Los Angeles Attorney Defends You on Charges of Statutory Rape

In California, the legal system handles statutory rape as a complex matter, offering the possibility of charging it as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity of the penalties largely depends on the age difference between you and the alleged victim. Specifically, under California Penal Code Section 261.5(d), if you are 21 or older and the alleged victim is younger than 16, the law considers this a more serious offense, potentially leading to felony charges and up to four years in prison.

At the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we are committed to safeguarding your rights and freedom. Since 2003, Attorney Arash Hashemi has successfully navigated numerous clients in Los Angeles through the intricacies of complicated sex crime cases. We understand the profound impact a conviction can have on your life, including potential imprisonment, fines, and the long-term consequences of having a criminal record. Our approach is to meticulously analyze every aspect of your case, exploring all possible defenses.

Legal Age of Consent in California

The legal age of consent is 18 years old in the state of California. Engaging in sexual contact with anyone younger than 18, who is not your spouse, is illegal, regardless of the individual’s consent. California Penal Code Section 261.5 explicitly states the legal framework for statutory rape charges. If your age exceeds the minor’s by no more than three years, the law typically considers the offense a misdemeanor. Conversely, exceeding this age difference by more than three years may lead to charges of either a felony or a misdemeanor, underscoring the severity of the age gap.

Defending a Statutory Rape Charge

Facing a statutory rape charge in Los Angeles demands immediate action and the guidance of a skilled defense lawyer. In these cases, two primary defenses often emerge as the most effective:

  1. Reasonable Belief in Age: Asserting that you reasonably believed the victim was 18 or older. This defense hinges on demonstrating that your belief was not only sincere but also reasonable under the circumstances.
  2. Denial of Sexual Intercourse: Firmly stating that no sexual intercourse occurred with the victim. This defense involves providing evidence or testimony that contradicts the claim of sexual activity.

It’s crucial to recognize that statutory rape cases hinge on the age of the victim, not on issues of consent. Arguments suggesting that the victim consented to or initiated the sexual activity are irrelevant and will not stand as a valid defense in these cases. The law is clear: if the victim is under the age of consent, their agreement or participation in sexual activities does not mitigate the charge.

If Convicted of Statutory Rape, Do You Register as a Sex Offender?

In California, being convicted of statutory rape does not automatically require you to register as a sex offender. This applies whether the conviction is for a misdemeanor or a felony. According to Penal Code Section 290, the requirement to register as a sex offender is generally reserved for more severe sexual offenses and is determined by the specific circumstances of each case.

However, it’s important to note that if you move to another state, you will be subject to that state’s sex offender registration laws, which may differ from California’s. These laws could require registration based on the same conviction. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of and comply with the legal requirements in any state where you reside or move to.

Contact us for your defense to statutory rape charges

A statutory rape conviction can result in a criminal record and even jail time. We at the Law Offices of Arash Hashemi know how to craft a solid defense to protect your freedom and future. You can schedule a consultation with a lawyer at our firm by calling us at (310) 448-1529 or contacts us online. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.

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