Statutory rape is one of the most serious criminal charges in the California penal code. If you are accused or suspected of statutory rape in Beverly Hills or the Southern California area, you face tough penalties with lasting consequences. One lasting consequence is that many people hear that you are accused of statutory rape and automatically pass judgment. They tend to believe that it is true without any conclusive evidence. You cannot do anything about the court of public opinion. It is important to defend yourself in a court of law to protect your rights and freedom.
You cannot afford to proceed in your case without the help of a criminal defense attorney. You need a criminal defense attorney willing to work hard to prove your innocence.
The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we understand how easy it is to be falsely accused of statutory rape or any rape charge in California. The harsh reality is that any type of rape allegation can be filed against you without very much supporting evidence.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation about Your Statutory Rap Case
Jonathan Franklin understands how to expose the weaknesses in your statutory rape case. He will fight for you in an effort to obtain an acquittal, dismissal or reduced criminal charge.
For a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin immediately at 310-273-9600. During your free consultation, Jonathan Franklin will go over your case with you in detail. He will discuss potential strategies and defenses available to you in a statutory rape case.
A lot of information is inaccurate and misleading on the Internet regarding potential statutory rape charges. Until your free consultation, Jonathan Franklin wants you to know all the truthful and accurate information about a statutory rape charge in Beverly Hills. Providing this information allows you to know and understand the statutory rape definition, penalties and defenses prior to your consultation.
Statutory Rape Definition in Beverly Hills
According to California Penal Code 261.5, it illegal for an adult to have sexual intercourse with a minor regardless of consent given. The state defines a minor as anyone under 18 years old. Anyone under that age cannot provide in consent because the law assumes they do know properly understand a sexual act and any consequences or significance of the act.
Statutory rape often applies when there is a large age difference such as an adult being 39 years old and the minor being 14 years old. However, statutory rape also applies to a relationship with a small age difference. This example would occur when an 18 year old is sexually involved with a 16 year old.
A statutory rape charge does not involve any use of force or threat of force to be charged with this crime. Rape is the act of using force or threat of force to have sexual intercourse without a victim’s consent. Statutory rape solely depends on the age of the alleged victim.
In California, a statutory rape charge can be a misdemeanor or felony. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony depends on the fact of the case and your criminal history. The severity of the penalties of statutory rape greatly depends on the specific facts and situation.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we are dedicated to explaining all the possible statutory rape penalties. Jonathan Franklin does not want to scare you. He wants to help you understand the amount of time you may face for a statutory rape charge so you can make a reasonable decision regarding all possible defense strategies available to you.
Possible Statutory Rape Penalties in Beverly Hills
As we mentioned prior, statutory rape is a wobbler crime. It can be a misdemeanor or felony. The age difference between you and the alleged victim is one of the most important factors for a prosecutor to decide whether the crime is a felony or misdemeanor.
For instance, when a defendant is 21 years old or older and the alleged victim is 16 years old or younger, a prosecutor may charge felony statutory rape. Felony statutory rape charge typically requires at least a five-year difference between a defendant and alleged victim.
Misdemeanor statutory rape, defined according to PC 261.5, is a lesser charge. If the age difference between the defendant and alleged victim is three years or less, it is a misdemeanor charge.
A misdemeanor statutory rape charge is punishable by:
- Informal probation
- 12 months in county jail
- $1,000 fine
Felony statutory rape charge has a penalty of:
- Formal probation *
- 16 months to three years in prison. If the defendant was 21 years old or older and the alleged victim was 16 years old or younger, it is four years in state prison.
- $10,000 fine
Formal probation along with 12 months in county jail may be an alternative to prison time, in some cases.
A statutory rape conviction includes criminal and civil penalties. Civil penalties only apply if the defendant is convicted of statutory rape and is over 18 years old. The civil fines are:
- $2,000 fine if the defendant was two years older than the alleged victim
- $5,000 fine if the defendant was two to three years older than the alleged victim
- $10,000 fine if the defendant was more than three years older than the alleged victim
- $25,000 fine if the defendant was older 21 years old and the alleged victim was under 16 years old
A statutory rape conviction does not necessarily require an offender to register as a sex offender. However, an offender convicted of statutory rape and another crime at the same time may have to register as a sex offender. For example, if an offender is convicted of statutory rape and lewd and lascivious acts with a child, as defined under PC 288, that person must register as a sex offender.
The Statutory Rape Elements the Prosecution must Prove to Convict You of the Crime
California requires anyone charged with statutory rape to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Generally speaking, this means the jury or judge over the case cannot have any reasonable doubt that you could be innocent of having sex with a minor. The prosecutor must prove specific elements to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are:
- You had sexual intercourse with a specific individual. Sexual intercourse is defined as any type of penetration.
- You and the alleged victim were not married to each other.
- The alleged victim involved in the sexual intercourse was a minor
Most rape cases typically hinge on lack of consent. However, statutory rape is different. A minor cannot legally give consent to have sexual intercourse with an adult. Thus, the prosecution does not have the burden of proving lack of consent. Consent does not matter.
A statutory rape case involves proving the alleged victim’s age. According to the law in California, a person becomes one year older one minute after midnight on their birthday.
