Under California Penal Code 261.5, it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor who is not your spouse. The district attorney has wide discretion in prosecuting statutory rape cases.
In many statutory rape cases, the alleged victim or the victim’s family experiences a change of heart after finding out the harsh penalties for statutory rape and no longer wishes to press charges against the accused. However, immediately upon the arrest of the accused, the alleged victim loses control over the direction of the prosecution. The district attorney has the right to proceed with the case, regardless of the alleged victim’s wishes.
If you or someone you love is facing statutory rape charges, you should contact the skilled Los Angeles statutory rape defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible.
Sentencing for Statutory Rape in Los Angeles
Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, the sentencing for a statutory rape conviction in Los Angeles can be severe. How you will be punished depends upon the circumstances of the case and the age of the alleged victim.
• If you are no more than three years older than the victim, the offense will be charged as a misdemeanor. If convicted, you face up to 364 days in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
• If you are at least three years older than the victim and the victim is 16 years old or older (but still a minor), the offense is considered a “wobbler.” This means it can be punished as either a misdemeanor or felony. A felony conviction carries up to three years in prison, while a misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail.
• If you are 21 years of age or older and the victim is under the age of 16, you will be charged with felony statutory rape. This crime is punishable by up to four years in county jail and a $10,000 fine.
Most devastating of all, if you are convicted of statutory rape in Los Angeles, you may be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code Section 290 as part of your sentence.
Defenses to Statutory Rape (PC 261.5)
Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that your Wallin & Klarich statutory rape defense attorneys can raise to possibly get your case dismissed. Our law firm has been successfully handling rape cases for more than 35 years. Some of the defenses we’ve used to help clients charged with statutory rape include:
1. You held a good faith belief that the victim was 18 years of age or older – If you honestly believed the alleged victim was over the age of 18, you may have a defense to statutory rape charges. In order to use this defense, there must have been a reason for you to have believed that the alleged victim was 18 over (i.e. he or she told you he/she was 21, he/she showed an ID that said he/she was over 18, you met the alleged victim at a 21 and over bar).
2. You did not engage in sexual intercourse with the victim – If you did not actually engage in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim, you should not be convicted of this crime.
3. The victim was not a minor – If the alleged victim was not actually under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, you should not be convicted of this crime.
Each of these defenses can be raised depending upon the facts of your case. Be sure to consult our skilled and knowledgeable Los Angeles statutory rape attorneys today to find out if one of these defenses applies in your case.
Contact Our Los Angeles Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys Today
If you are facing statutory rape charges, you face severe consequences that could affect you for the rest of your life. That is why you need to contact an experienced Los Angeles statutory rape defense attorney who is dedicated to giving you the best representation possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing statutory rape 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, our skilled statutory rape lawyers are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation about your case. We will get through this together.