The age the consent in Califoniais18 years old. The legitimate age that consent describes the period at i m sorry a person have the right to legally consent to connect in sexual intercourse. This period is the exact same for males and females.

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A human being who has actually sex v a young under the age of 18 breaks the age that consent law and also can it is in prosecuted because that a crime – typically for statutory rape, every Penal password 261.5.

The complying with are a couple of scenarios that could lead to pc 261.5 charges:

a 19-year-old woman high school senior has sex through a 16-year-old male who is in numerous of she classes; a 35-year-old college professor develops a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl that is in one of the classes that teaches; and also a pair that high school sweethearts who have been dating for three years have sex because that the an initial time as soon as he is an 18-year-old however she is still only 16.

Thecrime the statutory rape is a California “wobbler” offense. This method that the crime deserve to be charged aseitheramisdemeanoror afelonydepending on the truth of the case. The offense deserve to be punished by up to 4 years injail or prison.

Note thatCalifornia go not have actually a Romeo and Juliet law. “Romeo and also Juliet” regulations prevent the prosecution of persons who engage in consensual sexual task when:

both next are really close in period to one another, and also both are below the age of consent.

There isone exceptionwhere a minorcan legit havesexual intercourse v an adult. This is when the two parties arelawfully married.

A charge concerned statutory rape is the fee oflewd acts with a minor child, under Penal code 288.PC 288 specifies a “lewd act v a young child” together either:

poignant a son for sex-related purposes, or bring about a child to touch him/herself or someone else for a sexual purpose.

Depending on the facts of a case, a conviction oflewd acts v a minorcan command to:

as much as life in the California state prison.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:


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The age of consent in California is 18.


1. What is the “age that consent” in California?

18 year of age. Under California law, a human must be at least 18 years of age in bespeak legally to have sex with another person to who he or she is no married. Having actually sex v a person under the legal age of consent will subject a human being to criminal liability.

Also keep in mind that if a person is 18 years of age or older, and he/she has sexual intercoursewith a minor, that human breaks the period of consent law and also can be prosecuted for a crime – frequently forstatutory rape, every Penal password 261.5.

Sexual intercourse” means any sexual penetration, no matter exactly how slight, the the vagina (“vaginal intercourse”) or genitalia by the penis. Ejaculation is no required.1

Age that consent regulations are intended todeter adultsfrom seeking the end underage sex partners. This is because children space generallynot tires enoughto do intelligent and also informed decisions about the physical and also emotional dangers of having sex.

The period of consent varies state-by-state indigenous 16 come 18 year of age throughout the U.S.

2. What is statutory rape, per Penal code 261.5?

Under CaliforniaPenal password 261.5 PC, a “statutory rape”takes place when any person engages in sex-related intercourse v a personunder the age of 18.2

The crime the statutory rape is also commonly described as “unlawful sex through a minor” or together “unlawful sexual intercourse.”

Statutory rape is a crime regardless of whether the sex was consensual or also initiated by the young (the supposed “victim” that the crime).3

A statutory rape case is a California “wobbler” offense. This means that the crime have the right to be charged aseithera misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the facts of the case.4

Theage differencebetween the defendant and the minor is among the significant factors determining how the crime is tried. If the defendant is 21 or older and the boy is under the age of 16, the penalty are most likely to be many severe.

In such a case they can encompass up to four years in theCalifornia state prison.

3. Go statutory rape in California require registration together a sex offender?

A statutory rape charge, or a conviction that the same, does not require sex offender it is registered under California Penal password 290 PC.5

Certain associated offenses, though, do require the defendant to be on the sex offender registry, including:

lewd acts v a child, per Penal code 288.

Now v the pass of California Senate invoice 145 (2020), judges may waive the sex registration need for details defendants convicted under the complying with penal code subsections if the son was a 14-year-old (or older) and within 10 years of age of the defendant:

SB 145 is aligned to close-in age LGBT youth who have consensual oral sex or anal sex. Opponents of the new law claim it promotes pedophilia and also sexual abuse.

4. Go California have a “Romeo and also Juliet” law?

Californiadoes not have actually a Romeo and also Juliet law. “Romeo and Juliet” legislations are likewise referred to together “close in period exemptions.” The laws prevent the beginning of young people who connect in consensual sex plot when:

both parties are an extremely close in age to one another, and also both are listed below the period of consent.

An example here is once two world engage in consensual sex and both room 17 year old, or one is 16 year old and also the various other is 17.

Since there isno Rome and Juliet regulation in California, it is possible for two people, both under the age of 18, to it is in prosecuted for statutory rape if they connect in sexual intercourse.


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If a boy is legit married come an adult, climate they may connect in consensual sex.


5. Is there any type of exception wherein a minor can have sexual connections with one adult?

There is one exemption where a minorcanhave sexual intercourse through an adult. This is when the two parties room married.

Penal code 261.5astates:

“Unlawful sexual intercourse is an action of sex-related intercourse accomplished with a human being who isnot the spouseof the perpetrator, if the human being is a minor.”

(emphasis added). The language, “not the spouse the the perpetrator,” method that no statutory rape charges will certainly be filed if:

over there is consensual sex in between two parties, one or more of the persons is below the age of 18, and also the 2 parties arelawfully married.

Note the California is among just a couple of states thatdoes nothave a minimum age for marriage. If a minor though decides to marry, that human being must attain parental consent and also a court order before the marriage.

6. Is it legal because that an adult to day a boy in California?

While in general, the is legal because that an adult to day a minor, it is typically unwise because that this come happen.

And, the is illegal because that an adult to date a boy if the adult:

has actually a criminal record, is a sex offender, or is a teacher or in a similar position of to trust or authority.

Please additionally note that, based upon California law, that is illegal for an adult to do any type of of the complying with with a minor that is dating:

have actually sex, purchase for or re-publishing alcohol or cigarettes, carry the minor come an R-rated movie, and also show any pornography.

7. Room there any type of legal defenses to statutory rape charges?

There are three typical legal defenses to any accusations that statutory rape. This are:

falsely accused– which way the alleged victim misidentified the defendant or lied, age of consent– which means both parties that involved in sexual intercourse to be 18 years of age or older, and also no sex-related intercourse– which method that while two persons under 18 might have had an intimate encounter, they walk not engage in “sexual intercourse.”

Note the consent is no a defense to statutory rape allegations.6 the is also not a defense that the defendant believed the boy was of age.7

In any case, the district attorney has actually the load to prove guilt past a reasonable doubt. As long as prosecutors fail to meet this burden, the charge should be dismissed.

8. What is California Penal code 288 – lewd acts through a young child?

Penal password 288 is the California statute that renders it a sex crime for a person to interact in a lewd act v a young child.

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The statute specifies a “lewd act v a minor child” together either:

emotional a son for sexual purposes, or bring about a child to touch him/herself or who else because that a sex-related purpose.8

Technically, this section applies when the victim is anyone under period 16.9 But because most prosecutions under this ar involve children under 14, this crime is regularly referred to as:

lewd acts through a son under 14, lewd acts upon a minor under 14, or plot of lewd and also lascivious conduct.

The penalties because that a violation ofPC 288depend on a mix of factors, including:

the age of the child, whether the lewd plot was completed by force, violence, duress, or threats, whether there to be a sample of lewd acts, and also if the son was 14 or 15, the period of the defendant.

Depending on the truth of the case, a conviction that lewd acts through a minor deserve to lead to:

imprisonment in the county jail for as much as one year, or approximately life in the California state prison.

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