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 is 18 in the state of California. 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 and contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.
Many states have Romeo and Juliet laws – California does not
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.
The potential consequences for a conviction of sex with a minor
Statutory rape is a wobbler, 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 can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on how much older the perpetrator is than the alleged victim—if they are more than three years apart. Statutory rape may be punished as a felony 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.
Minors are rarely charged with statutory rape in California
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 required to defend you if you have been accused of statutory rape or a related felony. For a free initial consultation, call Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org right now.