It's nothing new, nothing unheard of. The tale of two young lovers. hopelessly, endlessly in love with each other. A Romeo and Juliette. You see them in high schools, walking down the street, in the malls, and everywhere in between. Young love, there's nothing like it and your first love, they say, is never forgotten. But if you live in the state of California that young love could be considered a crime.
In the state of California, according to Penal Code section 261.5, if you are age 18 and over and are engaging in sexual acts with anyone under age 18, it is considered Statutory Rape. In other words, if you're an 18-year-old Senior dating a 17 year old Junior and having sexual relations, you are committing a crime. Regardless that the relationship is consensual it is still considered a crime and has legal consequences.
According to the US Department of Justice, 3 of every 10 statutory rape offenders in the US are boyfriends or girlfriends. To add to it, just about anyone can report statutory rape. From parents to teachers, from physicians to clergy members, anyone who knows or suspects statutory rape has the right and sometimes, the legal obligation to report it. The offense can be charged at the discretion of the prosecutor as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the difference in age between the accused and the victim. Punishment for statutory rape varies case by case and fines can run up to $ 10,000.
If you have been accused of statutory rape in Murrieta or the neighboring communities of Temecula, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Banning, Corona, Winchester or Riverside, you are facing a serious offense and will need expert legal advice. Since the Riverside County District Attorney's Office reviews each case independently, it is imperative to know your rights and obligations under California law.
Our office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California.