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Statutory Rape | PC 261.5

Statutory Rape | PC 261.5

Former Sex Crimes Prosecutors Now Los Angeles Statutory Rape Defense Lawyers

The state of California takes sex crimes extremely serious and has stiff penalties that are associated with offenses of this nature – such as incarceration, fines and registration as a sex offender. One of the most severe of crimes is that of rape which is defined under California Penal Code 261(a) as the act of sexual intercourse under any of the following circumstances:

  • PC261(a)1: The alleged victim was unable to legally consent due to physical or mental illness or disability
  • PC261(a)2: The intercourse was accomplished against the alleged victim’s will through the use of actual force or threat of force
  • PC261(a)3: The intercourse was committed against the alleged victim while he/she was intoxicated and incapable of resisting
  • PC261(a)4: The alleged victim was unconscious of the nature of the act and incapable of resisting due to either being asleep, unaware of the act due to false pretense, or threat of future retaliation
  • 5(a): The intercourse was perpetrated against a minor under the age of 18 years old

What Is Considered Unlawful Intercourse With A Minor?

Unlawful intercourse with a minor or “statutory rape” is prosecuted under California Penal Code 261.5, which makes it a criminal act to knowingly engage in sexual intercourse with a minor under the legal consenting age of 18. For this type of crime to be successfully proven, it must be shown by prosecutors that the defendant engaged in genital to genital penetration of any kind (regardless of whether there was ejaculation) and that the alleged victim was both under the age of 18 and the defendant should have reasonably known the the alleged victim’s true age. There is no need for the prosecution to establish the use or threat of force, since a minor can not legally consent. However, if force, the threat of force, or any form of duress is alleged, a prosecutor can prosecute for both statutory rape and rape by force or duress under California Penal Code 261(a)2.

Statutory Rape Defenses

There are many defenses we have used over the 2 plus decades we have specialized in sex crimes defense and our defense strategies always depend on the unique circumstances in our clients’ cases. Did you have reasonable knowledge of the alleged victim’s age or did intercourse actually take place? As former special prosecutors in the sex crimes unit with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, we know there are specific investigative procedures and certain elements of the crime which the prosecution must establish, and we systematically attack each of these issues. By working with an experienced statutory defense lawyer, you will better position yourself to fight your legal battle on an even playing field.

Is Statutory Rape A Felony And What Are The Penalties?

Unlawful intercourse with a minor or statutory rape is considered a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor charge level. Factors considered are the defendant’s prior criminal history, age gap between the defendant and alleged victim, and aggravating factors such as whether force or duress is alleged. The potential penalties associated with a statutory rape conviction include the following:

  • Formal (supervised) or informal (unsupervised) probation
  • Fines and penalty assessments
  • Imprisonment in California State Prison up to 4 years or County Jail up to 1 year
  • Court ordered sex offender counseling
  • Lifetime sex offender registration

Since 1987, we have dedicated our criminal defense law practice to providing our clients with the highest-quality and most dynamic criminal defense representation available in Southern California. We are former sex crimes prosecutors with an unmatched resume’ of experience and success. Our initial consultations are free of charge, so call now at (888) 579-4844 for a no-obligation complimentary case review.