The crime of statutory rape can be confusing for some people because it involves an act in which you may think you have the consent of your sexual partner. However, if your sexual partner is under the age of 18, he or she is not able to provide legal consent to sex.
Our skilled statutory rape defense attorneys have been successfully defending clients accused of statutory rape for more than 35 years. Let’s examine the crime of statutory rape as defined under PC 261.5 and what acts constitute statutory rape.
Statutory Rape Charges (PC 261.5)
To convict you of statutory rape under California Penal Code Section 261.5, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements of the crime:
- You had sexual intercourse with the victim
- You and the victim were not married at the time of the intercourse; and
- At the time of the intercourse, the victim was under the age of 18
Most of these elements are self-explanatory, but determining whether sexual intercourse occurred between you and the alleged victim can be difficult.
In many statutory rape cases, whether the defendant is found guilty will come down to the word of the defendant versus the word of the alleged victim. However, the prosecution may be able to prove that sexual intercourse occurred between you and the victim by uncovering DNA evidence, such as semen or pubic hair found on the alleged victim’s genitals. Your statutory rape defense lawyer may be able to offer some kind of alternative explanation if you are accused of this crime.
Punishment for Statutory Rape
The punishment for a statutory rape conviction depends upon your age and the age of the victim. If you are no more than three years older than the victim, the crime is a misdemeanor, which carries up to 364 days in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
If you are at least three years older than the victim and the victim is 16 or 17 years old, the crime is a wobbler offense, meaning it is up to the district attorney to decide whether to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges against you. A misdemeanor conviction carries the same penalties as above, while a felony is punishable by up to three years in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
If the victim is younger than 16 years old and you are 21 years of age or older, you face felony charges. This form statutory rape carries up to four years in county jail and fines of up to $10,000.
Consent is Not a Defense to Statutory Rape
It is important to note that consent is not a valid legal defense to the crime of statutory rape. Minors under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse. Some valid defenses to statutory rape are:
- You had a good faith belief that the alleged victim was 18 or older
- You did not engage in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim; and
- The alleged victim was not a minor
Our skilled statutory rape defense attorneys can defend you if you are accused of this crime. Contact our law firm today at (877) 466-5245 so we can discuss the details of your case and determine how we may be able to help you.
Contact the Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of statutory rape, you should speak to an experienced sex crimes attorney at Wallin & Klarich right away. Our skilled and knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing statutory rape charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.