Statutory Rape

If you are being investigated or charged with Statutory Rape, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Statutory Rape accusations (even when false) can ruin a person's reputation if they get out in the public; but talking to the police and attempting to make the issue quietly "go away" usually backfires. If you try to talk your way out of the situation, you might just provide law enforcement with the evidence they need to arrest and convict you. Statutory Rape cases are vigorously prosecuted in Los Angeles and a conviction can result in serious jail time. In addition to jail, a conviction can prevent you from obtaining gainful employment and a professional license. The criminal defense lawyers at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners have considerable experience in representing individuals accused of Statutory Rape. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.

California Law

According to California Penal Code 261.5, Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator and who is a minor (a person under age 18). Any amount of sexual penetration qualifies as "sexual intercourse" (ejaculation is not required). Unlike other rape charges, consent is not a defense to Statutory Rape. However, reasonable and actual belief that the victim was over the age of 18 can be a defense to the charge. In California, Statutory Rape is a "wobbler," which means that it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. If the victim is under 14, then the alleged crime will be prosecuted under the child molestation laws, which have significantly harsher penalties.

Punishments and Penalties

Whether Statutory Rape will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends primarily on the age difference between the victim and defendant, the circumstances of the alleged crime and the defendant's criminal background. How the offense is charged will affect the punishment and penalties. For example:

  • If there is an age difference of up to 3 years between the victim and defendant, the crime is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are punished by informal probation, a maximum one-year county jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • If the defendant is more than three years older than the victim, the crime is a wobbler and is punished by up to one year imprisonment in a county jail or by imprisonment in the state prison.
  • If the defendant is age 21 or older and the victim is younger than 16, the crime is a wobbler and is punished by up to 1 year imprisonment in a county jail or by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 3, or 4 years.

If the offense can be charged as a felony (perpetrator is either 3+ years older or age 21+ and victim is younger than 16) and the sexual intercourse was done for money or some other consideration, an additional 1 year term can be added to the prison sentence.

Although a person who violates California Penal Code 261.5 is not required to register as a sex offender, if the defendant is convicted of having oral or anal sex with a minor (Penal Code 288a and 286), he or she is subject to sex offender registration.

Los Angeles Statutory Rape Attorneys

If you are facing sex charges, choosing the right criminal defense attorney can make all the difference. We are knowledgeable attorneys and we bring over 70 years of combined legal experience to the table. Call and meet with us before you speak to law enforcement. Do not handle this on your own by speaking to the victim, her parents, or family members. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a criminal prosecution.

Call the offices of Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for a no-charge CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION and learn about your rights, defenses, and legal options.