Statutory rape is a serious crime in California, but many alleged victims do not realize the harshness of this crime until they have already filed a report with police. Sometimes, when the accuser finds out that the alleged perpetrator is facing consequences that could have life-long effects, he or she wishes to take back his or her accusations and get statutory rape charges dropped.
It is possible to get statutory rape charges dropped, but it will not be up to the alleged victim to decide whether to drop charges.
Penalties for Statutory Rape (PC 261.5)
Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, you could be convicted of statutory rape if you engaged in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18.
Statutory rape is a “wobbler” offense, which means it could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the circumstances of your particular case. If you are convicted of misdemeanor statutory rape, you face up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Felony statutory rape carries up to four years in county jail and fines of up to $10,000.
Can Statutory Rape Charges Be Dropped?
When you accuse someone of statutory rape, you will likely report the details of the incident to the police. Once you have provided statements to the police, you cannot simply go back and get the charges dropped. You may be able to recant your statements, but you risk facing charges for lying to the police if you do so and there is no guarantee that the statutory rape charges will be dropped as a result of your recantation.
After you have accused someone of statutory rape, the police will create a report and forward it to the district attorney’s office. The district attorney is the one who ultimately decides whether charges are formally filed. Recanting your prior statement may help convince the district attorney not to file charges, but charges are rarely dropped at the request of the alleged victim.
Beating Statutory Rape Charges
If statutory rape charges are filed, the accuser may choose to provide a statement to the alleged offender’s criminal defense attorney to help get the charges dropped. An experienced statutory rape lawyer may be able to use several legal defenses to help you beat statutory rape charges, including:
You never engaged in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim
You held a good faith belief that the alleged victim was 18 years of age or older, or
The alleged victim was not a minor
Our Statutory Rape Lawyers Can Help You Now
A statutory rape conviction carries severe criminal consequences, including jail time and expensive fines. You should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately if you or someone you love has been accused of this serious crime.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing statutory rape charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich statutory rape defense attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.