You are chatting online with a woman that you believe is over 18 years of age. After a few back and forth conversations, the two of you decide to meet up in order to engage in sexual intercourse. Now she is accusing you of statutory rape. If you are facing this difficult situation, you need to contact a Wallin & Klarich statutory rape defense attorney to help you fight for your freedom.
What are the elements of statutory rape under California Penal Code Section 261.5?
Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, a “statutory rape” occurs when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of eighteen (18). The prosecution must prove the following three elements to convict you:
- 1. You engaged in sexual intercourse with the accuser;
- 2. You and the accuser were not legally married at the time of the sexual intercourse; and
- 3. The accuser was under the age of 18 at the time of the sexual intercourse
The examples below illustrate several instances where an individual may be found to have committed statutory rape:
- o A 21-year old college senior has intercourse with a 17-year old college freshman
- o A 40-year old high school teacher has intercourse with her student; and
- o An 18-year old engages in sexual intercourse with his 16-year old girlfriend
What are the sentence and punishment for statutory rape under PC 261.5?
The punishment for statutory rape depends on whether the crime is charged as a felony or misdemeanor. A statutory rape conviction may also require you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life under California Penal Code Section 290.006.
Misdemeanor Statutory Punishment
If you are no more than three (3) years older than the accuser at the time of the alleged statutory rape, then the offense is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Felony Statutory Punishment
If you are over the age of 21 and the accuser is under the age of 16, the offense is a felony punishable up to 4 years in county jail and a $10,000 fine.
Misdemeanor/Felony Statutory Punishment
If you are at least 3 years older than the accuser and the accuser is over the age of 16, the offense is considered a “wobbler”. This means that the offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of your case and your prior criminal history.
How can Wallin & Klarich successfully defend me against a statutory rape charge?
The skilled statutory rape defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich can raise a number of successful defenses on your behalf. These may include:
A good faith belief that the accuser was 18 years of age or older
If you held a good faith belief that the accuser was 18 years of age or older at the time of the intercourse, you may not be found guilty of statutory rape. The jury will examine whether your subjective belief was objectively reasonable by considering evidence such as the accuser’s physical appearance.
You did not actually engage in sexual intercourse with the accuser
You cannot be convicted of statutory rape if there was a lack of vaginal penetration.
You were married to the victim
If you were married to the accuser at the time of the intercourse, you cannot be convicted of statutory rape. A minor may marry an adult in California by obtaining judicial or parental consent.
The accuser was not a minor
A Wallin & Klarich attorney can conduct a thorough investigation to show that the accuser was not a minor at the time of the sexual intercourse.
Contact the experienced statutory rape defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you are charged with statutory rape under California Penal Code Section 261.5, the skilled statutory rape defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will passionately defend you from the moment you retain us. Our Wallin & Klarich attorneys know the intricacies of a statutory rape offense and will provide you with an aggressive defense.
Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients who face statutory rape charges and helping them avoid jail time. We have the skill and experience to help you win your case.
Our offices are conveniently located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. Call us today at (877) 466-5245. We will get through this together.