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California’s Exceptions to Statutory Rape

McCready Law Group March 17, 2022

According to a Crime in California Report, there were 13,439 total rape crimes statewide in 2020. In the state of California, it is unlawful for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a minor, regardless of whether the sex was consensual. Essentially, the state’s statutory rape statutes are based on the perception that a minor is not able to truly consent to sexual activities. However, there may be certain exceptions due to close-in-age, perception of age, or marital status.

For over a decade, I have been providing comprehensive legal counsel and reliable representation to clients facing statutory rape charges. As a dedicated California criminal defense attorney, I can educate you about the exceptions to statutory rape and strategize an effective defense to pursue the most favorable outcome for your unique circumstances. My firm proudly serves clients throughout California, including Long Beach, Lakewood, and Cypress Hill.

Defining Statutory Rape in California

Statutory rape is a sex-related crime involving sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor, regardless of consent. According to California law,  it is illegal for a person 18 years or older to engage in sexual intercourse with a person below 18 years, even if the sex is consensual. 

In the state of California, a minor—a person below 18 years—is incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activity. Hence, whether the alleged victim initiated or willingly agreed to participate in the sexual activity, the adult participant may be facing misdemeanor or felony charges.

Exceptions & Defenses

California, however, has certain exceptions to statutory rape crimes. These include:

Marital Exception – Marital exemption for sex with a minor in California allows minors to have consensual sex with their partner, provided that they are legally married.

Reasonable Mistake Of Age – The defendant honestly and reasonably believed that the alleged victim (minor) was at or older than the age of consent (18 years).

No Sexual Intercourse – No actual sexual intercourse occurred between the two parties.

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested or indicted with a statutory rape charge, you need to reach out to a skilled sex crimes defense lawyer immediately. Your attorney can help you understand the possible penalties and determine your best defenses to avoid the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction.

Possible Penalties

In California, statutory rape charges usually carry far-reaching and life-changing ramifications. Depending on the particular circumstances, a conviction could result in any of the following penalties and consequences:

  • Significant time in prison (ranging from months, years, or decades)

  • Substantial fines

  • Registration as a sex offender

  • A criminal record/history

  • Loss of your rights to possess or carry a firearm or gun

  • Increased difficulty in finding employment or housing

  • Loss of personal freedom and social prospects

  • Difficulties in getting government assistance or public benefits

A knowledgeable attorney can fight vigorously to protect your best interests, attempt to negotiate a reduced penalty, or seek to get your charges dropped entirely.

How McCready Law Group Can Help

Navigating the criminal justice system on your own or trying to defend your statutory rape accusations without reliable representation could increase your risks of suffering the maximum punishment. If convicted, you could face massive fines, lengthy prison sentences, registration as a sex offender, and other serious consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your legal rights and build your defense strategy.

At McCready Law Group, I have the resources to represent and defend individuals in their statutory rape cases. As your attorney, I can review and investigate all of the facts of your unique situation and determine whether your actions fall under any of California’s statutory rape exceptions. Ultimately, I will help you navigate the California criminal justice system with confidence and strive to ensure that the criminal accusations don’t ruin your life.

Don’t face statutory rape charges alone. Let me fight for your future. Contact my firm—McCready Law Group—today to schedule a simple case assessment with a sex crimes defense attorney. I can offer you the highly-personalized legal counsel, reliable advocacy, and dedicated representation you need to fight your statutory rape allegations. My firm proudly serves clients across Long Beach, Lakewood, Cypress Hill, and the rest of California.

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