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Statutory Rape and Consent Laws in California

Statutory Rape and Consent Laws in California

Under California law, engaging in sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 is against the law. The only exception is if the underage person is married to the person they had sex with – California is one of the few states in the country without a minimum age for marriage. However, someone younger than the age of consent, 18, must obtain both a court order and parental consent before the marriage can be considered legal.

Age Restrictions and Possible Charges – California Law

California Penal Code 261.5 states that someone who engages in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor less than three years younger or older than them can be charged with a misdemeanor, while someone who engages in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor three or more years younger or older than them can be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor, and can be imprisoned in country jail for up to one year. If the person who engages in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor is at least 21 years old and they engage in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor younger than 16 can be imprisoned in county jail for up to four years if their actions fall under California Penal Code 1170h.

Someone found guilty of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor can also be required to pay civil penalties depending on their age difference with the minor:

  • Less than two years younger than the adult: $2,000
  • At least two years younger than the adult: $5,000
  • At least three years younger than the adult: $10,000
  • Under the age of 16 if the adult is over the age of 21: $25,000

Rape Charges and Jail Time – California Law

Someone found guilty of rape in California can be imprisoned in state prison for three, six, or eight years depending on their actions. California Penal Code 261 outlines what actions constitute as rape under California Law. However, if the victim was a minor under the age of 14, then the person found guilty can be imprisoned in state prison for seven, nine, or 11 years. If the victim was a minor at least 14 years of age, then the person found guilty can be imprisoned in state prison for nine, 11, or 13 years.

If the person charged with rape is at least seven years older than their victim, and the victim is under the age of 14, then the person can be charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. If that person is found guilty, then they can be imprisoned in state prison for 15 years to life.

If you are in need of an experienced and knowledgeable San Diego criminal defense lawyer, contact Premier Criminal Defense, LLC today. We have worked with countless clients throughout Southern California to fight for and secure the most favorable legal outcome. Send us the details of your situation by filling out our online form today, or call our firm at (619) 304-9190 to discuss your case with one of our attorneys over the phone.

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