Statutory Rape and Unlawful Sexual Intercourse | Temecula, Murrieta and Menifee Criminal Law Office

Temecula, Murrieta and Menifee Lawyer for Statutory Rape or Unlawful Intercourse with a Minor, Law Office of Nicolai Cocis

In my experience, young people who are sexually active are savvy about important issues. They are aware that it is important to take precautions against pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and to obtain valid consent between partners. But if either member of the couple is under 18, then a night together can turn into a life-shattering event even if they do everything right.

In California, the age of legal consent for sexual intercourse is 18 years old. That means if a 19-year-old woman sleeps with a 17-year-old man, she has committed "statutory rape"[1]. It doesn't matter that they are only two years apart in age. The fact that the sex was consensual is also irrelevant. California does not have a so called "Romeo and Juliet" rule which exempts a couple from liability for “statutory rape” if they are about the same age. Even worse, if both of them are under 18, under California law, both could be prosecuted.

In addition, penalties for statutory rape can be severe, including up to three years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines, depending on the age difference between the two partners. If one person is over 18 and considerably older than the other, the penalties are more severe, as they are if one partner is over 21 or under 16.

If you or a loved one has been accused of statutory rape, get in touch with our law office immediately. I will go over the circumstances of your individual case and advise on the best way forward, keeping in mind that we want to preserve the future of your minor son or daughter. Because “statutory rape” is a strict liability crime (meaning that there is no defense), we have to put an aggressive legal strategy in place to make sure the prosecutor cannot prove itscase beyond a reasonable doubt or to convince the prosecutor to drop -- or at least lower -- the charges.

Our law office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent individuals charged with Criminal Offenses, DUI and Juvenile Matters in the Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar, Winchester, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Perris, Corona and all other Riverside County areas.

For more information contact us for a free consultation.


[1] California Penal Code 261.5.
(a) Unlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator, if the person is a minor. For the purposes of this section, a “minor” is a person under the age of 18 years and an “adult” is a person who is at least 18 years of age.
(b) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is not more than three years older or three years younger than the perpetrator, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(d) Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or four years.
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