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Is it Illegal For an 18-Year-Old to Date a 17-Year-Old in California?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose criminal defense lawyers, statutory rape, statutory rape law, felony offense, sex offenseIn the eyes of the law, minors, due to their young age, are not legally capable of giving informed consent to engage in sexual activities. Therefore, it is illegal to have sexual intercourse with a minor even if the minor willingly participates.

Each state has codified this law in one way or another, although it should be noted that the age of consent varies a bit from state to state. In California the legal age of consent is 18. Therefore, anyone who has sex with someone who is under 18 (provided that the minor is not their spouse) has broken the law and can be charged with statutory rape. This is true even if the two individuals are very close in age.

So, to answer the question at hand, yes, it is illegal for an 18-year-old to date a 17-year-old in California provided that the term “date” is being used in this context as a euphemism for sexual intercourse and that the couple is not legally married.

California’s Definition of Statutory Rape

California’s main statutory rape law (contained in section 261.5 of the California Penal Code) makes it is illegal to have sexual intercourse with a minor (i.e. a person who is less than 18 years old), provided that the minor is not your spouse. This is the case even if the intercourse is consensual. For example, if a 25-year-old man has consensual sex with a 16-year-old girl who is not his wife, then he can be charged with statutory rape in California even if the teenage girl seduced him and he was unaware that she was underage.

Additionally, it should be noted that whether the crime of statutory rape is charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony offense in California is dependent on the age difference between the offender and the victim. For example, if the age difference between the offender and the minor is not more than three years, then he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor.

On the other hand, if the minor is more than three years younger than the offender then the offender can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Also, if the offender is 21 years old or older and the minor is less than 16 years old then the offender can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Consult with a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or your child has been accused of statutory rape in California be sure to contact the experienced San Jose criminal defense lawyers of Jachimowicz Law Group without delay. Our top-notch sex crime lawyers are based out of San Jose and defend clients throughout Northern California. To discuss your case with one of our attorneys during a free consultation, reach out to us today.

Source:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=261.5 .

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