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Unlawful Sexual Intercourse With A Person Under 18


This sex crime is obviously a very serious crime and the courts, prosecutors and law enforcement are trying to protect minors.  So, if you’re charged or are potentially going to be charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, obviously you want to get an attorney as soon as possible and not make any statements.

Also, be careful that the authorities don’t have somebody call you, like the alleged victim or somebody else, challenge you with information, tape record the conversation and then use that evidence against you.  That’s called a pretext phone call. Contact our California criminal defense lawyers to review your case.

Reasonable Belief Not a Minor

Now, it’s not really clear when you say unlawful sexual intercourse.  That could be consensual.  In other words, if you have some sort of sexual contact with someone under the age of 18, even if it’s consensual, that’s still a crime.  The only way you would get out of that realistically is if the person was close to the age of 18 and looked like they were 18 years old or older and they represented to you that they were 18 or older, then you could make the argument that you reasonably should not have known that person was under the age of 18, it was consensual and therefore, it’s no crime.  That argument can prevail, obviously, under the right circumstances with the right evidence.

But otherwise, even if the other person consented to have some sort of sexual contact with you, if you knew that they were under the age of 18, that’s a crime.  California Penal Code Section 261.5 which is a wobbler and could charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, can be charged against you.  You could be looking at probation, jail time, even prison time and you could also be looking at having to register as a sex offender.

A lot of times where I see this come up is where another party gets someone pregnant and then the hospital is looking for who the father is on the birth certificate.  The next thing you know they’re realizing that the person that’s pregnant is under the age of 18, and obviously the father is going to have a problem in that scenario.  If the person’s name is given, police are likely going to be called to the hospital because the hospital has a duty to report any type of sexual contact with someone under the age of 18.

Don’t Make Statements to Police

So, again, these cases are serious.  A lot is on the line.  You definitely don’t want to make any statements to the police.  As soon as you feel that you’re in a position where you’re going to be looking at potential criminal charges, jail time, prison time, sex registration, you want to get an attorney on board right away and let the attorney guide you through the process.

I have you come in, we sit down, we go over the whole case.  We talk about it and get our strategy together and we start making moves right from the beginning that protects your rights, your freedom, your reputation and your criminal record which is obviously very important when it comes to these cases.

One good thing about these type of sex crime cases is there is a chance if you do have to plead guilty or no-contest to Penal Code Section 261.5 consensual sexual contact or intercourse with somebody under the age of 18, you could avoid sex registration.  This is not a mandatory sex registration crime.  So, this is one of the few crimes that can be charged as a felony that you don’t have to necessarily register as a sex offender.

The prosecutors can require it as part of a plea deal in Los Angeles county or the judge can order it as part of a probationary sentence in Los Angeles county.  A lot of it is negotiable and is something you want to talk to your attorney about.  Let the attorney make the arguments and the moves necessary to get you the best possible resolution.

So, if you’re charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 in one of the Los Angeles county courthouses, pick up the phone and call me.  We’ll sit down and meet.  If it’s your child that’s charged with that or someone that you know, obviously you want to get them a good attorney who knows what they’re going and who has handled these type of cases successfully in LA county.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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