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AWARD WINNING ORANGE COUNTY CRIMINAL ATTORNEY

Orange County Statutory Rape Attorney

Pursuant to California law, it is a crime to have intercourse with any person that is under the age of 18 years old at the time of the intercourse. California Penal Code §261.5 established that sex with a minor is a punishable offense known as “statutory rape” A person is guilty of statutory rape regardless of if the intercourse was consensual. It is a reality that in 2017, minors having sex on a regular basis. Technically speaking, this means that statutory rape is a common event in our society. This is true because minors are capable of committing statutory rape as well, a brief explanation of that will take place further on in this article.
The most common examples of statutory rape are set forth below.

  • A high-school biology teacher is engaged in a prolonged sexual relationship with one of his senior students.
  • Two high school girls went to a party at a fraternity at University of California: San Diego, and had sex with a 21 year old college student.
  • Two 17 year old teenagers in a committed relation engage in sexual intercourse.

WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF STATUTORY RAPE?

To be convicted of statutory rape, the Prosecution must prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt the following three elements:

  • The defendant had sexual intercourse with the victim;
  • At the time of the intercourse the victim was not married to the Defendant; and
  • At the time of the intercourse the victim was 18 years old or younger.

Since the Prosecution must prove every element of statutory rape beyond a reasonable doubt, it is important to understand those elements. The attorneys at Orange County Criminal Attorney have years of experience representing clients who are faced with all kinds of criminal charges, statutory rape is one of those charges. Our OCCA attorneys’ extensive knowledge of the law, paired with their consistent experience with the Orange County Criminal Court system provides our clients with an edge when they are facing criminal charges.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF INTERCOURSE?

Pursuant to California Penal Code §261, a rape charge cannot stand without sexual intercourse. The code defines “sexual intercourse” as penetration of any orifice (vagina, anus, mouth). The degree of penetration is irrelevant; even the slightest penetration will suffice to sustain a conviction on rape charges. Further, it is unnecessary to reach climax for the rape charge to stand. California law protects victims even further by holding that even if the sexual intercourse was initially consensual, the sexual intercourse will become rape if in the middle of the act, and the victim changes their mind, and attempts to terminate the act.

DOES IT MATTER IF THE VICTIM WAS MARRIED TO THE DEFENDANT?

Under the California Penal Code, to be convicted for rape, the victim must not have been married to the Defendant at the time of the alleged conduct. If at the time of the act, the Victim was married to the Defendant, this will be considered as spousal rape pursuant to California Penal Code §262.

Intercourse without consent of his wife, this act is going to be considered as spouse rape in California, under the Penal Code 262 Pc.

DOES THE GENDER OF THE VICTIM MATTER?

At common law, only a woman could be the victim of rape, not a man. Today however, both a man and a woman could be convicted of rape. For instance, if a woman forced a male to engage in acts of a sexual nature with her, she may be held accountable for the crime of rape pursuant to California Penal Code §261.

Additionally, if a woman aided a man in raping another woman, she may still be held accountable for rape, despite the fact that she did not actually have sexual intercourse with the victim through a theory of aiding and abetting.

HOW OLD DOES THE VICTIM NEED TO BE FOR THE DEFENDANT TO BE CONVICTED OF STATUTORY RAPE?

Under California, and almost every other state, law, a person must be over the age of 18 in order to give effective consent to engage in sexual intercourse. A person is deemed 18 at midnight the day of their 18th birthday.

EXAMPLE:

Clark is a 30 year old attorney, one night he went to a bar for a few drinks, while he was at the bar; he struck up conversation with the woman sitting next to him. It was clear that there was an attraction between the two and Clark eventually invited her back to his house. Unbeknownst to Clark, the woman was actually 17 years old. Clark engaged in consensual intercourse with the girl. Clark will be guilty of statutory rape, because the victim was under the age of 18 at the time.

CAN A MINOR BE CONVICTED OF STATUTORY RAPE?

