The age of consent is the minimum age at which someone can legally give their consent to participate in sexual activity. In California, individuals who are 18 years old or older can legally consent to sexual relations with anyone, regardless of their age. On the other hand, individuals who are under 18 are not able to give legal consent to engage in sexual activity with someone who is 18 or older, even if both parties agree to it. This is considered statutory rape, which is a serious offense with significant consequences.
Understanding Statutory Rape Laws in California
Engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor who is not the perpetrator’s spouse is considered statutory rape. Sexual intercourse refers to any form of penetration, whether it involves the vagina or anus, by any body part or object. It also includes oral copulation, which involves contact between the mouth and genitals. In California, the classification of statutory rape as a “wobbler” offense allows for it to be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This determination is based on factors such as the age difference between the individuals involved and the specific details of the case.
The penalties for statutory rape in California can differ depending on whether it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you may face a maximum sentence of one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or probation. In contrast, a felony conviction can lead to a prison sentence ranging from 16 months to three years, a fine of up to $10,000, and/or probation. In addition to the legal consequences, a conviction for statutory rape can have significant and long-lasting effects on the offender’s life. These effects may include a criminal record, the loss of certain rights such as voting and firearm ownership, potential immigration consequences, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Understanding the Romeo and Juliet Law in California
Unlike some states, California does not have a “Romeo and Juliet” law that offers exceptions or defenses for consensual sexual relationships between close-in-age couples. Without a Romeo and Juliet law, the age of consent applies to all situations, regardless of the relationship between the parties or the nature of the sexual activity.
Attorneys specializing in sex crimes in California
If you or someone you know is dealing with allegations of statutory rape or any other sex crime in California, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable sex crimes attorney. An attorney with expertise in this area can assist you in understanding the charges, protecting your rights, and fighting for the most favorable outcome. In addition, they can help reduce the potential consequences of a sex crime conviction, including imprisonment, fines, probation, and sex offender registration.
Newman & Allen, LLP, has a wealth of experience, with more than 25 years of combined expertise, in defending clients facing sex crime charges in California. We are dedicated to offering assertive, empathetic, and tailored legal representation. We diligently examine cases, question evidence, engage in negotiations with prosecutors, and vigorously defend our clients in court. Our main objective is to assist clients in obtaining the most favorable outcome, regardless of whether they are facing misdemeanor or felony charges. Reach out to us now to schedule a complimentary consultation with the team at [Newman & Allen, LLP].