It helps to note that not everyone on an online dating site is exactly what they proclaim regarding good conduct and age. People lie about their credentials to trick unsuspecting dating site users into falling for their lies for selfish and sometimes criminal gains.

Statistically, 10% of people using dating sites are scammers, and almost the same percentage are sex offenders. Some California dating site users have reported increasing fraud and violent crimes. But you can find legal help if someone you met online abuses or defrauds you or you face criminal charges after a romantic engagement with an online lover. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your charges' legal ramifications and options. They will also help you with defense.

How a Dating App Can Result in Serious Tinder Rape Charges

If you are extremely busy, you have probably thought about online dating. It is because busy people do not find the time to meet and date physically. Online dating presents many advantages, making it a choice for people from all walks of life. Other than saving you the time to go out there to meet other people and date physically, a dating app gives you access to hundreds of profiles to choose from. People on dating apps use words to describe who they are and what they seek. You can match with a few or several individuals based on your preference. That is how easy it becomes to find the right partner.

But not every piece of information you find online is usually true. It is very common for some people to falsify the information they post about themselves and their preferences on dating sites. Some people even upload fake or old photos of themselves to deceive prospective suitors. Knowing the person you are chatting with becomes challenging when you sign up and start looking for hookups. That continues to be a challenge, even when most dating sites purport to impose stringent verification standards.

When you sign up on a dating app, you begin by matching with a few people who meet your requirements and those who seek a person with your credentials. Once you match with someone, you start chatting, sharing information, and planning a physical meeting. Some first-physical dates go very well, mostly those involving couples that have been truthful with each other from the beginning.

But what happens when the person who appears on your first date is not the one you were expecting?

That could be the case if they initially lied to you about their appearance, and you learned about it during your first date.

Some people only realize they have been lied to when they are too deep into the relationship to look back. Imagine realizing that someone lied to you after you engaged in sexual acts. Some dating sites even promise an instant hookup after signing up. You can meet with a potential partner the same day you sign up. These are the kinds of dating apps that attract more dangerous predators and criminals. It is impossible to learn about a person in a few hours and even agree to meet them.

Sadly, scammers and sexual predators take advantage of the anonymity of online dating apps. They use it to lure unsuspecting victims into their traps.

Possible Accusations You Can Face after Using a Dating App

The lies people post on dating sites become a criminal issue when they meet and engage in sexual activities after some online interaction. A common lie that sometimes becomes a major problem is age. It is difficult to tell a person’s exact age when chatting online. That is why most lie about their age, hoping to get away with it. If you are a serious adult looking for a potential intimate partner online, consider age before physically engaging with a potential partner. It is because you could face serious rape charges if it turns out that the person is not as adult as they claim to be.

Most dating sites only allow adults to sign up and interact with other users. But minors have found their way onto these dating sites. They use false credentials to sign up and create profiles. At a glance, you could assume that you are chatting with an adult while the other person is only a minor. Claiming that you believed a lie about their age would not relieve you of the guilt of statutory rape charges if you engaged in sexual acts with that person. The law mandates that you obtain proof of age before engaging in sexual acts with someone you are unsure of.

Statutory rape charges are serious and result from sexual intercourse with an individual between the ages of 14 and 18. You can still face charges even if the alleged victim consented to the sexual acts. The prosecutor must demonstrate that you had sexual intercourse with a minor. But your attorney can cite ‘good faith belief’ to defend you against the charges. For the court to accept your defense, your attorney must demonstrate that you actually and reasonably believed your partner was an adult. They could have given you a fake identification to prove their age.

It is challenging to know the exact age of a person by merely looking at them. People between 15 and 25 could appear the same to an ordinary person. Some adults can easily pass for teenagers. Some teenagers can easily pass for young adults. Even though you can obtain leniency with the ‘good faith belief’ defense, you must convince the jury that your confidence in your partner’s age is conceivable to any adult out there. You will also be mandated to justify why you concluded the individual was an adult. Your reasons, in this case, should go beyond mere appearance.

It is a tough case to win if you face statutory rape charges and the prosecutor has solid evidence against you.

You can also face rape charges for engaging in sexual acts with a person you met online. That could happen if the other person alleges that you engaged in sexual intercourse against their will or without their consent. A rape charge could occur regardless of the victim’s age.

