The worst thing that could happen is that you can serve a prison sentence. Nobody wants to go to prison, especially being labeled as a person who has committed a sex crime. That makes it dangerous for the person. That's probably the worst thing that could happen related to a statutory rape charge in Los Angeles.
Also, the prosecutors can try to make you have to register as a sex offender. Typically, statutory rape is one of the few crimes you do not have to register as a sex offender. However, the prosecutors can make that part of your probationary term.
Sex Offender Registration – PC 290
So, if they agree to give you probation instead of prison, they could provide you several different sentences, including anywhere from 1 to 365 days in the county jail of Los Angeles.
They can also make part of the terms and conditions of your probation that you have to register as a sex offender just during the probationary period. So, that's another ramification in addition to prison time that you could be facing.
That registration comes with a lot of restrictions. You could potentially have to be put on Megan's Law website where they've got your picture on the website. People can look up the fact that you've been convicted of a sex offense.
So, that's a huge potential issue related to what can happen in these statutory rape situations. You would probably also be ordered to stay away from the person you had sex with. That's another ramification. You could also be given county jail time. These are all things that your attorney would negotiate.
Defenses for Statutory Rape Charges – Penal Code 261.5
You certainly can fight a statutory rape charge, but you're going to have to be able to come up with facts and circumstances that are believable, and that would amount to a defense in a statutory rape case.
So basically, one of the biggest arguments that I see in these situations is, I didn't know that the person was under the age of 18. Usually, we see these statutory rape cases; the alleged victim is consenting and agreeing to the sex, and then somehow, somebody figures it out.
I've seen situations where the person gets pregnant, and the birth certificate issue arises at the hospital. Now the father is getting arrested because they realize that the woman giving birth was under the age of 18 at the time of conception of the child.
Now, they'll go after the father and arrest him and charge him with statutory rape. That's what we see a lot of times.
There is a possibility of having a defense — I didn't know that the other person was under the age of 18 when I had sexual intercourse with them. That could happen in a lot of different ways.
The person could lie to the defendant and tell him that they were 18 years or older; just by their look — they could look like they're 18 years or older; they could have a fake I.D.
There are many different scenarios, especially now with the internet and all these dating websites — you have to be at least 18 to be one — so, a lot of times, the defendant argues that I was on a site trying to meet people. That site had the requirement that you had to be at least 18 years old.
Sexual Consent is Not a Valid Defense to Statutory Rape
Usually, the police try to counter some of these defenses in text messages, emails, or communications online between the alleged victim and the defendant. There are discussions specifically about the victim being under the age of 18.
The defendant acknowledges that, and now the prosecutors can argue that this defendant knew or reasonably should have known under the circumstances that the alleged victim was under the age of 18. Therefore, even if it was consensual, it's still statutory rape versus regular rape where the person doesn't consent, and the defendant forces himself on the alleged victim.
If you're being investigated or charged with statutory rape in Los Angeles, you've come to the right place because I've been doing this for 26 years. I've handled a lot of these cases.
I know exactly how to handle them, depending on what evidence the prosecutors have and what type of defense we might mount that will likely dictate what kind of a strategy we will take to properly defend you in statutory rape prosecution.
Hedding Law Firm is a top-rated sex crime defense lawyer in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.