Can Statutory Rape Charges Be Dropped? (PC 261.5)
Statutory rape is a serious crime in California. Many alleged victims do not realize how harsh the punishment for a statutory rape conviction is until they have already filed a report with the police.
Sometimes, when the accuser finds out that the alleged perpetrator is facing consequences that could have life-long consequences, they want to take back their 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.
Read on to find out how to get out of statutory rape charges in California.
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 18.
Statutory rape is known as a “wobbler” offense, which means it could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances of your particular case.
Under California’s Statutory Rape laws, if you are no more than three years older than the victim, the offense will be charged as a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in county jail.
If you are three or more years older than the victim, the circumstances and your criminal history will determine the severity of your charges.
If you are 21 or older and the victim is under 16, the California statutory rape offense will be charged as a felony punishable by two to four years in county jail. That is because the age of consent in California is 18.
The California legislature has determined that anyone under 18 cannot give informed consent when it comes to sexual intercourse. As a result, anyone who has sexual intercourse with a minor, even if they are a teenager and the sex was otherwise “consensual,” can be charged with statutory rape under California Statutory Rape laws.
The good news is that California’s statutory rape laws do not require those convicted of the crime need to register as a sex offender. However, if you are convicted of statutory rape, the court can decide to impose sex offender registration as part of the penalty imposed based on the circumstances of your case, your prior criminal history, and a psychological evaluation.
A defendant with two or more convictions under California statutory rape laws may be forced to undergo chemical castration as punishment.
Can Statutory Rape Charges Be Dropped?
When someone accuses another individual of statutory rape, they report the details of the incident to the police. Once an alleged victim has provided statements to the police, they cannot simply go back and get the charges dropped.
While an alleged victim may be able to recant their statement, they risk facing charges for lying to the police. Furthermore, even if they retract their report, there is no guarantee that the alleged perpetrator will be able to get out of statutory rape charges.
Once a victim has 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 should be filed formally. When a victim recants their prior statement, they may be able to convince the district attorney not to file charges, but charges are rarely dropped at the alleged victim’s request.
Beating Statutory Rape Charges
If statutory rape charges are filed, the accuser may 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 get out of statutory rape charges, including:
- Arguing that you never engaged in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim;
- Claiming that you held a good faith belief that the alleged victim was 18 years of age or older; or
- Arguing that the alleged victim was not a minor.
A Statutory Rape Lawyer Offers Your Best Chance to Get Out of Statutory Rape Charges
A statutory rape conviction carries severe criminal consequences, including jail time and expensive fines. If you want to know how to get out of statutory rape charges, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
If you or someone you love has been accused of statutory rape, contact Wallin & Klarich. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing statutory rape charges.
Let us help you now.
Wallin & Klarich has offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Victorville, and West Covina.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (619) 404-2464 for a free phone consultation.
We will get through this together.