At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we can help you defend yourself when you have been charged with various sex crimes. If you have been charged with the crime of statutory rape against another party, you may wonder how you can defend yourself. Is that person’s consent a valid reason for the crime to take place? Will you be able to use this defense to get out of your charges? We can help.
Gaining a Better Understanding of Statutory Rape
Statutory rape is not to be confused with rape, which is a forced act upon somebody else. Instead, the victim and the defendant tend to be close in cases of statutory rape, sometimes calling themselves a couple even though the act is illegal. According to California law, if you have engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor under 18, then you could be charged with statutory rape. These charges will only hold if actual intercourse was involved, the victim was under 18, and the perpetrator and victim were not married when the crime occurred. This is even true in cases where the minor verbally agreed to have sexual intercourse – it is still considered a crime.
Statutory Rape: A “Wobbler” Under California Law
Statutory rape is considered a “wobbler” in California, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on what happened. It will typically be charged as a misdemeanor if the defendant engaged in intercourse with a minor who is not more than three years younger. It would usually be a misdemeanor or felony if the minor is not more than three years younger and not younger than 16. A felony conviction could result if the alleged defendant is over 21 and engages in sexual intercourse with a minor younger than 16.
Because it is difficult to use any type of defense in this case, you should be aware of what penalties you may face for a statutory rape charge. Not only could you risk mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender, but you could also spend up to four years in jail for a felony statutory rape charge as well as up to $25,000 in fines. Regardless, you should always speak to a skilled defense attorney to get the best results in your case. We are here for you in your time of need.