“Statutory rape” is a somewhat generic term used to describe the illegal act of an adult engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. In the state of California, this crime is legally referred to as “unlawful sex with a minor” or “unlawful sexual intercourse.” Statutory rape is a crime regardless of whether or not the sex is consensual, as a person cannot legally consent until they reach the age of 18.
To be convicted of statutory rape in California, the prosecution must prove the following:
- The defendant had sexual intercourse with the victim
- The victim and defendant were not married at the time
- The victim was under 18 years of age at the time of intercourse
What Are the Penalties for Statutory Rape in CA?
The penalties for statutory rape in California vary depending on the ages of both the victim and alleged offender, with heavier penalties being reserved for larger age gaps. Likewise, a person can be convicted of statutory rape if they are also a minor.
Penalties for statutory rape in California are as follows:
- If the defendant is three or fewer years older than the victim: A misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- If the defendant is more than three years older than the victim: A “wobbler” charge which can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the facts of the case. If charged as a misdemeanor, a defendant can face up to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If charged as a felony, a defendant can face 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- If the defendant is 21 or older and the minor is under 16 years of age: A felony offense punishable by 2, 3, or 4 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
In addition to jail time and fines, individuals convicted of statutory rape may be required to register as a sex offender. Sex offender registration can be devastating to a person’s reputation and force them to live their life under intense public scrutiny, as their personal information, address, aliases, and occupation are released to the public through a sex offender website maintained by the Department of Justice. Furthermore, sex offender registration can restrict registered sex offenders from living near parks or schools, thereby significantly limiting their housing and employment options.
Accused of Statutory Rape?
Accusations of statutory rape, or any sex crime for that matter, are extremely serious and require the trained eye of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to be successfully defended against. If you have been charged with statutory rape, contact the Riverside sex crime attorneys at Blumenthal & Moore. Having been listed for more than 30 years in “The Best Lawyers in America” and earned a prestigious AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for our outstanding advocacy, we have what it takes to contest the evidence against you and ensure your freedom is protected.
Do not take any chances with your future – call (951) 682-5110 today to review your defense options.