Statutory Rape in Los Angeles
Unlawful Intercourse with a Minor
When most people hear the word "rape," they think of forced sexual intercourse. This is not always the case with statutory rape. This criminal offense is defined as the unlawful sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 years old. Anyone under 18 is considered a minor by law. This means that they are under the age of consent. According to the law, having sex with someone without consent can be charged as rape. Even if someone under the age of 18 consented to intercourse, the law does not recognize this consent as valid. Statutory rape charges can differ depending on the age of the victim, the age of the defendant and how many years are in between them. A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from our firm may be able to assist you if you've been charged with statutory rape, so do not hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as you learn of this type of allegation.
Sex with a Minor Penalties: California Penal Code § 261.5
The penalties for sex with a minor, just like other types of sex offenses, are serious. If convicted, you could even face sex offender registration. Statutory rape, the unlawful sexual conduct with someone under the age of 18, is a crime according to California Penal Code § 264.5.
According to California's statutory rape laws:
(b) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is not more than three years older or three years younger than the perpetrator, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(d) Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is
under 16 years of age is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.
There are also civil penalties for those convicted of statutory rape. Civil penalties, if awarded to the plaintiff, are a type of financial restitution for the offense. These civil penalties can range anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the nature of the act and the age of both the victim and the perpetrator. Typically, because statutory rape is often consensual, charges are only filed when someone fines out. It is not uncommon, for example, for a parent of the minor to find out and file charges against the perpetrator. For statutory rape charges to stand, the prosecution must prove three facts:
- That sexual intercourse took place between the defendant and the victim; and
- That the two individuals having intercourse were not married to each other at the time; and
- That the alleged victim of rape was not yet 18 at the time of the sexual intercourse.
One of the strongest defenses against this alleged sex offense is claiming that the perpetrator had no knowledge of the victim's status as a minor. If the defendant did not know or could not have reasonably known that the victim was under the age of 18, then the charges may be dropped. Another possible defense is claiming that there was in fact no sexual intercourse. Simply dating someone under the age of 18 is not enough to substantiate statutory rape allegations.
Contacting a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with the sex crime of sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18, then contact an attorney as soon as possible. At this point, you have the right to remain silent and should use this right until you counsel with a criminal defense attorney like those at our firm. Martinian & Associates can walk you through your charges and make sure you only say and do things that could benefit your case. To learn more about fighting statutory rape charges, please
contact our firm today.