blog home Sex Crimes Can I Be Charged with Statutory Rape if it was Consensual?

Can I Be Charged with Statutory Rape if it was Consensual?

By San Diego Attorney on September 11, 2013

In the state of California, you could be charged with statutory rape if you, as an adult, have engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor (i.e. someone under the age of 18). Since the age of consent is 18, the law states that a minor cannot legally agree to engage in sexual intercourse—regardless of whether or not they wanted to participate in the sex act at the time. While this scenario may not seem like it fits the definition of rape, which involves forcing another person to engage in sexual intercourse against their will, it is still against the law. Even if both parties have been involved in a long-term relationship, one could be charged with statutory rape if they have sex with their partner before they have reached the legal age of consent.

That being said, proving that the sex was consensual will not necessarily help your case. The only way that you could effectively fight a statutory rape charge would be to show that:

  • You had reason to believe that the minor was over the age of 18
  • You did not actually engage in sexual intercourse with the minor
  • You were falsely accused of committing statutory rape

The penalties for statutory rape in California are often severe, depending on how the crime is ultimately prosecuted. Since statutory rape is a "wobbler" offense, it could either be charged as a misdemeanor or felony sex crime. This determination will be made by looking at the age of both the victim and the offender. For example, statutory rape will always be charged as a misdemeanor if the offender is no more than three years older than the victim. If the age difference exceeds three years, the crime could be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony; however, if the victim is 16 or younger and the offender is 21 or older, the crime will most likely be prosecuted as a felony. This means that the penalties could range from 1 year in county jail to 4 years in state prison.

If you are currently facing statutory rape charges, it is imperative that you move quickly to secure the help of a San Diego criminal defense lawyer from JD Law. Regardless of how you found yourself in this position, you are innocent until you have been proven guilty by a jury of your peers. For this reason, you should waste no time in building an effective legal defense. When you contact our office today at (760) 630-2000, you can schedule a confidential meeting with our Certified Criminal Defense Specialist, James N. Dicks. He has successfully defended clients throughout Southern California for many years, so you can trust that your future is in good hands when you trust in our firm to represent you.

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A note from James N. Dicks:

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law.

Currently San Diego Superior Courts are closed but are set to reopen on Tuesday May 26th, 2020 barring any
future orders.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family. Please follow us on Facebook for any future updates.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law.

Los Tribunales Superiores de San Diego están cerrados, pero están programados para reabrir el martes 26 de mayo de 2020, salvo una nueva orden.

No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia. Síganos en Facebook para seguir siendo informado de novedades nuevas.


James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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COVID-19 Announcement

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law. No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia.

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