Statutory rape charges can be devastating for your future. If you face these types of accusations, you need an experienced Los Angeles statutory rape defense attorney fighting for your rights. That’s where the criminal defense lawyers at Simmrin Law Group can help.
We take the side of the accused and defend them from penalties. Statutory rape cases are complex, but our lawyers are experts in California sex crime laws. We start by providing a free case review to determine the most appropriate legal action. From there, we create a strong defense and fight to reduce or eliminate your charges.
What Qualifies As Statutory Rape in Los Angeles?
California defines statutory rape as any instance when someone under the age of 18 participates in sexual intercourse. Eighteen is California’s legal age of consent, and all statutory rape cases are treated as sex crimes that can lead to prison sentences.
Statutory rape, also known as unlawful sex with a minor, occurs whether or not:
- The intercourse was forced
- The underage party consented
- The underage party initiated the sexual contact
Statutory rape laws were designed to protect minors, but they have many flaws. The truth is that many teenagers are sexually active, both with each other and with adults. Unfortunately, ethical, well-intentioned individuals face statutory rape allegations all the time, but our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are ready to step in to defend them.
For a free legal consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
Defining Sexual Intercourse in a California Statutory Rape Case
Not all intimate acts count as statutory rape. California penal codes follow a strict definition for statutory rape charges, and therefore, the action must include penetration of the vagina or genitalia by the penis. It does not matter how slight the penetration or whether or not ejaculation occurred.
By this definition, many forms of sex, including intercourse between two women or oral sex, do not constitute statutory rape. However, all sexual contact involving minors is illegal in California, and oral copulation with a minor is a separate crime with a different set of penalties.
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Examples of Statutory Rape Cases in California
A variety of parties can bring statutory rape charges. For example, in California, statutory rape can occur between:
- Two underage individuals: Two high school sweethearts dating decide to have sex, despite both being under the state’s legal age of consent.
- College and high school students: A twenty-something has sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old high school senior at a college party.
- Office workers and interns: An adult office worker has a sexual relationship with an underage intern.
Many other cases result in a statutory rape charge, including some in which the age gap is much more significant, or a younger minor is involved. But the L.A. statutory rape defense lawyers at Simmrin Law Group believe you deserve a strong defense no matter the circumstances of your case.
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Is It Statutory Rape If I Didn’t Know the Person Was Under 18?
If you “honestly and reasonably believed” the minor was over 18, then you may get your statutory rape charges dismissed. Statutory rape only occurs when the guilty party was aware that they were engaging in sexual relations with a minor. Our criminal defense lawyers can prove that the victim lied about their age to clear your name of all statutory rape charges.
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Are There Exceptions to California’s Statutory Rape Laws?
The state of California prohibits all sexual contact with or between anyone under the legal age of consent (18). However, there is one exception: marriage. Under California Penal Code 261.5 PC, sexual intercourse with a minor is acceptable if the underage party is the defendant’s legal spouse.
Keep in mind that being in a consensual romantic relationship, no matter for how long, with a minor is not enough. In order to engage in sexual behaviors with a person under 18, you must possess a legal wedding certificate for the state of California.
Penalties You Face for a Los Angeles Statutory Rape Claim
Statutory rape can be a misdemeanor or felony. A Los Angeles judge will use factors of your case to determine whether your crime constitutes a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The penalties for a misdemeanor include up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. Felony statutory rape carries:
- Up to one year in county jail
- 16 months to three years in state prison
- Two to four years in state prison (if you are over 21 and the victim was under 16)
- Up to $10,000 in fines
You may also have to pay civil fines, also known as restitution, to the victim’s family. Statutory rape restitution can be anywhere between $2,000 and $25,000.
Age determines the type of charges you receive. If you are within three years of age of the minor, then you may obtain misdemeanor charges. If the age gap is more than three years, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges. However, if the minor is under 16 and you are more than three years older, you will receive felony charges and severe punishments.
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if I Am Convicted of Statutory Rape?
No, California’s statutory rape laws do not require sex offender registration. However, if you are convicted, you will be required to disclose your “unlawful sex with a minor” condemnation on job applications, college admission forms, and other legal paperwork.
Therefore, the conviction can continue to affect your life and hinder you from new opportunities. That’s why it is crucial to partner with a qualified statutory rape defense lawyer in Los Angeles and fight every sex crime charge you face.
Does California Follow Romeo and Juliet Laws?
Romeo and Juliet laws provide defenses for statutory rape charges. They apply when the minor and the accused are close in age, which is why these rulings are also known as “close-in-age exceptions.” Romeo and Juliet laws help defendants drop their charges, reduce penalties, seek expungement, and avoid sex offender registration.
While about half of all US states can call upon Romeo and Juliet laws, California is not one of them. However, that does not make statutory rape defenses impossible. It just means you need to partner with a qualified statutory rape defense attorney to ensure legal protection.
For example, while California courts will not recognize Romeo and Juliet laws, they will consider age when determining statutory rape punishments. If the minor is less than three years younger than the accused, the defendant can face misdemeanor charges rather than a felony conviction.
How Our Lawyers Fight Statutory Rape Charges
In a standard rape defense, you can claim consent to fight your charges. However, California forbids all forms of sexual contact with minors, regardless if they provided consent or not. Therefore, our L.A. statutory rape defense attorneys use false accusations and mistaken age to leverage your charges.
False accusations can occur intentionally or by mistake. They can be the consequence of personal malice, financial incentives, or jealousy between you and the alleged victim.
Our criminal defense lawyers investigate your case to determine if a false accusation defense applies. We use credible evidence to produce an alibi that proves you were somewhere else during the alleged statutory rape. The prosecutor must have enough evidence to deny the alibi and confirm that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
You may admit to sexual intercourse with the victim if you honestly believed they were not a minor. Our sex crime defense lawyers will collect evidence to prove that the victim lied about their age. For example, we may present text messages, proof of fake identification, or photos of the victim at a venue reserved for people over 18.
Why Choose Our Lawyers to Handle Your Statutory Rape Defense
At Simmrin Law Group, criminal defense is our speciality. We are dedicated to the underdogs because we understand how fighting criminal charges can feel like an uphill battle. But the attorneys at our criminal defense law firm will stand up for your rights and ensure you receive a fair trial.
We help you navigate every step of the legal process. From the initial arraignment to your court hearing, our legal defenders will work tirelessly to secure justice for your case. We understand how devastating statutory rape accusations can be, and we do whatever we can to get your charges reduced or eliminated.
Our Los Angeles criminal defenders have helped countless adults fight charges for unlawful sexual activity involving minors, and we are prepared to handle your case. From preparing documents to securing text messages to use as evidence, let our skilled attorneys take on your lawsuit.
Work With Our Los Angeles Statutory Rape Defense Lawyers
You can trust the Los Angeles statutory rape defense lawyers at Simmrin Law Group to protect your rights and help get your life back. We provide a strong defense and help you navigate every step of the legal process. Get started now by contacting us for your free statutory rape defense case review.