Dating a minor in california law

To make matters worse, statutory rape -- like other sex crimes that people allege out of jealousy, anger, revenge, or misunderstanding -- is frequently charged against innocent people.

False accusations and wrongful arrests lead to a large number of bogus California statutory rape prosecutions. The offense of statutory rape is a California "wobbler" offense. Depending on the circumstances it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The age difference between the defendant and the minor is one of the major factors determining how the crime is tried. If the defendant is 21 or older and the minor is under the age of 16, the penalties are likely to be most severe. Having an attorney who specializes in defending against California sex crimes is the key to safeguarding your rights and protecting your future.

A good attorney knows that there are certain legal defenses that can help you beat statutory rape charges. If after reading this article, you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

California Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws

In order to convict you of statutory rape under California Penal Code These facts include It is important to note that there is no requirement for the prosecutor to prove that force was used to accomplish the sexual intercourse Thus, California statutory rape laws allow criminal charges to arise out of an otherwise caring and loving relationship. The age of the parties is critical to sentencing. As we discuss in Section 2 below, the potential penalties for unlawful intercourse with a minor depend on the age of the "victim" Thus, the prosecutor will also be required to prove how old the parties were when the intercourse took place.

Under California law, a person is deemed to be one year older at It's important to remember that you can be charged with statutory rape even if you are a minor-that is, under yourself when the intercourse occurs! But it's the law.

California Law on Underage Dating

Many prosecutors in California don't make it a priority to prosecute teenagers for having sex with other teenagers. But that doesn't mean it can't happen. A statutory rape case where the defendant is also a minor will probably be tried in the California juvenile court system. As previously stated, California Penal Code That means it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. There are three circumstances that determine how the offense will be charged and what the potential penalties are:.

If 2 or 3 in the above list applies If you are charged with misdemeanor statutory rape under any of the circumstances above, the potential penalties include:. In addition to the above punishment, an individual charged with California statutory rape may also face civil penalties.

These are non-criminal fines that you can be forced to pay in addition to serving time and paying criminal fines. Only adult defendants defendants 18 and older can be made to pay these fines. There are a variety of legal defenses to a California statutory rape charge that a skilled California sex crimes defense attorney could present on your behalf.

The following are examples of some of the most common.

If you honestly and reasonably believed that the alleged victim was over 18 at the time you had sex, you can't be convicted under California statutory rape law. If someone meets a minor in a bar, it may be reasonable to believe that they are over Much like any other California sex crime , statutory rape is an offense that is ripe for false accusations. California statutory rape charges are often initiated out of anger, jealousy, or revenge As well-known Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer John Murray 25 explains,.

Under Penal Code , California rape laws make it a defense to the crime if the alleged victim consented to have sex. The reason that statutory rape is a crime is that minors -- people under the age of 18 -- are legally deemed unable to give consent. This means that even if the alleged victim was a willing participant in the act The state-correctly or not-believes that minors are too young to appreciate legally the consequences of their actions.

Under the current state of California law, a conviction for Penal Code However, certain related offenses do require sex offender registration, including rape and lewd and lewd and lascivious acts with a child. Unlike California statutory rape, most lewd acts with a minor also known as child molestation are necessarily felony offenses, subjecting the accused to up to eight 8 years in California state prison.

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In addition, a Penal Code a lewd or lascivious acts with a child charge carries a requirement that anyone convicted of this offense register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code PC. Prosecutors will pursue a Penal Code PC charge if you commit a sexual act upon a child 14 or under or 15 or under in certain cases Sexual intercourse is not a requirement for this offense.

Although it seems that an individual who commits statutory rape with a child under 14 would also violate Penal Code PC, that isn't necessarily the case. California statutory rape only requires a general intent to engage in sex with a minor Since statutory rape under California Penal Code You violate Penal Code PC, California's rape law when you have sexual intercourse with another person without their consent Rape is always a felony, punishable by up to eight 8 years in the state prison.

Just as with statutory rape, California rape is often charged as a result of false accusations In this kind of situation, a good criminal defense attorney is essential.


People who believe they have suffered damages as the result of statutory rape have the right to bring a sexual assault lawsuit in California. The burden of proof in a civil case is simply a preponderance of the evidence. If nine of the 12 jurors believe it is more likely than not that the defendant did something wrong, the defendant can be ordered to pay damages - even if he was found "not guilty" in a criminal jury trial or if charges were never filed. For more information, please see our article on Lawsuits by Crime Victims in California.

If you or loved one is charged with Penal Code We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. To learn about Nevada statutory rape laws, go to our article on " Nevada statutory rape laws " also known as "statutory seduction laws". California Penal Code 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. A Hot Topic Among Teens The recent discovery that year-old actress Jamie Lynn Spears, the sister of pop star Britney Spears, became pregnant by her year-old boyfriend has again turned consensual sex among teens into a hotly contested issue.

Parents, particularly those with teenage daughters, certainly have cause for concern. Research shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older. But do these dangers warrant laws that put young people in prison?

My Son Is Dating a Minor: Should I Be Worried About the Legal Implications?

Romeo and Juliet Make a Comeback Statutory rape is defined by the FBI as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent. The statutory rape laws vary greatly from state to state, with more than half of the states setting the legal age of consent at 16 other states range from 14 to For the most part, there is no single age at which a person can consent to sexual activity.

Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18 , while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them. The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor. The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States:.

Exceptions and Other Considerations In addition to Romeo and Juliet laws, some states have specific exemptions when both parties to the sexual act are minors, or the person to be charged is legally married to the minor. However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors.

All states have special provisions if any physical force was used or serious physical injury resulted. Until recently, statutory rape laws applied only to females, ignoring situations involving sex between an adult female and underage male. Today, most laws are gender neutral, and a number of women in authority positions such as Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Rogers Turner, and Pamela Smart have been prosecuted for engaging in sexual relationships with younger males.

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? While many states have strict statutory rape laws on the books, prosecutors have been inconsistent in enforcing them, says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth. One particularly shocking case drew international attention when year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a year-old girl.

Georgia law, which has since been changed to classify this act as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison, also required Wilson to register as a sex offender when he was released. Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated? Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that although young girls may want to have sex, they may not have enough experience or discernment to make a mature, informed decision. The laws are designed to protect young people who have less information and power than their and-over counterparts.

For example, minors may be less likely than adults to understand sexually transmitted diseases, have access to contraception, and have the resources to raise a child if they become pregnant.

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Most people believe there is a clear line between young people wanting to date and have sex, and adults molesting or assaulting a child.