Like all states, California has strict regulations surrounding sex with minors. When a person has sex with a person who is under 18 years old, it is considered statutory rape in California. It is also known as illicit sexual contact with a minor or unlawful sexual activity.
The age of consent in California is 18. Whether the alleged victim started the sexual activity or gave her consent is irrelevant. A sex crimes defense attorney can clarify why underage consent to sex is illegal in California. Therefore, if you are 18 years old or older and engage in sexual activity with a person who is under 18, you may be prosecuted with the crime of statutory rape.
Read on to learn more about these charges and how an experienced California defense attorney can help you. Then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.
California does not have Romeo and Juliet laws
Romeo and Juliet laws, which are exceptions to excessively strict statutory rape laws that criminalize consensual sexual relationships between peers, are present in many places. For instance, in Pennsylvania, a person cannot be charged with statutory rape for having intercourse with a juvenile who is 13 or older while the defendant is under the age of 14.
These exclusions are intended to shield young people from being accused of a crime just for engaging in romantic relationships. According to the argument, two teenagers who choose to have sex shouldn’t be punished because they did it voluntarily. However, California does not have such an exception. For having intercourse with a minor, anyone can be charged, including another minor.
Statutory rape is a wobbler offense in California
Statutory rape is a wobbler crime, which means that according on the specifics of the offense, it may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Statutory rape is classified as a misdemeanor when the accused is no more than 3 years older than the alleged victim.
Statutory rape may be punished as a misdemeanor crime if the perpetrator is 21 or older and the claimed victim was under 16 at the time; if tried as a felony, the penalties are more severe.
Convictions for misdemeanor statutory rape may result in unofficial probation, a year in jail, or a fine of up to $1,000. A felony statutory rape conviction can result in up to one year of probation, 16 months to three years in county jail, and fines of up to $10,000. The maximum penalty, however, is between 2 and 4 years if the victim was under the age of 16 and the defendant was 21 or older.
Fortunately, in California, prosecutors hardly ever file charges against young people who have intercourse with other young people. Everyone should be conscious of the possibility, though. A minor facing statutory rape charges would show up in juvenile court.
A tenacious sex crimes defense attorney is required to defend you if you have been accused of statutory rape or a related felony. A resource is Chambers Law Firm. For a free initial consultation, call us at 714-760-4088 or email email@example.com right now.