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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







          Statutory Rape Charges in San Leandro

          Being accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor is stressful. Not only could you face severe legal punishments, but your personal and professional life can be drastically impacted even without a conviction.

          If you are facing statutory rape charges in San Leandro, do not hesitate to seek legal representation. A sex crimes defense attorney could investigate the crime and determine if there are any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to potentially have the charges decreased or dropped.

          What is Considered Statutory Rape?

          In California, statutory rape is referred to as unlawful sex with minor and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If there is less than a three-year age difference, then the crime is typically charged as a misdemeanor.

          However, if the adult is more than three years older than the minor, it could be a felony offense. Especially if the adult is over the age of 21 and the victim is under the age of 16. Statutory rape is a crime that is age-based and does not require force or fear for a charge to be pressed, which is different than most other rape charges.

          Lack of Intent

          Statutory rape cases are treated like a strict liability offense. The defendant does not have to have a specific intent to engage in the crime but rather, if he or she engages in a sexual act where he or she knew or should have known that the person was under the age of 18, he or she could face criminal liability strictly for engaging in the act.

          Furthermore, it does not matter whether the minor consented to the act. This is because, due to the age of the minor, he or she do not have the capacity to actually consent. If there is the presence of coercion, duress, threat, fear, or force, then the charge will likely be elevated from statutory rape to a more severe form of sex crime like Penal Code §287 – oral copulation, Penal Code §288 – lewd conduct on a child, Penal Code §289 – sexual penetration to name a few. An experienced local attorney could help someone facing statutory rape charges navigate the court process, present exculpatory or mitigating evidence, and litigating appropriate motions that attack the evidence in order to help the client put forth a meaningful defense.

          Penalties for Statutory Rape in San Leandro

          As previously stated, statutory rape can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. When it is charged as a misdemeanor, it can result in up to 6 months or one year in county jail (depending on the age difference) and a $1,000.00 fine. Additionally, there is usually a term of probation following the period of incarceration.

          Felony statutory rape offenses in San Leandro can result in anywhere from 16 months to three years in state prison. However, if the defendant were over the age of 21 and the alleged victim was under the age of 16, then the penalties are raised. In this case, the defendant would face two to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00, followed by felony probation or parole. Since the crime is a wobbler, this could be served as a probation term in county jail as well.

          While there is no mandatory sex offender registration when it comes to statutory rape crimes in California, sex offender related therapy, stay away orders, or other types of conditions can be ordered as a part of the sentence, including search clauses. Oftentimes with sex crimes, search clauses get attached because the law enforcement or probation wants to make sure that there are not any other child related crimes that may be going on, especially electronic based crimes such as child pornography. Also, even though sex offender registration is not mandatory, judges do have the discretion to require registration on any offense that the court finds, at the time of conviction or sentencing, was committed as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification.

          A San Leandro Attorney Could Defend Against Statutory Rape Charges

          Someone who is facing statutory rape charges in San Leandro should retain an experienced defense attorney from the onset of his or her case. A hardworking lawyer could investigate whether any actual intercourse took place, whether the alleged victim is actually a minor, and whether the defendant was aware the alleged victim was underage.

          Defending a Penal Code §261.5 offense of unlawful sex with a minor without representation can be challenging. Call our office today and schedule a case consultation for free.

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