Statutory rape laws in California make it illegal for anyone over the age of 18 to have sex with anyone younger than 18. If a person is not yet 18, he or she cannot give consent. It equates to statutory rape. Because each state writes its own laws, it’s up to everyone to know the laws in the state. However, as sex crimes attorneys, we can tell you that for example, in some states, it is not necessarily illegal for a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old to engage in consensual sex. Still, in California, it is illegal, and the penalties are harsh if one is convicted.
The penalties for statutory rape are determined case by case. Factors such as the ages of the parties involved, in California, they are the “defendant” and the “victim.”The state of California notes:
Unlawful sexual intercourse includes sexual intercourse or penetration between a minor who is 17 or younger and a defendant of any age. Further, unlawful oral copulation is defined as and includes oral sex between a minor who is 17 or younger and a defendant of any age. Sexual penetration is defined as and includes sexual intercourse or penetration between a minor who is 14 or 15 and a defendant who is at least ten years older than the minor. Another similar crime to sexual penetration is lewd and lascivious acts upon a child. This includes sexual contact between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant of any age. This offense also includes contact between a minor who is 14 or 15 and a defendant who is at least ten years older than the minor.
Note that depending on the ages of those involved, there are other crimes that might be added. Further, these crimes can be tried either as misdemeanors or felonies in California. If it is indeed a misdemeanor, the punishment can include fines of up to $1,000, probation, one year in jail, and most likely, it will be a combination of all three.
On the other hand, a felony conviction usually includes at least 16 months in jail. Note that the sentence can be up to four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
One of the most important changes in sex laws in many years was the sex offender registry. Anyone convicted of sexual crimes in California, along with their jail sentences, fines, and other punishments, they must also register as a sex offender, and they will likely face being tracked by GPS potentially for the rest of their lives.
There is what’s known as a marital exemption for statutory rape that allows a married couple to have consensual sex, even if it were illegal otherwise. Marriage eliminates the incapability of consent. That is important, but it is also important to note that even if a couple is married, and if the sex would be illegal if they were not married, if either spouse says he or she was forced to have sex with his or her spouse, that spouse could be charged with forcible rape.
For more information on this crime, speak to our criminal defense attorneys today.