Most people know the importance of ensuring that sexual partners are of age. Having sex with someone who is underage is illegal and can lead to jail time. This crime is commonly referred to as statutory rape, although this term is not often used in formal legal texts. Many jurisdictions instead substitute terms like corruption of a minor, or even just simply sexual assault.
Minors (and mentally challenged adults) are considered legally unable to consent and therefore can only be coerced into sex. Even if the minor verbally consented to sex, it is considered coercive. Statutory rape, however, must be distinguished from child molestation, which is usually considered a much more serious offense. In cases of child molestation, the victim is usually pre-pubescent, while statutory rape involves pubescent young people.
In California the age of consent is 18, although the laws have provisions that prevent an 18-year-old from being imprisoned for having sex with a 17-year-old. Under California law, statutory rape does not apply if the perpetrator is within three years of the victim in age. For example, if the “victim” is 17 years old, the “perpetrator” must be over 20 years of age for a charge of statutory rape.
Statutory rape is a very serious charge, and a conviction will often mean being forever branded as a sex offender. Fortunately, a skilled defense lawyer can help you clear your name of false charges. San Jose criminal lawyer Daniel Jensen has decades of experience helping clients like you. To discuss your case and learn how he can help you, contact the Law Offices of Daniel Jensen, P.C. today at (408) 296-4100.