Rape is defined as nonconsensual sexual intercourse, with sexual intercourse primarily occurring at the time penetration of a male organ has taken place. Rape is committed, often, with the use of fear and/or force. One variation of rape, known as “statutory rape,” makes it against the law to have sexual intercourse with a minor. A minor typically is someone under the age of 18, which also is known as the “age of consent.” Sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor is considered “statutory rape,” even if the minor consented to the encounter.
California Penal Code 261.5 and “Statutory Rape”
Under California Penal Code 261.5, “statutory rape” specifically takes place in the state when any person engages in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18. “Statutory rape also can be referred to in California as “unlawful sexual intercourse” or “unlawful sex with a minor.” It is important to understand, it is a crime – “statutory rape” – to have sexual intercourse with a minor even if the minor fully participates in the act. This means that a 19-year-old male can be charged with “statutory rape” in California for engaging in sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend, who lives in his neighborhood, under California Penal Code 261.5. Penal Code 261.5 also is known as the “California statutory rape law.”
Punishment for Penal Code 261.5 Violation
In California, someone believed to be guilty of “statutory rape” may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the details of the case. In accordance with Penal Code 261.5, someone convicted of violating the “California statutory rape law” could face up to four years in a state prison. It is important to note, the age difference between the adult and the minor often is factor into the severity of the punishment.
How to Defend a “Statutory Rape” Charge
While consent to sex is not a defense a lawyer can use to defend a “statutory rape” charge, there are several other legal defenses a skilled California criminal defense attorney could use on behalf of his or her client. One such defense is that the defendant truly thought the victim was over the age of 18. Maybe, the victim portrayed him or herself to be over 18 and did not appear to be “under the age of consent.” If this defense is proven in court, then the defendant can’t be convicted of violating Penal Code 261.5. Another defense to a “statutory rape” charge is that a false accusation was made against the defendant. Perhaps, a jealous ex-girlfriend, who is a minor, is claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her 19-year-old boyfriend to get back at him for breaking up with her. It is not uncommon for an accusation of “statutory rape” to result from jealousy or anger.
Get an Attorney
If you are facing a criminal charge for “statutory rape” for violating California Penal Code 261.5, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Know professional help through the Law Office of Peter Blair is just a phone call away. Set up a free consultation to discuss a defense for the charge of “statutory rape” against you.