Statutory Rape Defense Attorney
California law prohibits sexual intercourse between adults and minors, even if the sex is consensual. The legal term for the act is unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, however, over the years the crime has often been referred to as "statutory rape". The offense can be committed by either a man or a woman and no force or duress is required. The punishment for the offense varies, depending upon the age difference between the offender and the victim. Although the offense is generally regarded as a felony, if the age difference is less than 3 years a Judge or the District Attorney could make the crime a misdemeanor. When the age difference is greater than three years the offense becomes more serious and could potentially carry a lengthy prison sentence. For example, if the accused is over the age of 21 and the alleged victim is under the age of 16, the law dictates that a sentence of 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison be handed down upon conviction. The crime requires that there be actual sexual intercourse, not mere touching, fondling or other sexual acts.
In addition to a potential lengthy county jail or prison sentence, the criminal court can hold the offender liable for civil penalties up to $10,000 if the minor is three or more years younger than the perpetrator. When the accused is twenty one years of age or older and the victim is less than sixteen the civil penalties could go as high as $25,000 under California Penal Code section 261.5. Given the serious nature of the laws governing statutory rape, it is always advisable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before trying to handle things on your own. The offense of unlawful sexual intercourse could evolve into a crime that may require 290 sex offender registration in California.
If an individual is convicted of statutory rape the Judge could require that the offender register as a sexual offender for the rest of his or her life. This type of registration under 290 of the Penal Code, could allow the state and county to post your conviction on the Internet. A lawyer can help to avoid this type of consequence. Additional consequences can be imposed when the act involved the use of alcohol or drugs, or where inducement of the minor was motivated by money or other consideration.
When the minor is 14 years of age or under the offender could face a more serious charge of child molestation, regardless of the degree of maturity of the alleged victim. Unlike the crime of statutory rape, if the victim is 14 or younger the law does not require actual sexual intercourse, touching, fondling, no matter how slight can result in a criminal charge. Under these circumstances the crime is referred to as "lewd and lascivious acts upon a child" or child molestation. . Penal Code 288 governs this type of conduct and a conviction could mean mandatory prison and lifetime sexual offender 290 registration.
Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew Ruff has successfully represented many clients charged with statutory rape in Los Angeles County, Kern County, Torrance, Inglewood, Palos Verdes, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Compton, Santa Clarita, Hermosa, Redondo and Manhattan Beach, Gardena and throughout most Southern California Courts.
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of statutory rape, get a real fighter on your side, call Mr. Ruff toll free at 1-877-213-4453 for an immediate, discreet consultation about your individual case. The time to consult with an attorney is before the police come knocking on your door. If you believe you or a family member are under investigation by law enforcement, hring an experienced lawyer early in the case could mean the difference between jail or freedom.
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