Among the various sex crimes, California Penal Code 261.5 PC specifically addresses statutory rape. This crime occurs when an individual, who is over the age of consent, has sexual intercourse with another individual who is a legal minor. While there are federal laws prohibiting against engaging in sexual acts with those not old enough to consent, each state can also set a minimum age for consent. In California, if someone who is older than 18 years of age engages in sexual intercourse with someone 17-years-old or younger, this is defined as statutory rape. A very important note is that even if the sexual intercourse was consensual between the adult and the minor, it is still a sex crime.
Punishments for Statutory Rape in California
According to the Penal Code, the punishments for engaging in this crime depend on the nature of the crime and the difference in age between the victim and the perpetrator. A defendant may face a misdemeanor charge if the minor is within a 3-year age difference, and with this comes either imprisonment in a county jail for one year or a state prison for up to four years. However, if the victim was at least ten years younger than the perpetrator, the crime becomes a felony charge with a state prison sentence of 15 years to life. Moreover, felony charges can escalate based on the sexual acts committed by the perpetrator.
Falsely Facing a Statutory Rape Charge?
If an individual is falsely accused of having committed statutory rape, it is imperative that they seek the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer. Charges may vary based on each case, and, if convicted, the punishments are severe. Attorneys at the Law Advocate Group, LLP. bring forth years of experience, and can present possible defenses such as proving that no sexual intercourse took place between the defendant and the victim.