April 24, 2024

Existinglaw

Law for politics

California Statutory Rape Crimes and Punishments

What is statutory rape? As defined by the FBI, statutory rape is characterized as nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent.

In California, the age a person can no longer become a victim of statutory rape is 18. The statutory rape law in California is titled “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse” and can be located within the California Penal Code Title 9 Chapter 1 Section 261.5.

In California, it is a violation of state law to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. It is also a violation of state law for 2 minors under the age of 18 to engage in sexual intercourse.

Adults engaged in sexual intercourse with minors can be charged with “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse” in the state of California. This crime could be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on certain factors including, but no limited to:

  1. Prior criminal history of the perpetrator
  2. The age of the minor involved
  3. The age difference between the minor and the perpetrator.

Prior to 1993 California laws primarily gave “victim” status to females. After 1993 the laws were shifted to a “gender neutral” position and there have been numerous cases of females being charged as perpetrators of this crime. Click here for more information Military Sexual Assault Attorney.

Sex between two consenting minors is a violation of the state law and charges can be filed against one of the minors involved. Even though the laws are now gender neutral, it is still the male who is most commonly prosecuted as the perpetrator in cases involving consenting heterosexual minors.

Juvenile court judges have authority to recommend transfer of juvenile cases to the adult court under varying circumstances.

Will it be a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Section 261.5

  • (b) If the perpetrator is less than 3 years older than the victim = Misdemeanor
  • (c) If the perpetrator is more than 3 years older than the victim= Misdemeanor or Felony
  • (d) If the perpetrator is 21 and victim is under the age of 16 = Misdemeanor or Felony

What are the potential Jail times and fines for these crimes if convicted?

If convicted under (b) above:

  • (b) Misdemeanor = possible jail up to 1 year
  • (b) Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $2000 if minor is less than 2 years younger
  • (b) Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $5000 if minor is at least 2 years younger

If convicted under (c) above:

  • (c) Misdemeanor = possible jail up to 1 year
  • (c) Felony = possible jail up to 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years prison
  • (c) Felony or Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $5000 if minor is at least 2 years younger
  • (c) Felony or Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $1000 if minor is at least 3 years younger

If convicted under (d) above:

  • (d) Misdemeanor = possible jail up to 1 year
  • (d) Felony = possible prison time 2, 3, or 4 years
  • (d) Misdemeanor or Felony = Civil penalty up to $25,000

Within the statute, the law is categorized and punishment is defined by age difference. A California prosecutor has latitude to determine whether charges will be misdemeanor or felony in many cases.