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    Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter



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      Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter





          Alameda County Statutory Rape Lawyer

          People often assume that to be charged with rape there would have to have been a lack of express consent. However, that is not always the case.

          A person could be charged with statutory rape if he or she has a sexual relationship with someone with an age gap that exceeds the legal maximum. If you are facing such an allegation, you should contact an Alameda County statutory rape lawyer. A seasoned defense attorney could help minimize the harsh penalties that accompany a conviction.

          How is Statutory Rape Defined in California?

          Statutory rape occurs when two people have sexual intercourse but there is a certain age gap between them. Different states have different age gaps that are allowed or not allowed, but in California, it is considered statutory rape if someone age 18 or older engages in sexual conduct with another age 17 or younger; however, the age difference between the parties has a significant impact on charging.

          For example, if a 17 and 19 year-old had sexual intercourse, there would be criminal liability there but it would typically be charged as a misdemeanor under Penal Code §261.5 because there is not more than a three year age difference. However, if somebody is 20 and engages in sexual intercourse with a 16-year old, the offense could be charged as a felony because there is more than a three year age difference. The maximum incarceration penalty on this type of felony offense is 3 years in state prison.

          Additionally, there are more severe consequences when the adult is over the age of 21 and the minor is under the age of 16. For example, if a 24 year old has sexual intercourse with a 15 year old, the adult could be charged with a felony and face up to 4 years in state prison.

          Unique Aspects of Statutory Rape

          One thing that is important to keep in mind with statutory rape as opposed to a traditional rape charge is that for a statutory rape charge, it does not matter if consent was given. Additionally, if consent is not given, then the accused might be charged with a number of different things, including rape, statutory rape, lewd conduct, or sexual assault of a minor.

          Lack of Intent

          With every crime, there is what is called an act or the unlawful act, and associated with that is an unlawful intent. In most criminal charges, a defendant can argue that he or she did not have that specific intent to commit a crime. With statutory rape, lack of intent is not a feasible defense since the element of intent does not exist. For this reason, it is often advisable for someone facing statutory rape charges to work with a skilled defense attorney in the area.

          Third-Party Allegations

          Something that is unique to cases involving statutory rape is that the complaining witness may be the minor’s parents rather than the victim. This could be because the relationship is “consensual” but the parents are not okay with it.

          With any crime, anybody can report it, and then the police can do an investigation. Especially with statutory rape, since some relationships involve willing participants, it is more likely that somebody else will report it. But again, just because there is “consent,” that is not a defense to the charge – because minors cannot legally consent.

          Legal Consequences for Underage Sexual Acts

          This is a charge that, depending on the circumstances, could be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Someone facing a misdemeanor statutory rape charge would be looking at 180 days in the county jail. However, with a felony, he or she would be facing up to three or four years in prison depending on the age differences.

          The most important thing to know is that different sets of facts would lead to different charges and penalties. There is a general statutory rape statute, but then there is another charge of lewd acts involving a child, which carries different penalties than just statutory rape does on its own. In these cases, somebody could face up to eight years, or even life under Penal Code §288 – these facts often involve predatory behavior on children under the age of 14.

          Additionally, in all these situations, the accused runs the risk of being required to register as a sex offender. A well-practiced defense attorney could help avoid these harsh consequences if someone is facing statutory rape allegations in Alameda County.

          Contact a Statutory Rape Attorney in Alameda County Right Away

          If you are facing a statutory rape charge for unlawful sex with a minor, it is important to seek legal counsel right away. An Alameda County statutory rape lawyer could guide you through the legal process and help you avoid the severe consequences that come with this charge. Call our office and schedule a free consultation today.

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