Sec 261.5 of the California Penal Code defines statutory rape is committed when a person engages in sexual intercourse with a person under eighteen years of age. This is more commonly called as unlawful sexual relations with a minor.

The following are the elements of the crime of statutory rape:

• A male and a female engaged in sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is completed regardless of how slight even in the absence of ejaculation;
• The persons who committed the act were not married to one another at the time;
• One of the individuals who committed the act was under eighteen years of age at the time of the offense;

In this crime, the only factor under consideration is the age of either person who engaged in the sexual act. There are other factors that may affect the elements and the following also need to be proved in addition to the aforementioned elements:

• The accused and the victim were no more than three (3) years apart in age;
• The accused and the victim were more than three (3) years apart in age;
• The accused was over twenty one and the victim was under sixteen years of age.

These additional facts need to be established as age is crucial in the determination of the appropriate imposable upon the accused. The following are the penalties imposable for a conviction for statutory rape in California:

• If the accused is no more than three years older than the victim, the offense shall be considered as a misdemeanor offense;
• If the accused is more than three years older than the alleged victim, the offense can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon other circumstances;
• If the accused is 21 years or older and the victim is under sixteen, then depending on the circumstances, the crime can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony.

In determining the gravity of the offense, meaning being charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, specific facts in the case and the accused’s criminal history would be taken into consideration.

For misdemeanor statutory rape, the penalties are the following:

• Informal probation;
• A maximum of one year jail sentence in a county prison facility;
• Fines of up to $1,000.

For felony statutory rape, the following penalties are the following:

• Probation, either informal or formal;
• Imprisonment between sixteen months and four years in a California State prison facility;
• Fines of up to $10,000;
• If the crime was committed with the result of great bodily injury, then an additional three to five years in a state prison facility is included into the previous jail sentence.

The crime of statutory rape is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.