April 26, 2022 By Stephen Klarich

Consensual Sex & Statutory Rape In Southern California

Have you been charged with statutory rape after engaging in consensual sex in Southern California? You’re not alone. In fact, we’ve represented numerous clients in situations similar to yours. For over 40 years, Wallin & Klarich has defended thousands of statutory rape cases throughout Southern California, and in many cases, we’ve convinced the court to reduce or drop charges. Let us help you fight false allegations of statutory rape and avoid time behind bars. Contact our skilled attorneys today for your free consultation. 

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of California’s age of consent and statutory rape laws. However, it’s crucial to be aware of what you’re facing when charged with this crime. First, let’s take a closer look at consensual sex and penalties for statutory rape in Southern California. 

California’s Age Of Consent

There is no such thing as consensual sex with a minor in California. Under Penal Code 261.5, sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18 is against the law and considered statutory rape. Minors cannot consent to sexual intercourse until they’re 18 years old. (Oral sex is not regarded as sexual intercourse under PC 261, but you may face an oral copulation charge for oral sex with a minor under California Penal Code section 288a.) Sexual intercourse includes any penetration, no matter how slight.

So if you’re 18 and have sex with a 16-year-old, the prosecution can charge you with statutory rape. Even if the minor “agrees” to sex, the law says anyone under 18 cannot give consent. Therefore, arguing consensual sex is not a defense to statutory rape in Southern California. 

Note: Minors can also be charged with statutory rape in California. 

Prosecution Of Statutory Rape

For a statutory rape conviction in Southern California, the prosecutor must prove that you had sex with an individual, who was under 18 years old at the time, and the two of you were not married. Whether you’ll face misdemeanor or felony charges depends on the age gap between you and the victim. 

Sentence For Misdemeanor Statutory Rape – Age Difference of 3 Years Or Less 

If the age gap between you and the victim was 3 years or less at the time of the offense, you face the following penalties for misdemeanor statutory rape in California:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • Maximum $1,000 fine
  • Informal probation 
  • Civil penalty up to $2,000 for sex with a minor less than 2 years younger
  • Civil penalty up to $5,000 for sex with a minor at least 2 years younger 

Sentence For Statutory Rape – More Than 3 Years Older Than Victim

If you’re more than 3 or more years older than the victim, the prosecution decides whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony. The likelihood of felony charges increases with a greater age gap between you and the victim. The prosecutor also considers your criminal history and the other facts of the case. You face the following penalties for statutory rape with an age gap of 3 years or more in Southern California: 

  • Misdemeanor
    • Up to one year in county jail 
    • Maximum $1,000 fine
    • Informal probation
  • Felony
    • 16 months, 2 or 3 years detention 
    • Maximum $10,000 fine
    • Formal probation 
  • Civil penalty up to $10,000 for sex with a minor at least 3 years younger for either misdemeanor and felony offenses

Sentence For Felony Statutory Rape –  21 Or Older & Victim Under 16

If the victim is under 16 years old and you’re 21 or older at the time of the offense, the prosecutor will charge you with felony statutory rape, and the court can order the following penalties:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in county jail 
  • Maximum $10,000 fine
  • Probation 
  • Civil penalty up to $25,000 if you’re over 21 and engaged in sex with a minor under 16 

Registration As A Sex Offender For Statutory Rape 

A statutory rape conviction doesn’t require sex offender registration under California Penal Code section 290. But, the court could examine the facts of your case and decide that sex offender registration should be required. Also, if you move out of state, you need to check the registration laws in the new state because local laws may require you to register in other states. 

To learn more about statutory rape, check out our FAQs. Also, don’t miss the Top 5 Reasons To Hire Wallin & Klarich for a sex crime defense. Let us help you stay out of jail. Contact us today for your free consultation!

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney to help you no matter where you are located. 

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 587-4279 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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