What is the Age of Consent in California? | California Sex Crime Attorneys

The age of consent refers to the minimum age at which an individual can legally agree to engage in sexual activity. In California, the age of consent is 18 years old, meaning that individuals aged 18 or older can legally consent to sexual relations with anyone, regardless of their age. Conversely, those under 18 cannot legally consent to sexual activity with someone 18 or older, even in consensual relationships. This is classified as statutory rape, a serious offense carrying severe consequences.

Statutory Rape Laws in California

Statutory rape is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor who is not the perpetrator’s spouse. The term “sexual intercourse” encompasses any penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anus by any body part or object, or oral copulation involving contact between the mouth and genitals. In California, statutory rape is considered a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the age difference between the parties and the circumstances of the case.

Penalties for statutory rape in California vary based on whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or probation. On the other hand, a felony conviction may result in 16 months to three years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and/or probation. Beyond legal consequences, a statutory rape conviction can have far-reaching impacts on the offender’s life, including a criminal record, loss of voting and firearm ownership rights, immigration consequences, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Romeo and Juliet Law in California

While some states have a “Romeo and Juliet” law, providing exceptions or defenses for close-in-age couples engaging in consensual sex, California lacks such provisions. The absence of a Romeo and Juliet law means that the age of consent is universally applicable in all situations, regardless of the relationship between the parties or the nature of the sexual activity.

Sex Crimes Attorneys in California

If you or someone you know faces accusations of statutory rape or any other sex crime in California, seeking the guidance of an experienced sex crimes attorney is crucial. Such an attorney can help you comprehend the charges, safeguard your rights, and advocate for the best possible outcome. Additionally, they can assist in minimizing the negative consequences of a sex crime conviction, such as imprisonment, fines, probation, and sex offender registration.

Newman & Allen, LLP, boasts over 25 years of combined experience defending clients against sex crime charges in California. Committed to providing aggressive, compassionate, and personalized legal representation, we tirelessly investigate cases, challenge evidence, negotiate with prosecutors, and advocate for clients in court. Whether facing misdemeanor or felony charges, our goal is to help clients achieve the best possible result. Contact us today for a free consultation at [Newman & Allen, LLP].

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