In California, statutory rape is a wobbler crime, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime.
It is crucial that you begin working with a seasoned California criminal defense attorney as soon as you find out that you’re suspected of having sexual relations with a minor. Not only can an Orange County sex crimes lawyer help decrease the chances that you will be convicted, your attorney can also help you maintain your privacy through the criminal proceedings ahead.
Consequences For Statutory Rape
If you are convicted of statutory rape, you face potential jail time in addition to other consequences like fines, community service and mandatory counseling. Perhaps the most unwanted consequences of statutory rape is the requirement to register as a sex offender with the state of California. Orange County courts will mandate that you register as a sex offender on a nationally accessible database, which can be publicly accessed by anyone. This means that you will not be able to maintain privacy about your conviction, and you will be precluded from living in certain areas and must register changes in your telephone number and addresses.
Potential Defenses For Statutory Rape
There are two primary defense strategies against allegations of statutory rape.
- You had reason to believe the minor was over the age of 18. A minor lying about his or her age at the time of sexual relations can cause an adult to unwittingly engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is underage. If you had reason to believe that the individual with whom you engaged in sexual relations with was a legal adult, this could be enough to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed entirely.
- Sex did not actually occur. In order for a defendant to be convicted of statutory rape, it must be proven by the prosecution that actual sexual intercourse occurred. If the prosecution cannot produce evidence that convinces a jury that the defendant did indeed have intercourse with the minor, the charges are likely to be dismissed.
Depending on your situation, your attorney may recommend using one of these tactics to defend against the charges.
The Benefit of Working With a Former Prosecutor
Working with a former prosecutor can be exceptionally helpful in a statutory rape case. With inside knowledge of what evidence the prosecution will be looking for in order to convict you, your attorney can help you gather evidence to the contrary. Knowing in advance what tactics the prosecution will likely use will allow you to meet them head-on at every turn, creating reasonable doubt in the jury and increasing the chances that the case against you will dissolve.
Contact the Law Offices of Joshua P. Visco to speak with a seasoned Orange County statutory rape defense attorney and former prosecutor. Attorney Visco has the expertise and background to give your case a razor-sharp legal edge. Call today at (714) 242-1223.