The crimes of statutory rape and rape are often confused. Although they both involve sexual acts, these crimes are very different. Let’s examine how the crime of rape is different than the crime of statutory rape.
Defining the Crimes of Rape and Statutory Rape
Under California Penal Code Section 261, rape is a very serious crime that requires the accused to have engaged in “nonconsensual sexual intercourse accomplished by means of threat, force, or fraud.”
To be convicted of rape, the prosecution must prove that you engaged in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim and the victim did not consent to that sexual act. It could be that the victim said no to sexual intercourse and you used force or fear to make the victim perform the act, or you tricked or coerced the alleged victim to perform the act.
This is very different from statutory rape. Under California Penal Code Section 261.5, statutory rape is engaging in intercourse with any person under the age of 18.
So, in a statutory rape case, the alleged victim could have been a willing participant in the sexual act that led to the criminal case. However, under California law, minors are not legally permitted to consent to sexual activity. Therefore, if you engage in sexual intercourse with a minor, you could face statutory rape charges.
The major difference between rape and statutory rape is that the element of consent is irrelevant in statutory rape, but it is key in cases involving rape.
Punishment for Rape and Statutory Rape
Statutory rape is punished much less harshly compared to rape because the law recognizes that statutory rape typically involves willingness by the victim. Unlike rape, statutory rape can be charged as misdemeanor or a felony. How you will be charged depends upon the circumstances of your case.
The penalties for statutory rape range from less than one year in county jail to a maximum of four years in state prison.
On the other hand, rape is punished more severely because it is always committed against the will of the victim. Rape is a felony offense, and it typically is considered a “violent crime.” It carries a sentence of up to eight years in state prison.
Contact the Rape Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you have been accused of rape or statutory rape, you should contact an experienced rape defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled lawyers have been successfully defending clients who have been accused of rape for over 35 years. Our lawyers can use their experience and knowledge to help you obtain the best possible result in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.