In California, minors can be guilty of statutory rape if they engage in intercourse. This is technically true, but it should be noted that two minors who engage in consensual sex is not a priority to Prosecutors in Orange County. This is a situation where the law is technically valid, and technically covers their conduct, but it is an aspect of the law that is rarely enforced.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES I MAY FACE IF I AM CONVICTED OF STATUTORY RAPE?

If you are convicted of statutory rape, you can be convicted for misdemeanor statutory rape, felony statutory rape, or in some cases, both misdemeanor and felony statutory rape. To be convicted of both forms of statutory rape the following facts must be true: (1) The victim was more than three years younger than the defendant, and (2) the defendant is even a single day over 21.
If the Defendant is convicted of misdemeanor statutory rape, they may face up to one year of incarceration, and up to $1,000 in fines, or a combination of both.

If the Defendant is convicted of felony statutory rape, they may face incarceration ranging from 16 months to 2 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of both. It should be noted that if the Defendant is over 21 years old, and the victim is under 16 years old, the length of incarceration can be increased to 4 years at most.

WHAT ARE THE CIVIL PENALTIES ASSOCIATED WITH STATUTORY RAPE?

If the Prosecutor is so inclined, they might bring a civil action against the defendant who is also facing a statutory rape conviction. The money the Defendant is forced to pay in the civil action against him will be deposited in the Underage Pregnancy Prevention Fund, “UPP.” The amount of the fine that will be imposed on a Defendant facing statutory rape charges will vary depending on the age difference between the Defendant and the victim: if there is a less than a2 year age difference, the fine that is imposed will be up to $2,000. This becomes a $5,000 dollar fine if there is more than a 2 year age difference. The fine increases, again, to $10,000 if the age difference is 3 years. The fine jumps up to $25,000 if the Defendant is over 21 years old, and the victim is 16 years old or younger.

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL DEFENSES MY OCCA ATTORNEY RAISE IF I AM CHARGED WITH STATUTORY RAPE?

If you are charged with either misdemeanor statutory rape, or felony statutory rape, the results will appear on your criminal record. As a general rule, employers are hesitant to hire individuals with criminal records. Further, a conviction for statutory rape may constitute a strike under California’s “three strikes law.” With each additional “strike” the penalties will increase exponentially. Finally, a conviction for statutory rape will result in your name being placed on the sex offender registry; this label will remain with you for your entire life. Having competent counsel to protect you against allegations of rape is vitally important, in light of the severity of the consequences you face. A statutory rape charge could destroy your reputation in the community, even if you were falsely accused if you have been accused of rape, contact an attorney of Orange County Criminal Attorney immediately. The attorneys at OCCA will fight to build the most effective defense available for your case; ultimately resulting in potentially avoiding the dire consequences associated with a conviction for rape. There are a number of defenses your OCCA attorney could pursue. Some of these defenses include:

  • It was objectively reasonable for you to believe the victim was over the age of 18 years old.

Under California law, you will not be convicted under California Penal Code §261.5 if it was objectively reasonable, under the circumstances, to believe that the victim is over the age of 18 at the time the intercourse happens.

Example:

Michael goes out to an 18 and over dance club. Michael is 22 years old, and just enjoys being around people younger than him. Once he enters the club, he begins dancing with an attractive woman (unbeknownst to Michael, she is actually 17). Throughout the evening, Michael has several drinks, and doesn’t really consider why the woman he is dancing with hasn’t had a drink yet. As the night goes on the two become more intimate with their dancing, conversations, and even physical contact. Eventually Michael invited the girl back to his apartment, with the intention of having intercourse with her. Michael and the girl complete the act. If Michael is charged with statutory rape his OCCA attorney may raise that is was objectively reasonable to believe that the girl was over the age of 18 because she was a cub reserved for people over the age of 18. The Prosecution may attempt to argue that Michael should have asked about her age when he realized she wasn’t having any alcohol. Michael’s defense will likely succeed.

  • Wrongfully accused.

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