Statutory Rape Laws in California - Penal Code 261.5
LEARN WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND A STATUTORY RAPE CASE
Having defended these cases for the past 25 years I know exactly what is on the line and what needs to be done in order to avoid going to prison, having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life and some of the other damaging consequences that a statutory rape case can bring.
In order to best defend these cases, we need to take an accounting of the good factor that we have on our side and the ones that we will need to deal with the judge and prosecutor with.
The more good factors that we can show are on our side, and the better we can counter the bad factors, the more likely we will be successful in the defense of your case.
- What Is Considered Statutory Rape Under California State Law?
- Unlawful Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object
- What Determines If You Get Prison Time in a Statutory Rape Case?
- What are the Penalties for Consensual Sex with a Minor?
The factors that I am talking about relate to your likelihood of doing this again (recidivism), the differences in ages between the two individuals involved in the case, whether the crime was consensual or not and amount of times the two parties have been involved in a sexual way.
Many times I see that the parties have both agreed to engage in sexual activities and the younger person's parents have found out about their relationship and contacted the authorities.
Again, depending on the age differences between the parties and the age of the victim, this will likely determine how the judge and prosecutor feel about the case.
Having a seasoned sex crime attorney who has handled many statutory rape type cases is crucial for your success.
SHOWING YOU ARE INNOCENT IN A STATUTORY RAPE ALLEGATION
One big element that the prosecutors must prove in a statutory rape case is that you knew or reasonably should have known that the alleged victim was under the age of 18.
Sometimes the alleged victim will lie about their age and the defendant will have a legitimate argument that they did not know they where with someone who was under the age of consent.
Other times, the victim will simply be too young for a jury to believe that the defendant did not know their age.
This is an issue you must discuss with your sex crime defense attorney, so you make the right decision in the defense of your case.
Another issue that arises in statutory rape cases is that the age of the two parties is very close and they met each other while they were both under age.
Then one of them turns 18 and at some point the police are alerted to their relationship.
Under these circumstances, the prosecutors typically do not like to get involved with these cases and it will take the right circumstances for them to actually prosecutor the party who is over 18.
CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS FOR PC 261.5 STATUTORY RAPE
In a prosecutor for statutory rape under California Penal Code 261.5 PC, the prosecutors must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction (CALCRIM 1102):
- defendant was involved with an act of sexual penetration with the other person, typically sexual intercourse (kissing and touch would not be enough to meet this element);
- victim was under the age of 18 years old at the time of the penetration; and
- defendant knew or reasonable should have known that the victim was under the age of 18 years old.
In order to be convicted of statutory rape the prosecutors will need to be able to meet all of their elements or the jury will find the defendant not guilty.
When I meet with clients, we go over all of the elements and determine whether we believe the prosecutors can prove their case or not.
Once we know the strength of the other sides evidence, then we can start to make the decisions that will set the course of the defense in the case.
This first meeting is crucial to the success defense of a statutory rape case and it is a meeting where everyone must be straight forward and honest, so we can make the right decisions right from the beginning of the case.
Sex crime charges are serious charges that can lead to permanent marks on your record. If you or someone you know is being charged with a sex crime, contact our sex crime defense lawyers so we can get on board with you and help you.
If you are specifically facing statutory rape charges, our sex crime lawyers can and will help you.
There are a number of defenses we can assert on your behalf and our aggressive legal strategy and persistence helps us get the favorable results we are aiming for.
What are the Penalties for Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape, involves having sex with a minor, whether consensual or nonconsensual, and is known as a wobbler, meaning that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you are no more than three years older than the victim and are being charged with statutory rape, the offense is charged as a misdemeanor.
If you are more than three years older or if you are over 21 and the victim under 16, then the offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you or someone you know is facing statutory rape charges, do not waste any time and contact our criminal defense lawyers for a free face to face consultation.
We will discuss all your options and use all our skill, knowledge, and experience to get you the best possible results.
The protection of your legal rights and freedom is our main objective. Contact our sex crime defense attorneys today!