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Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer in California



Statutory Rape Attorney in California

If you or someone you know is being charged with statutory rape, things can get complex and overwhelming, and we at the Hedding Law Firm are available to help you and to be in your corner. We will Statutory Rape Defense Lawyer in Californiareview your charges and discuss all you options with you.

Our main objective is to make the consequences of your charges as minimal as possible. Contact our sex crime defense lawyers to review your case.

Statutory rape is a wobbler, meaning it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are being charged with this sex offense and you are no more than three years older than the victim, the offense is charged as a misdemeanor. If you are more than three years older or if you are over 21 and the victim under 16, then the offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

California Penal Code Section 261.5

Statutory rape, defined by California Penal Code Section 261.5, which makes it illegal for a person to engage in sexual intercourse with a person that is under 18 years old, whether it was consensual or non consenting.

If you get convicted of statutory rape this is a sex crime.  It’s not one that you’re usually going to be forced to register as a sex offender, but if the judge deems that it’s appropriate, they still could order you to register as a sex offender.  So, this is one of the few sex crimes that you might actually be able to escape sex registration if you’re convicted of it.

As far as how you get convicted of it, you’re going to have to have some sort of sexual intercourse with somebody who is under the age of 18, and obviously, it’s going to have to be consensual.  If it’s not consensual, it’s a much more serious crime.

But if you have consensual sex without somebody under the age of 18 you could be charged with a violation of Penal Code Section 261.5 which is commonly known as statutory rape.

Anybody Under The Age of 18 Can’t Give Consent

Where you start to get into problems is if the person is very young and they can’t consent.  That’s the whole point.  Anybody under the age of 18 can’t consent, so even if they do say yes, I agree to have sex with you, the consent is no good because the law does not allow somebody that age to be able to consent.  In simple terms, it’s illegal to have sex with a minor.

And obviously, the younger the person, the more charges that might be applicable to you and the more likely the prosecutors are going to want you to register as a sex offender and send you to prison if you are convicted of such an offense.

Also, the larger the age gap, the more likely you’re going to have a problem when it comes to statutory rape or any type of sex offense in Los Angeles county.  Usually the way I see the prosecutors finding out about statutory rape is, maybe the person’s parents find out about it.

They get ahold of their phone and they can see that their daughter is having a conversation with somebody — maybe explicit photographs are sent back and forth and somebody finds out about them — maybe somebody over-hears it and gets the police involved.

Hospitals Have a Duty To Report Pregnancy of Minors

Another area where I see statutory rape coming up is if somebody actually gets pregnant and has the child, and at the birth the hospital is asking for the father’s name.  They realize that the patient is under the age of 18.  They’re then going to call the police.  They have a duty to report that type of conduct/activity.

The police are going to come out and if they’re able to confirm a name and information on a person, they’re going to follow up and investigate that and potentially arrest that person for statutory rape.  They’ll give that case to the prosecutors and let the prosecutors decide whether they’re going to file it or not.

Some of these cases are filed; some of them aren’t.  A lot of it has to do with being able to prove the case or not.  If the prosecutors are going to have trouble with proof — in other words, nobody really knows that two people had sexual intercourse except the two people involved, obviously defendant is going to be smart enough not to say anything, and if he’s one of my clients, he’s definitely not going to be talking to police.

If they’re alleged victim still likes the defendant and doesn’t want to see the defendant get in trouble, then they’re probably going to be uncooperative.  So, now what kind of a case does that leave for the prosecutors?  That’s the question.

Can they still prove the statutory rape case independent of cooperation from the defendant or cooperation from the alleged victim?  That’s going to be one of the big factors in determining whether they’re going to file the criminal case or not.

Obviously, if somebody has a baby and they have a name of a person they can do a DNA test and that would certainly be a way to prove that the individual had sex with somebody who was under the age of 18.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Lawyer

These cases are serous.  There’s a lot on the line.  So, if you’re facing a statutory rape charge, your best bet is obviously, hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney.  I’ve been handling these type of offenses now for twenty-five years all over Los Angeles county.  I know how to deal with them.  Obviously, I know how to defend them.

Another potential defense is you thought the person was over the age of 18.  Maybe they gave you a fake I.D.  Maybe they said they were over the age of 18.  Maybe they look over the age of 18.

It just depends on the facts and circumstances of the case, but you have to actually know or reasonably believe that whoever you’re having sex with is under the age of 18, in which case you could be potentially guilty for the crime if they have all of the elements to be able to meet.

So, if you have one of these statutory rape cases in LA, pick up the phone.  Give me a call.  Well sit down in the privacy of my office and get a strategy together that makes sense for you, your situation, your job, your future, your freedom and your rights, and then we’re going to do everything we can to get you out of the criminal justice system and protect your reputation.

There are a number of defenses to use and our sex crime lawyers will present every applicable defense on your behalf aggressively and persistently. Contact our attorneys immediately so we can review your charges and see if we can avoid the charges all together.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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