California Statutory Rape – Unlawful Sex with a Minor Penal Code 261.5 PC
What is California statutory rape?
Under California Penal Code 261.5 it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor who is not your spouse. In addition, the sentencing and punishment for engaging in unlawful sex with a minor can be severe. In order to convict you of California statutory rape charges, the prosecution must prove the following:
- You had sexual intercourse with the victim AND
- You and the victim were not married at the time of intercourse AND
- At the time of intercourse, the victim was under the age of 18
Defenses to a California statutory rape charge
There are a number of defenses that a California criminal defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf. Your attorney can argue:
- You held a good faith belief that the victim was 18 years of age or older
- You did not engage in sexual intercourse with the victim
- You were married to the victim
- The victim was not a minor
Each of these defenses can be raised depending upon the facts of your individual case. Be sure to consult a California statutory rape attorney at Wallin & Klarich to learn more.
California statutory rape sentencing and punishment
According to the California Penal Code section 261.5, the sentencing for a California statutory rape conviction depends upon both your age and the age of the victim at the time of offense:
- Misdemeanor statutory rape – If you are no more than 3 years older than the victim, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
- Felony statutory rape – If you are 21 years of age or older and the victim is under the age of 16, the offense is a felony punishable by 2, 3 or 4 years in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Felony/misdemeanor statutory rape – If you are at least 3 years older than the victim (and the victim is not younger than 16), the offense is considered a “wobbler” which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of your individual case and your prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor you face up to a year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. If charged as a felony you face 16 months, 2 or 3 years in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
If you are convicted of unlawful sex with a minor in California, you may also face civil penalties and fines in addition to your underlying criminal sentence.
California statutory rape FAQs
To help you understand the various aspects of California statutory rape, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding California Statutory Rape Laws in our FAQ section. There, you can find answers to questions such as:
- Is statutory rape charged as a misdemeanor or felony?
- Can I be charged with California statutory rape even if I was in a relationship with the minor?
- Can I be charged with statutory rape for engaging in oral sex with a minor?
- Can I be convicted of statutory rape if the victim told me that she was 18 years of age or older?
- Will I have to register as a sex offender in California if I am convicted of statutory rape?
Where can I find the criminal attorneys with most experience in statutory rape defense?
If you are confronted with accusations of California statutory rape, it is essential that you contact a professional criminal defense lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about the law pertinent to unlawful sex with a minor cases.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented clients facing statutory rape charges for over 30 years. Our skilled attorneys have the knowledge and the experience necessary to win your case.
Call us today at (877) 466-5245 or fill out our confidential form. We will be there when you call.