Statutory rape can be a difficult crime to understand. When we think of rape, we think of someone who forces their victim to have sex with them. With statutory rape, there’s no requirement of this at all. It simply has to do with the age of the person you had sex with.
In California, the legal age of consent is eighteen (18). According to the law in San Diego, someone under the age of 18 can’t possibly give consent to have sex. This is hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.
Let’s say you’re 18 years old and a senior in high school. You’ve been dating your girlfriend for almost three (3) years. She’s only 17 and is a year behind you in school. The two of you have been having sex for over a year. Technically, you can be charged with statutory rape in California.
These cases are usually raised when a parent learns that their teen is having sex. The parent is a bit shocked and upset so they call the police. If their teen is under age and is having sex with someone over 18, they can file charges.
If this has happened to you, it’s important that you call an experienced rape defense lawyer in San Diego. Any sex crime can lead to very serious consequences. It can impact the rest of your life. You don’t want to face it alone.
What is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape is when anyone who is 18 or older has sexual relations with someone under the age of 18. Technically, if you turned 18 last week, and you have sex with someone who will turn 18 next week, it’s a crime. Now, in cases like this, the odds of having criminal charges filed against you are minimal.
Usually, the parents of a minor ask for charges to be filed against their teen’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Or, the person you have sex with regrets it or wants to retaliate against you for something and turns you in.
If this happens, there’s really no getting around it. If you’re 18 or older and are having sex with someone under the age of 18, it’s considered statutory rape. The difference in your ages will have something to do with the seriousness of the charges filed against you.
What are the Types of Statutory Rape?
You can be charged with two (2) types of statutory rape. It can either be a felony or a misdemeanor. Obviously, a felony is more serious than a misdemeanor.
It’s considered a misdemeanor if the person you had sex with was less than three (3) years younger than you. For example, let’s say you’re 20 years old. Your girlfriend is 17. The two of you are caught having sex by the local police. You get charged with statutory rape. It will be considered a misdemeanor since you’re only 3 years older than the victim.
If you’re 21 or older and your victim is younger than 16, it will automatically be considered a felony. An example of this would be someone who’s 21 and meets a younger girl in a bar. He assumes she’s 21 because she’s in a bar. However, everyone knows this particular bar lets anyone in – they don’t ask for ID. The girl’s really 15. You’ll be charged with a felony.
For those cases that fall in between these two extremes, it’s really up to the court. These are cases where you’re 3 years older than the victim, but they’re not under 16. Depending on the situation, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have a clean criminal record and the victim corroborates your story, you may only be charged with the misdemeanor.
Either way, you’re going to want an experienced criminal lawyer in San Diego by your side when you go to court. There’s too much at stake to handle it yourself.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Diego
If you’ve been charged with statutory rape, you should call an experienced criminal defense lawyer at 1-800 Hurt-Now San Diego. Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you’ll be facing possible jail time.
This is not something you want to deal with yourself. You need someone who knows the law and can prepare a strong defense. Call and schedule your initial consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in San Diego today.