Statutory Rape: California Penal Code 261.5             

Statutory Rape (CA Penal Code 261.5 PC) is the unlawful engagement of sexual intercourse with a minor (anyone under the age of eighteen). You can be charged with statutory rape even if the minor initiated intercourse and it was consensual.

Like other sex crimes, statutory rape is usually charged after an accusation happens. Many times false accusations formed out of anger, jealousy or misunderstandings cause these charges to fall upon innocent people.

In order for the prosecutor to prove that you are guilty of statutory rape, he must prove that you had sexual intercourse with a person who is under eighteen years of age and you were not married at the time. Unlike an ordinary rape charge, the prosecution does not have to prove there was any force used or that the intercourse was nonconsensual. The age difference between the parties will have an effect on the penalties you could receive.

Statutory rape may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If you and the “victim’s” age difference is no more than three years it will be charged as a misdemeanor, if the age difference is larges than three years it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

In case of a misdemeanor charge, the most common penalties are a maximum sentence of one year in jail, up to a thousand dollar in fines, and summary probation. If it is a felony charge, the penalties are more severe, a potential prison sentence of up to four years, up to ten thousand dollars in fines, and probation.

There are many defenses that can be used to fight a statutory rape charge. An experienced attorney from the Law Office of David Chesley can help you determine the best course of action to take on your case. For example, many people facing these charges did not know the person they engaged in intercourse with was a minor (the defendant might have met a minor at an adult venue), false accusation are also very common in these cases. Unlike an ordinary rape charge consent is not a defense.

CA. Penal Code 261.5 PC

(a) 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.

(b) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual
intercourse with a minor who is not more than three years older or
three years younger than the perpetrator, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual
intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than
the perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and
shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one
year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(d) Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of
unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age
is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished
by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by
imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two,
three, or four years.

(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an
adult who engages in an act of sexual intercourse with a minor in
violation of this section may be liable for civil penalties in the
following amounts:

(A) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse
with a minor less than two years younger than the adult is liable for
a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000).

(B) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse
with a minor at least two years younger than the adult is liable for
a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

(C) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse
with a minor at least three years younger than the adult is liable
for a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(D) An adult over the age of 21 years who engages in an act of
unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age is
liable for a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars
($25,000).

(2) The district attorney may bring actions to recover civil
penalties pursuant to this subdivision. From the amounts collected
for each case, an amount equal to the costs of pursuing the action
shall be deposited with the treasurer of the county in which the
judgment was entered, and the remainder shall be deposited in the
Underage Pregnancy Prevention Fund, which is hereby created in the
State Treasury. Amounts deposited in the Underage Pregnancy
Prevention Fund may be used only for the purpose of preventing
underage pregnancy upon appropriation by the Legislature.

(3) In addition to any punishment imposed under this section, the
judge may assess a fine not to exceed seventy dollars ($70) against
any person who violates this section with the proceeds of this fine
to be used in accordance with Section 1463.23. The court shall,
however, take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay, and
no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her
inability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision.