Statutory Rape in California

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What Is Considered Statutory Rape in California?

Statutory rape happens when an individual over the consenting age has sex with someone below the age of consent. Age of consent means the age a person can legally agree to have sex. In the United States, every state has the ability to set their own age of consent. In California, the age of consent is 18 years old.

How is Statutory Rape Defined in California?

Statutory rape is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with an individual under 18 years old who was not the defendant’s spouse at the time of the intercourse. 

Does a Prosecutor Have to Prove Anything to Convict Me of This Crime?

Yes, to convict a defendant of statutory rape, a prosecutor has to prove three elements: 

Are Rape and Statutory Rape the Same Crime?

No. Rape is considered having unlawful sexual intercourse with a person without their consent without regard of the age of the victim. Whereas statutory rape focuses on the age of the victim. For example, if the defendant is more than 3 years older than the victim, then they may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

Can Statutory Rape Be a Misdemeanor? 

Yes. A defendant no more than three years older than the victim will always be charged with misdemeanor statutory rape. 

Can Statutory Rape Be a Felony? 

Yes. If the defendant is older than 21 years old and the victim is 16 years old or younger, it’s felony statutory rape. 

What Does it Mean When Statutory Rape is a Wobbler?

A wobbler is a crime that can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the prosecutor. Statutory rape is considered a wobbler when the defendant is at least three years older than the victim. The victim is 16 years old or older. 

What’s the Punishment for Statutory Rape?

If charged with misdemeanor statutory rape, the defendant may face probation, up to 1 year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If charged with felony statutory rape, then the defendant can face probation with up to 1 year in jail or a range of 16 months to possibly 4 years in prison. In addition, they may face a fine of up to $10,000. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Yes, contact a criminal lawyer immediately to begin working on your case.

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Last Modified: 06-17-2016 11:32 AM PDT

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