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Statutory rape laws are premised on the assumption that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities. The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age for example, two teenagers of the same age , as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult.
Though statutory rape does not require that the prosecutor prove an assault, it is still rape. Of course, rape that does involve force or an assault is illegal in California and prosecuted as forcible rape. Penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, as described below.
Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor involves sexual intercourse or penetration however slight between a minor who is 17 or younger and a defendant of any age. Unlawful oral copulation includes oral sex between a minor who is 17 or younger and a defendant of any age. Sexual penetration includes sexual intercourse or penetration however slight between a minor who is under 14 and a defendant who is at least ten years older than the minor.
Statutory Rape: The Age of Consent
Lewd and lascivious acts upon a child involve sexual contact between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant of any age. This offense also includes contact between a minor who is 14 or 15 and a defendant who is at least ten years older than the minor. Depending on the ages of the parties, and other factors, statutory rape crimes can be tried as misdemeanors or felonies in California.
Typically, the charges and potential punishments get more serious the younger the victim. State law requires, in addition to the applicable fines and prison time, that people convicted of certain sexual crimes including certain instances of statutory rape must register as sex offenders. California has a marital exemption for statutory rape that allows married people to have consensual sex even if their ages would prohibit it if they were not married. The marital defense is a remnant of the marital rape exemption.
California Statutory Rape Laws
Minors are legally incapable of giving consent to having sex; so for example, if Jen, a 16 year old willingly has sex with Tony, her 23 year old boyfriend, Tony can be charged with rape, since Jen is not legally capable of giving consent in the first place. But if Jen and Tony are married and living in California, Tony need not fear criminal charges for having consensual sex with Jen. This is because California has a marital exemption to the California statutory rape laws.
However, if Tony were to rape Jen force her to have sex against her will , he would have no protection under the law even if the two are married. In California, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between a minor and a person who is three or fewer years older or younger. However, this is a limited exception because it serves to reduce the conduct from a felony to a misdemeanor offense.
Statutory Rape: The Age of Consent | LegalMatch Law Library
The conduct is still illegal, but someone protected by this exception will face the possibility of smaller fines and reduced jail time. Defendants accused of statutory rape often claim that they had no reason to know that their partner was underage.
They may argue that the child said that he or she was of age, and that a reasonable person would have believed it. Unlike in most states, in California mistake of age is sometimes a defense.
twinosunrola.cf Amounts deposited in the Underage Pregnancy Prevention Fund may be used only for the purpose of preventing underage pregnancy upon appropriation by the Legislature. The court shall, however, take into consideration the defendant's ability to pay, and no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her inability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision. In prosecutions under Section , , , a, or , in which consent is at issue, "consent" shall be defined to mean positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will.
The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved.
A current or previous dating or marital relationship shall not be sufficient to constitute consent where consent is at issue in a prosecution under Section , , , a, or Nothing in this section shall affect the admissibility of evidence or the burden of proof on the issue of consent.