Statutory Rape

Actual Case:

John, a 19 year old, was charged with the unlawful sex with his girlfriend, Melissa, who was 16 years old.  Melissa was a willing participant in sexual conduct with John, but Melissa’s parents filed charges a complaint with the police.  Melissa had run away from home prior to the trial, but the D.A. still insisted in prosecuting the case.  At trial I was able to convince the jury that they should engage in “jury nullification” – that is find the defendant not guilty because the act did not merit a criminal conviction for John.  The jury agreed with me and found that John was not guilty.

Law:

California Penal Code 261.5 PC, defines statutory rape as sexual intercourse with a person under the age of eighteen (18).  The crime is commonly known as “unlawful sexual with a minor”.  To be found guilty of statutory rape it does not matter if the act was consensual because a minor cannot legally consent in California.  It is also possible to be charged with statutory rape when the defendant is under 18.  Statutory rape can be committed by a male or a female. 

Penalty:

The penalty depends on the age of the defendant as well as the age of the victim.  This can even affect whether one is charged with a felony or a lesser misdemeanor charge.  Statutory rape is a “wobbler” in California such that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  If the defendant is over 21 and the victim was under 16 the charge and ultimate sentence will be more severe; up to four years in California state prison.  Unlike many other sex crimes, if convicted of statutory rape the defendant does not have to register as a sex offender.

Defense:

The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not honestly and reasonably believe that the victim was over 18.  Therefore, one of the most successful defenses to a charge of statutory rape is that you honestly believed he or she was over 18, and that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would also have believed he or she was over 18. 

Often the crime is charged out of anger, jealousy or revenge.  There have been cases of parents retaliating against the boyfriend of their child by requiring her to make accusations of statutory rape. 

Contact:

Due to the seriousness of this felony charge and the potential consequences involved, it is imperative to hire an experienced attorney.  There may be mitigating circumstances that can be used to help your case.  David Foos has been defending those accused of a sex crime for over 30 years.  David Foos was a judicial officer for 16 years, sitting as a temporary judge hearing many of these cases.  As a result, David Foos knows many of the players in the system and will use that knowledge to your advantage. We will thoroughly investigate your case and have a team of professionals including expert witnesses that we will use to help get you the best possible result.  If you are looking for someone to fight for you and vigorously defend your case, then call Foos Gavin Law Firm at 916-779-3500, or email Mr. Foos directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Remember, the first consultation is at no cost to you.


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