Have You Been Charged With Statutory Rape In The State Of California?

Tully & Weiss Experienced Statutory Rape Lawyers Know Your Best Defense.

In today’s world, California teens are frequently sexually active and the crime of statutory rape occurs all the time. Unfortunately, this means otherwise completely law-abiding individuals with bright futures end up being charged, incarcerated, paying fines and facing a rocky road ahead.

Like other sex crime charges in California, statutory rape cases often arise from false allegations from jealous ex-partners, angry parents or confusion about the facts, and innocent people can find themselves in court facing statutory rape charges.

Having a lawyer who specializes in defending against California statutory rape charges is the key to safeguarding your rights and protecting your future. A skilled statutory rape lawyer knows the most applicable legal defenses that will help you combat a charge of statutory rape.

At Tully & Weiss know it can be challenging to make this call, but our expertise is essential to the successful outcome of your case and we are here to help.

Contact an Experienced Tully & Weiss Criminal Lawyer Today:
Contra Costa 925.229.9700 | Alameda 510.269.9227 | North Cal 530.776.0840

What Is A Charge Of Statutory Rape?  Unlawful Sex with Someone under 18

Under California Penal Code 261.5, statutory rape, also known as “unlawful sex with a minor,” refers to any time a person engages in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18. It is important to note that this charge applies regardless of whether the sex was consensual, and even applies when the minor him or herself initiates the sexual act.

Early intervention is vital to the success of a statutory rape case. Our attorneys understand that the facts of each case and client situation are unique.  We will customize our approach and defense to the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. 

Located in Contra Costa County, California, Tully & Weiss statutory rape defense attorneys provide counsel in Santa Clara County, Contra Costa and Alameda County, and throughout the state.

Call us to Speak with a Highly Experienced Attorney who will listen to Your Story and Let You Know Your Best Defense:
Contra Costa 925.229.9700 | Alameda 510.269.9227 | North Cal 530.776.0840

What Are The Penalties For A Charge Of Statutory Rape in California?

If you are charged with statutory rape, penalties can be damaging and costly.  Under California Penal Code 261.5, three sets of age-dependent conditions determine whether the statutory rape offense will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

  1. If you are no more than 3 years older than the alleged victim, statutory rape is always a misdemeanor.
  2. If you are more than 3 years older than the alleged victim, the offense may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Here, the facts of the case and any prior criminal history will be considered to determine the severity of the charge.
  3. If you are 21 years of age or older and the alleged victim is under 16 years of age at the time of sexual intercourse, the offense may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Here, the facts of the case and any prior criminal history will be considered to determine the severity of the charge. In this case, if a felony charge applies, the penalties are much more severe.

CA Penalties for Misdemeanor Statutory Rape

If you are charged with misdemeanor statutory rape, the potential penalties include:

  • Informal probation,
  • Up to 1 year in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Penalties for CA Felony Statutory Rape

If you are more than 3 years older than the alleged victim and are charged with felony statutory rape, the potential penalties include:

  • Formal or informal probation and up to 1 year in county jail, or
  • Sixteen months to 3 years’ incarceration

If a defendant was 21 years of age or older and the "victim" was under 16 years old at the time of the crime, the potential felony penalties include:

  • Two to 4 years’ incarceration, and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Civil Penalties for Statutory Rape

People charged with statutory rape in the State of California who are over the age of 18 may also face civil penalties in addition to the criminal penalties listed above. Like criminal penalties, civil penalties are also highly dependent on the age difference.

  • If the “victim” is less than 2 years younger than the defendant, a fine of $2,000.
  • If the “victim is at least 2 years younger than the defendant, a fine of $5,000.
  • If the “victim” is at least 3 years younger than the defendant, a fine of $10,000.
  • If the “victim” is under 16 and the defendant is over 21, a fine of $25,000.

It is critical to your future that you have an experienced statutory rape defense attorney on your side. Please don’t try to go it alone or hire a general defense lawyer with little experience in defending statutory rape cases. In addition to facing incarceration and outrageous monetary fines, statutory rape charges can irreparably damage your reputation and future education and employment opportunities.

Contact us today to protect your rights and preserve your future:
Contra Costa 925.229.9700 | Alameda 510.269.9227 | North Cal 530.776.0840

Does Statutory Rape in California Require Registration as a Sex Offender?

Fortunately, under California Penal Code 261.5, a conviction of statutory rape does not require registration as a sex offender (290.28 PC). However, if distributing photographs, forced sexual acts, or lewd and lascivious acts with a minor were involved, and you are charged with these crimes, registration as a sex offender is required by law.

Our expert and specific attention to statutory rape cases differs significantly from general-focus criminal law firms. The Tully & Weiss statutory rape defense attorneys have an exhaustive knowledge of California legal procedure, decades of criminal defense experience, and an exceptional reputation for innovative defense strategies. We go above and beyond in our dedication to defending our clients against statutory rape charges and work diligently to keep your record clean.

Contact us today:
Contra Costa 925.229.9700 | Alameda 510.269.9227 | North Cal 530.776.0840

What are some Strategies for Defending a Charge of Statutory Rape?

If you or a loved one are charged with statutory rape in the state of California, a number of defenses may be available.

Disproving the charge: In criminal law, the prosecution is required to prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt (greater than 50:50). Your criminal lawyer will work to show that at least one of the required elements was not present. According to California Penal Code 261.5, in order to succeed in a conviction of statutory rape, the prosecutor must prove all three elements of the crime:

(1) That the defendant had sexual intercourse with another person,
(2) That the persons involved in the act were not married to each other at the time, and
(3) That the alleged victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense.

Since the age of the parties plays a crucial part in sentencing, the prosecutor will be required to prove how old the parties were at the time the intercourse took place. Under California law, a person is deemed to be one year older at precisely 12:01am on their birthday.

Mistake of fact: If you honestly and reasonably believed the minor was over 18, statutory rape does not apply under California law. Evidence supporting this defense could include statements the minor made claiming they were over age 18, the minor’s appearance or attire, or if you met the minor in an adults-only environment.

False accusation: Because charges of sex crimes are so harmful to people’s futures, angry, jealous or vengeful individuals often choose to falsely accuse innocent people. False accusation could be an applicable defense if you feel that someone (a coworker, neighbor, ex-partner, partner’s parent) wanted to cause you harm by accusing you of engaging in sex with a minor and reporting these falsehoods to police.

There are few matters of criminal law that have as many wrongful convictions as statutory rape charges. Make sure you’re not one of them. If you or someone you know is facing a charge of statutory rape in the state of California, please call us for a free, confidential consultation by phone or in-person:
Contra Costa 925.229.9700 | Alameda 510.269.9227 | North Cal 530.776.0840

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