Sometimes the excitement of meeting a new person can become overwhelming, to the point of making irrational decisions that could later result in serious allegations. For example, if your first meeting becomes a night of merrymaking and the two of you engage in sexual activity, but the other person is too intoxicated to consent, they can accuse you of rape.

You need affirmative consent from the other person to engage in sexual intercourse with them. If a person says they do not want to engage in sexual intercourse with you, but you push them into the act, they can file rape charges against you. A person high on alcohol or drugs is legally incapable of consenting to sexual acts. You will be guilty of rape if you engage in sexual intercourse with them.

You could also face sexual assault charges for intimately touching the other person without consent for sexual abuse, gratification, or arousal. Prosecutors charge sexual assault as a misdemeanor or felony. Their decision is based on the circumstances of the case. Even what you consider an innocent act of making out can result in serious sex charges and severe repercussions if you are convicted.

Legal Penalties of Statutory Rape, Rape, and Sexual Abuse

The prosecutor will pursue your charges and file a case in court once the person you met on a dating site files sex-related charges against you. The outcome of your case could be a conviction, which comes with severe penalties and other life-changing consequences. It is necessary to know what the penalties entail to be prepared in case your online dating results in Tinder rape charges.

Statutory Rape Penalties

Statutory rape is generally a wobbler offense. The prosecutor can charge it as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the case details.

Prosecutors use three main methods when charging statutory rape. Your penalties will depend on whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges.

Statutory rape is a misdemeanor offense if the victim (a minor) is three years younger than the defendant.

It is a misdemeanor or felony if the victim is over three years younger than the defendant.

It is a misdemeanor or felony if the defendant is 21 or older and the alleged victim is 16 or younger. Note that felony penalties under this category will be steeper than those under the second.

The prosecutor will also consider your criminal history and the specifics of your case to decide how to charge it.

A misdemeanor conviction can result in the following penalties:

  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • A year in jail.
  • $1,000 in court fines.

A felony conviction can result in:

  • Felony probation.
  • 16 months, two or three years in prison.
  • $10,000 in court fines.

Possible Penalties for Rape

Rape is a straight felony, punishable by:

  • Felony probation.
  • Three, six, or eight years in prison.
  • A requirement to register in the sex offender registry.
  • Additional three to five years if the alleged victim sustained a great bodily injury.

Possible Penalties for a Sexual Assault Charge

Sexual assault is mainly a misdemeanor offense, but the prosecutor can file felony charges under aggravating circumstances. These aggravating circumstances include using a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in great bodily injury.

A misdemeanor sexual assault charge is punishable by:

  • Six months in jail.
  • Between $2,000 and $3,000 in court fines.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

A felony conviction is punishable by:

  • Felony probation.
  • Two, three, or four years in prison.
  • $10,000 in court fines.
  • A requirement to register in the sex offender registry.

Additionally, the victim can file a civil suit against you for damages they sustained due to your sexual misconduct. Examples of damages they can recover through a civil suit include:

  • Medical bills.
  • Counseling and therapy costs.
  • Lost wages.
  • Lost earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Anxiety.
  • Mental anguish.
  • Punitive damages.

If they win the case, the civil court judge will order you to pay full compensation for their approved damages.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Attorney

Sex-related charges are very serious and should be taken with the seriousness they deserve. Just because you believe you did not commit a crime does not make your charges disappear. You need legal representation whether or not you are guilty of your charges. Your attorney will study your case to advise you on your options and the best fighting strategies. They will also walk you through the difficult court processes with you, protecting your rights and aggressively fighting for a favorable outcome.

The jury must hear evidence and testimonies to give a verdict. Your accuser could have a strong case against you, which you must fight with solid evidence to gain the upper hand. You cannot do this alone. That is why you must hire an experienced attorney immediately after your arrest.

Find an Aggressive Criminal Attorney Near Me

Do you or someone you know face rape or sexual assault charges in Sacramento after online dating?

People join online dating sites for different reasons. Some are genuine individuals looking for love, while others are scammers and fraudsters. You could face false sexual accusations after a physical date with someone you met through a dating app. You could also have acted in the heat of the moment and made a regrettable mistake that resulted in sexual charges. In that case, you need the help of a competent criminal attorney to understand the gravity of your case, your options, and your rights. You also need help putting up a solid fight against your charges.

We are always available to help in such situations at Foos Gavin Law Firm. Call us at 916-779-3500, and let us discuss your case in greater detail.