Visalia Rape Defense Lawyer

Serving Fresno & All of CAlifornia: (559) 377-7319

A person 21 years or older who engages in sexual intercourse under the age of 18 years old is guilty of statutory rape or “unlawful intercourse” in violation of Penal Code section 261.5(d).

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the people must prove that:

  • The defendant had sexual intercourse with another person;
  • The defendant and the other person were not married to each other at the time of the intercourse;
  • The defendant was at least 21 years old at the time of the intercourse; and
  • The other person was under the age of 18 years at the time of the intercourse.

Under California law, sexual intercourse means any penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus by the penis. Further, a person is deemed to have turned 18 the first minute of the day of his or her birthday.

The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can discuss your charge and possible defenses to your case. Contact our firm.

Penalties for Misdemeanor & Felony Convictions

Prosecutors hold the discretion to charge statutory rape as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. When charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include probation, a maximum year county jail sentence, and/or up to $1,000 in fines.

If convicted under felony charges, penalties for statutory rape include probation with up to one year county jail and 16 months to 3 years in custody. In cases involving a defendant 21 or older and the alleged victim was under 16, potential sentence is 2 to 4 years in custody and up to $10,000 in fines.

Under California law, a conviction for statutory rape under Penal Code 261.5 alone does not require registration as a sex offender. However, certain related offenses do require sex offender registration, including rape and lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

Defenses to Statutory Rape in California

The first defense deals with whether or not intercourse occurred. Here a defendant would be required to present evidence to rebut the fact that penetration occurred. This would largely be a matter of witness testimony and circumstantial evidence. In some cases, the alleged victim may have misrepresented his or her age as being over 18 years old or the defendant may have held a reasonable belief that the alleged victim was over the age of 18. As such, the defendant may raise the defense of reasonable mistake as to the age of the alleged victim. Under this recognized defense to statutory rape, the defendant would present evidence that he or she reasonably and believed that the other person was age 18 or older.

In some cases, a defendant may attempt to allege that the intercourse was consensual. Even if the alleged victim allowed the defendant to engage in intercourse with him or her, legally the relationship could not be consensual given the fact the victim, by virtue of his or her age, was not capable of granting legal consent. As such, it is not a defense that the alleged victim may have consented to the intercourse and may be detrimental to the defense of the case, as it would constitute an admission of wrongful conduct.

Protect Your Rights. Call (559) 377-7319.

Given the high risk involved with a statutory rape charge, it is important to seek experienced counsel if you are the subject of an investigation or are detained by law enforcement. Regardless of whether or not the case proceeds to trial, the seriousness of a California statutory rape charge requires the assistance of a skilled and committed Visalia rape defense lawyer who knows every legal argument when defending clients.

If you have been arrested for the crime of statutory rape in the Visalia, California area, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights: (559) 377-7319.

Client Reviews 

  • “I highly recommend Christopher Marten attorney at law”

    - an AVVO client
  • “Peace of mind during the worst time of my life.”

    - an AVVO client
  • “I would recommend this lawyer if you're in need of legal advice or representation”

    - an AVVO client

WHY HIRE OUR TEAM OF ATTORNEYS?

  • We have more than 15 years of legal experience

  • Mr. Martens has an AVVO rating of 10/10, and is highly recommended by former clients.

  • Over 1,000 cases successfully handled & over 100 jury trials handled.

  • We manage criminal defense, personal injury, & estate planning cases.

  • We offer free consultations not matter the case.

YOU STILL HAVE RIGHTS. A CRIMINAL CHARGE ISN’T THE END FOR YOU.

You need a lawyer who has the skill and dedication to achieve the best possible outcome while never losing sight of the priorities most important to you. Find out how we can help you protect your future.

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Hire an attorney who will fight for you

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