For those people who are charged with California Penal Code 261.5 PC statutory rape, they are facing the stigma of a conviction for this offense and also potential sex registration as part of their probation.
By definition, rape involves having sexual intercourse with someone without their consent. In California, 18 is the age of consent, meaning anyone under 18 is not considered legally old enough to consent to sexual activity fully.
Thus, if you're accused of engaging in sexual relations with someone under 18, regardless of age, you may be charged with statutory rape under Penal Code 261.5 PC. Unfortunately, these laws regarding statutory rape are both complex and convoluted because they typically refer to both parties giving consent to sex.
PC 261.5 statutory rape laws make it a crime to have sex with anyone under 18, but not all prosecutions are the same.
They may even face jail or prison time, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the alleged victim's age versus their age, and if they have any prior convictions for sex offenses. That would certainly not bode well for them.
So, to get the best defense, we first sit down and talk about the case to decide whether we have a defense.
For example, we might be able to argue that the alleged victim looks like she's 18 years old or older. The defendant, you, didn't know she was under age, because maybe she showed a fake ID, for example, or perhaps she was on a website where you had to be at least 18 years old, and she didn't indicate she was under the age of 18, whatever the case may be.
Fight the Case or Negotiate a Plea Bargain
So, first, we must decide whether we can beat the case. If we can, we'll set up an investigation. Then, we'll set up a defense to be able to go to a jury trial and win.
If any motions need to be filed to attack some of the evidence, we'll certainly do that. It's not a cookie-cutter situation. It's not a situation where we will do the same defense in every case. We have to look at your case specifically and see what, if any, defenses make sense.
If, on the other hand, they've got the evidence against you, you admit via text that you acknowledged that the person is under 18, for example:
- they've got you having sex with the person;
- maybe they've got DNA;
- maybe they've got some video evidence;
- maybe you even admitted it to them,
So, now we have to figure out a mitigation plan to get character letters and information about you, your family, your life, your job, and your future.
Review of Criminal Record
Hopefully, you have no criminal record because having one puts you in a more complex situation, especially if you've got a criminal record for sex-related offenses.
This is because then they're going to want to send you to jail, make you register as a sex offender, and do several other things that are going to put you in a bad position.
Because realize, when it comes to statutory rape, the prosecutors and police, and even judges, are trying to protect victims of crime. They are trying to protect those under 18 who can't consent to sexual activity. So that's another thing that people get confused with.
Sexual Consent is Not a Defense
They make the argument, well, the person consented. Try to say the person who is the one that came to me. I didn't go to them.
That won't work with the prosecutors because the law says somebody under 18 in California cannot consent to sexual activity with you or anybody else.
Therefore, mounting arguments that they asked for it, for example, is just going to anger the prosecutor. They're going to see that you don't realize that regardless of whether they asked for it or not, you can't be the one to get involved in this type of stuff because this is bad for the young woman who is involved with the case.
So, you must realize from the outset that that will be the argument against you and craft your defense accordingly.
You've come to the right place. I've been doing this now for 30 years. If you need the best or are charged with statutory rape, pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.