Statutory rape accusations can destroy lives and careers. The stigma attached to any sex crime can follow a person even if formal charges are dismissed. A bay area statutory rape attorney at Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law can help mitigate the damage and help obtain the best result possible.
California Penal Code Section 261.5 provides the definition of statutory rape. The Penal Code simply defines the crime as sexual intercourse with the person who is under the age of eighteen. There are however several subsections that can significantly affect a statutory rape case.
Statutory rape charges can be brought as either misdemeanors or as felonies. If the difference between the accused and the minor is no greater than three years the criminal accusations can only be filed as misdemeanors. If the accused however is more than three years younger than the minor, statutory rape can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. If the accused is age 21 or over and the minor is under 16 years of age, the crime can also be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In practice, the greater the age difference, the more likely felony charges are filed. The maximum punishment for a charge of felony statutory rape is four years in state prison. For a misdemeanor statutory rape charge the maximum penalty is one year in the county jail.
The law entitles prosecutors to also seek civil penalties in statutory rape cases. The amount of civil penalties allowed varies from $2,000 to $25,000 depending largely on the age disparity between the accused and the minor.
Child molestation charges may be filed along or instead of statutory rape charges. Depending on the minor’s age and the disparity in age between the accused and the minor, prosecutors may choose to file child molest charges which carry much more significant penalties up to life imprisonment and sex offender registration.
At the present time, a person convicted of misdemeanor or felony statutory rape, in the absence of a number of other factors, will not be required to register as a sex offender. The law in this area is however often changing. It is always best to consult with an attorney that is experienced and knows how to best defend accusations and charges of statutory rape. With an extensive amount of criminal law experience our team of bay area defense attorneys is best suited to advise and defend against statutory rape charges brought in any county within the greater San Francisco bay area.
If you believe that you are being investigated or accused of potential statutory rape, call our office immediately at 415-946-4020 for a consultation. It is generally not advised to speak with law enforcement officials prior to speaking with a statutory rape defense attorney. This is so even if you know you are innocent. Statements can often be taken out of context, misconstrued and used against you later in court.