Statutory rape charges in Orange County
Under California Penal Code 261.5 it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor who is not your spouse. The sentencing and punishment for engaging in unlawful sex with a minor can be severe. In order to convict you of statutory rape charges in Orange County, the prosecution must prove that:
1. You had sexual intercourse with the victim;
2. You and the victim were not married at the time of intercourse; AND 3. At the time of intercourse, the victim was under the age of 18
Statutory rape sentencing and punishment in Orange County
According to California Penal Code section 261.5, the sentencing for a statutory rape conviction in Orange County depends upon both your age and the age of the victim at the time of offense:
• Misdemeanor statutory rape – If you are no more than 3 years older than the victim, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are 18 years old and your girlfriend is 16 years old, you may be facing a misdemeanor statutory rape charge.
• Felony statutory rape – If you are 21 years of age or older and the victim is under the age of 16, the offense is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in county jail and a $10,000 fine.
• Felony/misdemeanor statutory rape – If you are at least 3 years older than the victim (and the victim is not younger than 16), the offense is considered a “wobbler.” This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of your individual case and your prior criminal history.
o If charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
o If charged as a felony, you face up to 3 years in county jail and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to jail time and a fine, you could face other consequences, such as:
• Sex offender registration – If you are convicted for statutory rape in Orange County, you may have to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290. (link) If you are required to register as a sex offender, your picture, home address, conviction(s) and other identifying information may be posted on the Megan’s Law website for the public to access.
• Civil penalties – If you are convicted of statutory rape in Orange County, you may also face civil penalties and fines in addition to your underlying criminal sentence.
Defenses to statutory rape
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare a strong defense to your statutory rape charges. Common defenses include:
• You honestly believed the victim was 18 years of age or older;
• You did not engage in sexual intercourse with the victim;
• You were married to the victim; and • The victim was not a minor.
Your Wallin & Klarich attorney can raise any one of these defenses on your behalf, which may get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Fortunately, in cases of statutory rape, an established criminal defense law firm like Wallin & Klarich can argue for a substantially reduced sentence. Instead of a lengthy jail sentence, the court may:
• Place you on probation and impose a sentence of up to one year in county jail;
• Place you on probation with no jail time, but order you to complete community service or a work release program; or • Place you on formal probation and assign you a probation officer.
Finding an Experienced Statutory Rape Defense Attorney in Orange County
If you are confronted with accusations of statutory rape in Orange County, the first step you must take is to contact an experienced Orange County statutory rape criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with defending statutory rape cases. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks, Wallin & Klarich has won statutory rape cases for our clients for over 30 years. We will make sure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or submit our intake form online. We will get through this together.