Engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor is a serious criminal offense in California. The exact offense you will be charged with for having sex with a minor depends upon your age and the age of the alleged victim.
Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients facing charges for having sex with a minor for more than 35 years. Let’s examine the charges you could face for having sex with a minor in California.
Statutory Rape (PC 261.5)
When people think of the criminal act of having sex with a minor, they are likely thinking of statutory rape. Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, you could be charged with the crime of statutory rape if you engage in sexual intercourse with a minor who you were not married to at the time of the intercourse.
In statutory rape cases, you may think that consent is a defense, but minors cannot legally consent to sex. Therefore, it is a crime to have sex with anyone under the age of 18, regardless if you are also under the age of 18.
Statutory rape is a wobbler offense, which means the prosecution has the ability to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor. The consequences you face for statutory rape depend upon your age and the age of the alleged victim:
- If you are less than three years older than the alleged victim – This misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000
- If you are more than three years older than the alleged victim and the alleged victim is 16 or 17 years old – This can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries up to 364 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. Felony statutory rape is punishable by up to three years in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
- If you are 21 years or older and the alleged victim is under 16 years old – This felony offense carries up to four years in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
A statutory rape conviction does not require you to register as a sex offender. However, the judge in your case has the discretion to add sex offender registration to your sentence based on the circumstances of your case.
Lewd Acts with a Minor (PC 288(a))
If your act involved a minor under the age of 14, you could be charged with committing lewd acts involving a minor under California Penal Code Section 288(a). You could be charged with this crime if:
- You touched a child’s body on the bare skin or through his or her clothing, or you caused the child to touch his or her own body or the body of someone else
- Your act of touching was intentional, and
- You did so with the intention of arousing, appealing to or gratifying your own sexual desires or those of the child
The crime of lewd acts with a minor is a felony offense. If you are convicted under PC 288(a), you face 3, 6 or 8 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines. In addition, you will receive a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes law.
You will also be required to register as a sex offender under PC 290 if you are convicted of lewd acts with a minor.
Contact Our Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime for having sex with a minor, you should contact our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys immediately. Our criminal defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients facing sex crime charges for more than 35 years. 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 criminal attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.