Your Statutory Rape Defense Lawyers
Statutory rape charges can be devastating to your family and career, can lead to years in prison. If you are suspected or accused of statutory rape, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. MyCriminalDefense lawyers work with experienced investigators and experts to defend statutory rape charges from the earliest stages of the case, maximizing the opportunity for prosecutors to reject or dismiss the charges.
What is Statutory Rape?
Penal Code § 261.5 defines Statutory Rape as unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18 who is not the spouse of the accused person.
There are several age-related rules that must be understood when determining whether or not you have committed the crime of “Statutory Rape” and the potential penalties for violating this section.
What Must the Prosecution Prove to Convict Someone of Statutory Rape?
In order to be found guilty of Statutory Rape, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt
The defendant had sexual intercourse with the victim.
That the victim was under the age of 18.
That the victim was not the spouse of the accused person.
Age Related Rules in Statutory Rape Cases
3 years older or 3 years younger If the accused person is not more than 3 years younger or more than 3 years older, then the crime is automatically prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
Accused more than 3 years older or victim more than 3 years younger If the accused is more than 3 years older or the minor is more than 3 years younger than the accused, the statutory rape can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor at the discretion of the prosecutor. This means that if you are more than 3 years older than the victim or the victim is more than 3 years younger than you, you can be prosecuted for felony statutory rape and serve up to 3 years in state prison.
Accused more than 21 and Minor younger than 16 f you are more than 21 or the minor is under 16, then the prosecutor has the discretion to prosecute the statutory rape either as a misdemeanor or a felony. If prosecuted as a felony, the potential penalties for conviction carry a potential prison sentence of up to 4 years.
Defenses to Statutory Rape
1. Consent is not a defense to Statutory Rape. Even if you and the minor have an affectionate, loving relationship, and the minor has given his or her full consent, consent is not a defense to statutory rape. However, consent and the relationship between the parties may act as a mitigating circumstance in the prosecutor’s decision to prosecute the statutory rape as a misdemeanor or a felony.
2. Mistake as to the Age of the minor is a defense to statutory rape. If you have a reasonable and actual belief that the minor was over the age of 18 at the time of the sexual relations between you and minor, then, you are not guilty of the crime of statutory rape. The prosecution has the burden, (not you) of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not have a reasonable, actual belief that the minor was over the age of 18 at the time you had sex with him or her.
3. Oral Copulation and Sodomy with a Consenting Minor. For the offenses of oral copulation and sodomy with a consenting minor, the defense of reasonable and actual belief that the minor was 18 years of age or older is a valid defense to these crimes just as it is to the crime of statutory rape. No distinction is made by the type of sexual activity when it comes to this defense as to minors.
4. False Accusation of Statutory Rape, Oral Copulation and Sodomy with a minor. In cases where the alleged victim is under 18 (in some cases under 16) and the prosecutor charges the defendant with commiting a sex crime with a minor, your criminal defense attorney is going to have his professional investigator interview the alleged victim and other potential witnesses that would establish that the defendant did not have any knowledge that the minor was under 18.
In one of our recent statutory and oral copulation cases involving a minor under the age of 18, our investigator interviewed the minor’s best friend who was actually present at the time of the alleged sex acts between my client and the minor. The best friend confirmed that the minor never disclosed her age to anyone at the party and no one ever brought up the subject of age. The best friend stated that the minor did not want my client to know the minor’s true age and wanted him to believe that she was the same age as him (18 and a senior at another high school). When my investigator interviewed the minor herself, she freely admitted that she concealed her true age, because she was afraid my client might reject her if he learned that she was only 15 years old. She told my investigator that she led my client to believe that she was a graduating senior at her high school and had turned 18 a few months earlier. What made the defense even more compelling was the fact that my client was a senior in a different high school and had no possible way of knowing that the minor or her friend were not 18 like he was. We also had our client under a confidential polygraph examination which asked him if he knew the true age of the minor and my client passed the polygraph with flying colors. These facts—all gathered by my professional investigation—convinced the District Attorney to dismiss all charges against my client. A REAL SUCCESS, because my client had just gotten admitted to Stanford University on a intercollegiate sports scholarship.
At My Criminal Defense, experienced criminal defense attorneys assemble teams of experienced professional investigators and experts to obtain evidence that will persuade the prosecutor that there is a reasonable doubt about the accused person’s guilt. A prosecutor has a sworn duty not to file criminal charges if he or she believes that a reasonable doubt exists as to the accused person’s guilt of the charge.
My Criminal Defense teams work tirelessly around the clock to obtain evidence of reasonable doubt. That is why My Criminal Defense Attorneys are so successful at convincing prosecutors to reject criminal charges against our clients.
In the above case, we did not have an opportunity to conduct these extremely important witness interviews until after my client was charged. However, if we did have an opportunity to conduct this professional investigation before the District Attorney filed charges of statutory rape and oral copulation with a minor against my client, we would have prevailed just as certainly as we did after the charges were filed. That’s why it is so important not to delay your search for an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney who is willing to put in the work before the District Attorney has made a charging decision.
Please do not delay in contacting My Criminal Defense Attorneys today. Call us to arrange a free confidential consultation with an experienced veteran criminal defense attorney!