If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with statutory rape, you need to reach out to a skilled San Diego attorney who can help you fight this serious charge. Time is of the essence in these cases, and a conviction for statutory rape could permanently stain your career and reputation as well as leading to substantial jail time. San Diego statutory rape defense lawyer Roseline D. Feral knows how to navigate complex rape cases and protect the rights of her clients at every step of the way. We understand that this is a stressful crossroads in your life, but you can rest assured that we can guide you through the legal process carefully and compassionately.The Charge of Statutory Rape in California
Having sex with someone under the age of consent, which is 18 in California, is considered statutory rape. In other words, an adult who has sex with an individual who is not his or her spouse and who is under 18 years of age could be convicted of statutory rape. This is because anyone under the age of 18 is not legally able to consent to sex. This law is codified in California Penal Code 261.5, which classifies the crime in the following ways:
- Less than 3 years’ difference: intercourse with a person who is under 18 years of age is a misdemeanor if the perpetrator is no more than three years older than the minor.
- More than 3 years’ difference: intercourse with a person who is under 18 years of age may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony if the perpetrator is more than three years older than the minor.
- Over 21 and under 16: intercourse with a minor may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in cases in which the minor is under the age of 16 and the perpetrator is 21 years of age or older. However, the penalties are likely to be more severe than in the situation above.
The penalties for a statutory rape conviction will vary based on whether it was a misdemeanor conviction or a felony conviction. A statutory rape defense attorney can help San Diego residents understand the penalties that they may face in their specific situation. Penalties for a misdemeanor conviction may include up to $1,000 in fines and jail time for up to one year. A felony conviction for statutory rape, on the other hand, may involve up to $10,000 in fines and jail time of up to three years. The penalties for a felony conviction for statutory rape when the defendant is over 21 and the victim is under 16 could include fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to four years.
In California, there are two main defenses to statutory rape: mistake of age and false accusation. A mistake of age defense involves proving that you had an honest and reasonable belief that the victim was over the age of 18. Evidence that a San Diego statutory rape defense attorney may use to support this argument may include the victim’s fake ID or proof of false statements that the victim made leading up to the encounter. The defense of false accusation involves proving that you are being falsely accused of rape altogether. Evidence to support this defense may include information showing that there was an improper motive for the victim to accuse the perpetrator. It is important to note that consent is not a defense to statutory rape, since the alleged victim is unable to legally give consent.Contact an Experienced Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer in San Diego
Statutory rape charges should never be taken lightly. These charges can destroy your reputation and adversely affect virtually every aspect of your life. If you or someone close to you has been charged with statutory rape, you need to contact a San Diego criminal attorney immediately. Just because you have been charged does not mean that you will be convicted. But to minimize the risk of this happening, you need the right legal team behind you. With 30 years of experience, Attorney Roseline D. Feral can advocate for your rights at every step of the way. She assists people facing rape, statutory rape, and other sex crime charges, such as child pornography, in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. Call us today at 619-232-1010 or reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.