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Okabe & Haushalter

Los Angeles Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer

Los Angeles Statutory Rape Defense Attorney

Arrested For Unlawful Sex With A Minor?

Statutory rape is the act of having sex with an individual who is under the age of consent. In most cases of statutory rape, the sex was consensual (not forced) but by law, it is viewed as rape because at least one of the individuals involved was under the age of consent. What is the age of consent? In the state of California, the age of consent is 18. At this age, the law views an individual as capable of making their own choices and discerning for themselves. In these types of cases, the underage individual is always the victim. This is true even if it was the minor who initiated.

False allegations can be common with this particular type of sex crime, and possibly allegations that stem from revenge. Statutory rape is a sex crime just like other types of rape or abuse, so it should be dealt with very seriously. If you are being accused of statutory rape, do not hesitate to get in touch with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our firm. Okabe & Haushalter has a national reputation for the effective representation of those accused of sex crimes such as this. Our goal is to get our clients’ charges reduced or dismissed outright.

California Penal Code 261.5

The statutory rape laws in California are detailed in § 261 of the penal code. Subsection five is particularly lengthy and details the penalties for various scenarios involving sex with a minor.

According to 261.5(a) of the penal code,

Unlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator if the person is a minor. For the purposes of this section, a “minor” is a person under the age of 18 years and an “adult” is a person who is at least 18 years of age.

The statute goes on to explain that:

  • Intercourse with a minor that is less than three years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of a misdemeanor. (§ 261.5b)
  • Intercourse with a minor that is more than three years younger than the perpetrator could be guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony. (§ 261.5c)
  • Intercourse with someone under the age of 16 when the perpetrator is 21 years or older could be a misdemeanor or felony. (§ 261.5d)

According to § 261.5e of the penal code, the penalties for individuals convicted of statutory rape are as follows:

  • An adult who has sex with a minor who is less than two years younger can be punished up to $2,000 in fines.
  • An adult who has sex with a minor who is two or more years younger can be punished up to $5,000 in fines.
  • An adult who has sex with a minor who is three or more years younger can be punished up to $10,000 in fines.
  • An adult who has sex with a minor under 16 can be punished up to $25,000 in fines.

California Does not Have a Romeo and Juliet Law

In some states across the country, there are laws in place that consider how close in age the two parties in these cases are when determining whether or not to charge a person with statutory rape or when considering possible sentences for a guilty conviction. These exceptions are often referred to as “Romeo and Juliet Laws” or close-in-age exceptions.

California does not have any type of Romeo and Juliet law on the books for these cases. It is unlawful for any person over aged 18 years of age or older to engage in any type of consensual sex with a person under the age of 18.

The reality is that we live in a society where teenagers are sexually active, and violations of California’s statutory rape law occur every day, often by otherwise law-abiding citizens who suddenly find themselves being prosecuted in the worst possible way.

Possible Legal Defenses We Could Employ

There are various types of defenses that could be applied in these situations, but we preface this discussion by saying that no two cases are exactly alike. It is crucial to have an attorney by your side who specializes in defending against California sex crimes, particularly statutory rape charges. An attorney will understand that there are certain legal defenses that could help beat PC 261.5 charges, including the following:

  • The person charged honestly and reasonably believed that the minor was over 18 years of age
  • No actual sexual intercourse took place

Properly employing any defense against a statutory rape charge can be challenging, but a skilled attorney with extensive experience handling litigation in these cases will have the best chance at getting these charges reduced or dismissed.

Contact A Los Angeles Sex Crime Attorney Today!

If you have been arrested for statutory rape and are facing the penalties that have been detailed above, do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles sex crime lawyer from Okabe & Haushalter. Our firm has never been one to shy away from these types of cases. If you seek aggressive defense on your behalf, call today and receive a free case evaluation.