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California sex crimes: Fighting statutory rape charges

Statutory rape is a serious criminal offense in California. Those accused of sex crimes of this nature may face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the specifics of their cases. Fighting statutory rape charges is certainly not an easy thing to accomplish, but there are a variety of defensive strategies that may prove helpful.

Statutory rape charges may be filed against adults who have sexual relations with anyone under the age of 18 -- which is the age of consent in California. Statutory rape is quite different from other rape charges because it does not have a force requirement. Many individuals who are accused of this type of rape are in what they view as consensual relationships; unfortunately, the state simply does not view it in the same light.

Two main factors are used when determining what kind of charges are to be filed in this type of case. These are the age of the victim and the age difference between the accused and his or her victim. Of course, other things may be looked at as well -- such as previous criminal history, the use of drugs or alcohol and if the incident resulted in pregnancy.

If convicted of sex crimes of this nature, penalties typically include imprisonment and the payment of fines. California has adopted Romeo and Juliet Laws that may protect some individuals who are accused of statutory rape from facing the full brunt of the penalties, and may even reduce the level at which charges are filed. Every situation is unique, however, and what may work for one individual may not work for another. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those accused of statutory rape fight the charges in ways that are best suited to their specific circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "Statutory Rape", Accessed on Dec. 10, 2015

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