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Sex with a minor is a serious charge in California that can affect the rest of your life. The offense you’re charged with varies depending on your age at the time of the incident and the age of your alleged victim.
Obtaining the best sex crimes defense attorney in Los Angeles is imperative to retaining your freedom. The law office of Okabe and Haushalter has spent years defending clients charged with having sex with a minor, giving us the knowledge and skills to successfully plead your case to the courts. First, let’s examine the charges you could face for this crime in California.
If you’re accused of a sex act with a minor under the age of 14, you can be charged with committing lewd acts with a minor. The following elements must be true to be charged with this crime:
Committing lewd acts with a minor is considered a felony in California. If you’re convicted of the crime, you can go to state prison for up to 8 years and pay up to $10,000 in fines. You will also receive a strike on your criminal record under the state’s Three Strikes Law and be required to register as a sex offender. That’s why working with the best sex crimes defense attorney in Los Angeles is so important.
Sex with a minor under the age of 18 is a criminal act called statutory rape, and it’s the charge most people think of when they think of sex with a minor. You can be charged with statutory rape if you have intercourse with a minor you are not married to.
Some people believe that consent is a defense against a statutory rape charge, but legally, minors can’t consent to sex with anyone. This is true whether the partner is over 18, or still a minor themselves. However, age does make a difference in the consequences you face for the act.
If the alleged victim is less than three years younger than you, the crime is a misdemeanor. You may receive up to 364 days in jail and be asked to pay a fine up to $1,000.
If the alleged victim is 16 or 17 years old and more than three years younger than you, it may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanor convictions are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A felony conviction holds a punishment of up to 3 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
If you’re 21 years old or older and your alleged victim is under the age of 16, the crime is a felony carrying a sentence of up to 4 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Statutory rape convictions don’t require you to register as a sex offender, but the judge can add registration to your sentence at their discretion based on the facts of the case.
If you or a loved one are accused of having sex with a minor, it’s important to contact a sex crimes defense attorney in Los Angeles immediately. The law firm of Okabe and Haushalter has the experience needed to successfully fight the charges and protect your future. Contact us today!