If the defendant and alleged victim are minors and engage in consensual sexual intercourse, this will fall within the scope of California’s statutory rape laws. Although, it could be argued that both minors are alleged victims, the party who is older will be charged with statutory rape. For instance, a 17-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy engage in sexual intercourse, the teenage girl would be charged with statutory rape.
It is important to note that minors engaging in consensual sexual intercourse are usually not charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Instead, the older minor’s case may be sent to juvenile court.
Defense Strategies for a Beverly Hills Statutory Rape Case
Statutory rape is an extremely serious criminal charge that you cannot afford to fight alone or with an inexperienced attorney. Do not place your freedom in the hands of an attorney who is too busy to provide adequate attention to your case.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we have successfully represented many clients accused or charged with statutory rape. Jonathan Franklin understands how to build a solid defense for your case. He fights for your best interest from the moment you arrive in our office.
Until you meet with Jonathan Franklin to discuss specific rape defense strategies, here are some common defenses used in defense of this crime:
- False Accusation: Statutory rape, just like many other rape crimes, may involve false allegations. A false allegation occurs when the alleged victim claims you had sexual intercourse with them to the police. It can also occur when the alleged victim’s parent claims that you had sexual intercourse with their minor child. False allegations are often the result of a person seeking revenge or seeking to get you into trouble. Jonathan Franklin knows how to investigate and expose false allegations. He knows how to cross-examine witnesses and challenge any misleading or false evidence to help clear your name.
- Mistake of Age: Mistake of age, sometimes called mistake of fact, involves your mistaken belief the alleged victim was an adult. Statutory rape is typically a strict liability crime, which would negate a mistake of fact or age defense. However, California is not a strict liability state. As long as you honestly believed that the minor was an adult, the defense may be option for your case.
- Mistaken Identity: An alleged victim may believe they engaged in a sexual relationship with you. If this is not true, you can use the defense of mistaken identity. This means you are being accused of statutory rape because you were misidentified.
- No Sex Occurred: Another defense is that you engaged in only a romantic relationship with the minor, but not a not sexual relationship with the person. The important element of statutory rape is engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor. If you did not engage in sexual intercourse with a minor, you cannot be convicted of statutory rape.
This is just a short list of common statutory rape defenses. Many statutory rape defenses exist. The key to using any defense is to use facts and circumstances to strengthen your case. Jonathan Franklin knows the defense strategies for statutory rape. He will explain each defense that can be used in your particular statutory rape case.
Related Statutory Rape Charges in Beverly Hills
In Beverly Hills and the Southern California area, a number of other criminal charges are often filed in criminal court in addition to a statutory rape charge. These related charges may be filed instead of a statutory rape charge. Two related charges you could be charged with instead of statutory are non-spousal rape and lewd or lascivious acts with a child. These charges could also be added in addition to statutory rape charges.
We have discussed rape briefly earlier. Rape and statutory rape have two major distinctions. Rape may involve a minor, but the charge involves consent. If the circumstances and facts of your statutory rape charge involve threat of violence, fraud or physical force, you may face the additional charge of rape.
A rape charge is always a felony. It always involves sexual intercourse without an alleged victim’s consent.
A rape conviction faces a long term state prison sentence when committed against an alleged victim who was a minor. If convicted of statutory rape, those penalties will still apply. A rape conviction, according to California law, is a part of the Three Strikes Law. It also requires registration as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This also involves continuously updating as a sex offender every time you relocate your residence.
If you or your loved are charged with statutory rape and rape, it is imperative you contact a good defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we will tackle both criminal charges at the same time. Our goal is to get the charges dismissed or reduced. In some instances, a negotiated plea agreement can result in rape charges being dismissed, which may prevent the lifelong requirement that you register as a sex offender. Jonathan Franklin will discuss all options as he challenges the rape and statutory rape charges.
According to PC 288a, it is illegal to molest a child. PC 288a is known as lascivious or lewd acts with a child and involves any type of sexual act such as sexual touching to cause sexual arousal. The acts defined in the statute are not limited to acts involving sexual intercourse. A “child” in this criminal charge is any minor under 14 years old. In some cases, the statute extends to minors who are 15 years old. It is a felony charge punishable by up to eight years in state prison. If convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, you would have to register as a sex offender for life.
Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin about Your Statutory Rape Charge in Beverly Hills
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we have a substantial knowledge of California statutory rape and other related rape statutes. Jonathan Franklin is a former prosecutor and an experienced courtroom defense attorney who knows how to negotiate with both judges and prosecutors in an effort to reduce or eliminate charges for his clients. He also is prepared to take a case to trial to point out the weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
Jonathan Franklin knows how the prosecutor over will most likely try to prove your guilt. He will use this knowledge to challenge the prosecution every step of the way by discrediting their evidence and questioning the validity of witness testimony.
Your future depends on a strong defense and a tough, skilled criminal defense attorney. From the moment your free consultation begins, Jonathan Franklin will be your legal advocate and build your strong defense. Let’s work to resolve this statutory rape allegation so you can get on with your life. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin at 310-273-9600 for a free consultation. Contact us anytime. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.