California Statutory Rape Crimes and Punishments

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California Statutory Rape Crimes and Punishments

What is statutory rape? As defined by the FBI, statutory rape is characterized by sexual intercourse without force with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent.

In California, the age at which a person can no longer become a victim of statutory rape is 18. The statutory rape law in California is entitled “Sexual Unlawfulness” and can be found in California Penal Code Title 9 Chapter 1 Section 261.5 .

In California, it is a violation of state law to engage in sexual relations 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 relations.

Adults engaged in sexual relations with minors can be charged with “Unlawful Sexuality” in the state of California. This crime could be classified as a misdemeanor or misdemeanor depending on certain factors including, but not limited to:

  1. Author’s previous criminal history
  2. The age of the minor involved
  3. The age difference between the minor and the author.

Before 1993, California laws gave “victim” status to females. After 1993, the laws were changed to a “gender neutral” position and there were numerous cases of females accused as perpetrators of this crime.

Sex between two consenting minors is a violation of state law and charges may be filed against one of the minors involved. Although 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 the authority to recommend the transfer of juvenile cases to adult court in various circumstances.

Will it be a misdemeanor or a 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 Crime
  • (d) If the perpetrator is 21 years old and the victim is under the age of 16 = Misdemeanor or Felony

What are the potential prison terms and fines for these crimes if convicted?

If convicted under (b) above:

  • (b) Misdemeanor = possible imprisonment 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 imprisonment up to 1 year
  • (c) Felony = possible imprisonment up to 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in 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 imprisonment up to 1 year
  • (d) Crime = possible 2, 3 or 4 years imprisonment
  • (d) Misdemeanor or Crime = civil penalty up to $25,000

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

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