You recently had sexual intercourse with a female that you met off of a dating website. Prior to engaging in sexual intercourse, she reassured you that she had turned 18 years of age “a while ago.” A few days after the sexual intercourse, you were charged with statutory rape under California Penal Code section 261.5. At this point, it is critical to call an experienced sex crimes attorney who know all the possible defenses to statutory rape charges in California.

What is Statutory Rape in California?

In California, a statutory rape occurs when an individual has sexual intercourse with a person under 18 years of age. Often times, the sexual intercourse between the two persons is consensual. However, obtaining consent does not provide a valid defense to a statutory rape charge.

California Penal Code section 261.5 lists the elements of a statutory rape charge:

  • You had sexual intercourse with the victim;
  • You and the victim were not married at the time of the sexual intercourse; AND
  • The victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the intercourse.

It is important to note that “sexual intercourse” refers to any amount of vaginal penetration by the penis. You do not need to engage in sexual intercourse for an extended period of time in order to commit a statutory rape.

What are the Defenses to Statutory Rape Charges?

Being accused of a statutory rape can be a stressful experience. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of statutory rape. We are well-versed in all of the defenses to statutory rape and will fight by your side throughout the entire process. We have raised the following defenses successfully in past statutory rape cases:

  • You had a good-faith belief that the victim was 18 years of age or older
    • California recognizes your good-faith belief that the victim was an adult as a defense to a statutory rape charge. The jury will consider all available evidence
      Call Wallin & Klarich today if you are accused of statutory rape. We will get through this together.
      Our attorneys are familiar with all of the possible defenses to a statutory rape charge.

      in order to determine whether your belief was reasonable.

    • Example: In the scenario above, your belief that the victim was an adult at the time of the sexual intercourse may be considered objectively reasonably if she appeared physically mature and represented herself as an adult. In light of such evidence, your good-faith belief that the victim was an adult at the time of the intercourse may be a valid defense to a statutory rape charge.
  • You were married to the victim
    • You may not be convicted of statutory rape if you were legally married to the minor at the time of the sexual intercourse. In California, minors may marry if they receive judicial or parental consent.
    • Example: You engaged in sexual intercourse with your 17-year old wife in Orange County. You may not be convicted of statutory rape since you were married to the victim at the time of the sexual intercourse.
  • No sexual intercourse
    • A prosecutor may not convict you of statutory rape if you did not engage in sexual intercourse with the victim. Oral sex and “foreplay” will not trigger criminal liability under PC 261.5.
    • Example: You exchanged oral sex with your 16-year old girlfriend, but did not have sexual intercourse with her. You cannot be convicted under PC 261.5 since you did not penetrate her vagina with your penis.
  • Not a minor
    • You may not be convicted of statutory rape if the victim was 18 years of age or older at the time of the sexual intercourse.
    • Example: You had sexual intercourse with your girlfriend on her 18th birthday. You may not be convicted of statutory rape since she was a legal adult at the time of the sexual intercourse.

Contact Wallin & Klarich

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of statutory rape under PC 261.5. Our attorneys’ knowledge of the law and close attention to all of the facts ensure that you will receive the best possible outcome in your case. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Our offices are located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks. Call us today at (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will get through this together.

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