Having sexual intercourse with a minor is obviously against the law, but it’s not always a simple case. What you are charged with and what the potential consequences will be will largely depend on several factors, such as the exact age of the minor and how old you were at the time of the offense. It can be a tricky situation, and it is only exacerbated by the social stigma attached to these types of offenses. Here’s what you need to know about being charged with having sexual intercourse with a minor.
Most people probably think of the term statutory rape when the concept of sex with a minor is brought up. A statutory rape charge applies when someone has intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. This crime is covered in Section 261.5 of the California Penal Code. California is one of the few states that allows people to get married at any age, however, it requires parental consent and the consent on the court. In such a situation, intercourse with a minor may be legal.
When it comes to statutory rape, consent can never be a defense. If the child is under the age of 18, then having sex with them would be illegal. It is still illegal even if you are under the age of 18, or very close in age to the minor. Since they are not of legal age to have sex, then they cannot “consent” to the act.
That said, statutory rape can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. This is what is known as a “wobbler” offense. The circumstances at the time of the incident will dictate how severe the punishment will be if convicted. Those circumstances are the ages that you and the minor are when you have sex.
For instance, if you are close in age and within 3 years of the minor, then the charge will be a misdemeanor. You may face jail time and a fine.
Being more than 3 years older than the minor means the sentence is a bit higher. If the minor is 16 or 17 years old, then the court has the choice of charging you with a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor then the consequences are the same as if you are close in age to the minor. If it charged as a felony, then the consequences are much harsher and could include several years in jail.
When the victim is under 16 years of age, then the penalties can be even more severe, especially if you are over the age of 21. Fines and jail time for this offense can be quite high.
If you are convicted of statutory rape you will not necessarily be counted on the sex offender registry. However, a judge can mandate that you register at their discretion. They would only do this if the details of the offense and the specific case warrants that designation.
Lewd Acts With a Minor
A lewd act is any behavior that is sexual in nature. If your sexual encounter is with a minor who is under the age of 14, then the charges you face could fall under the Lewd Act Section of the Penal code, 288(a).
A lewd act can mean one of many things. For example, it could be touching a child inappropriately through clothing or on bare skin. It can also be if you got the child to touch themselves or someone else in a sexual or provocative way. To be a criminal offense, the touching must be on purpose, and you must have done it for sexual arousal of some kind, whether it be for yourself or the minor. Again, a minor cannot consent to these acts, so that can not be a defense.
Since the victim is under the age of 14, the state considers this a felony, and the penalties can be much more severe than if you are charged under the statutory rape law. Along with jail time and fines, you can also get a strike on your criminal record. Since California has the three strikes law, subsequent convictions can mean even more jail time and higher fines. Not only that, but you will be mandated to register as a sex offender. Lewd acts with a minor is a serious crime and carries serious consequences.
Defending a charge of statutory rape or lewd acts with a minor can be incredibly difficult. You need the services of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can fight for your rights and for the best outcome possible. If you have been charged with having sexual intercourse with someone who is a minor, contact Lamano Law today at 510-842-0750 to talk about how we can help.
All across the country including the Bay Area and Oakland, people are following suggestions to shelter in place in their homes to protect themselves and each other from Covid-19. Since there are no empty houses, and fewer people on the streets, alleged criminals have fewer opportunities to strike. However, the unfortunate part of this, according to crime statistics around the country, is that domestic violence is rising with families in isolation together and tensions running high. It’s unfortunate what having everyone at home can do to the crime rate and increase of domestic violence phone calls to the police.
There are several reasons why the risk of domestic violence is getting higher during lockdowns and social distancing. In normal times, losing jobs, kids at home for holidays, and health scares can be big causes of domestic violence. Now, these factors are multiplied with so many millions of people going through those factors all over the country.
Law enforcement is urging people who are experiencing or who spot signs of abuse to reach out for help. They want to make it clear that they are able to help and that no one should be suffering in silence behind closed doors. In fact, in Los Angeles, lawyers report an increase in calls from women who have been the victims of violence from their partners. They are attributing that rise to the Coronavirus.
One big example of the type of disputes that families are having is with isolation and social distancing orders. Citizens are generally only permitted to go out of the home for essential duties, such as grocery shopping. One partner might be skirting these regulations and either getting abused mentally and or physically or abusing the one who complains about it. Abuse or harassment can come in many forms, whether it be verbally or physically.
Practicing social distancing is maybe one of the most important weapons in the fight to slow the spread of Covid-19. However, we must remember the risk to those who are more likely to be victims of violence and abuse in their homes.
When looking at property crime and police calls around major cities, such as New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles the numbers for property crime have dropped as much as 30% for the past month. New York City, which is the current epicenter of the virus outbreak in the United States is reporting that crime is down in just about every category. Some of the city’s streets, which are usually bustling with activity from commerce to tourists, are almost empty. Burglaries are down 20%, and rapes have dropped by over half.
Estimates show that the citizens of 23 states have been asked to stay home to slow the spread of the virus. This represents about 217 million people, which is well over half of the country. One of the other largest cities, Los Angeles, is reporting that their most common crime, car thefts, is down 24%. Car break-ins are 40% lower. San Francisco has found that shoplifting and bicycle theft have dropped as much as 30%.
In Oakland, officials feel that the lower crime rates are a positive sign beyond citizens being safe from crime. It is also showing that citizens are doing what governments are asking and staying home to keep everyone safe. Social distancing means that the police can focus on public safety and helping the community get through these difficult times without additional distractions from street crime.
With orders to stay at home in California, special events and sports are being canceled or postponed, and an overall disruption to normal daily life, people are more stressed than ever. Layoffs and job-losses are rampant, and citizens fear the health crisis that may come with the virus spreading quickly around the country and the world. With all of that stress, and with families pressed together in close quarters, arguments and fighting amongst family members are rising.
Seattle is another center of the outbreak, and their domestic violence numbers have risen by 22% compared to the same week last year. Police say that most of the increase can be chalked up to arguments that got heated enough to call the police. In the vast majority of the cases, there was no violence, injury, damage, or arrests made. However, it is still taking up the time of the police.
If you’re in San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda or Contra Costa County, and you, someone you love or know has been the victim or wrongly accused of domestic violence and needs legal representation – please don’t hesitate to let us know. We are open for business and fully operational. We are receiving calls and taking new cases. For their protection and security, we are having our staff work from home.
We are available to meet with you by phone, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, and other similar platforms. In this time of crisis, we are here to help you and give you all the information you need to protect yourself, your loved ones, and prevent having a criminal record affect your personal and professional life.