The age of consent varies from state to state, but in California, anyone under the age of 18 is perceived as incapable of giving informed consent to sexual relations. This means that anyone who has sexual relations with a minor, regardless of their age, can be charged with statutory rape even if the sex was voluntary.

Since teens are frequently sexually active in this day and age, statutory rape violations are commonplace in California. If you or someone you care about has been charged or is being investigated for statutory rape, it is vital that you get an experienced sex crimes attorney to fight for your side. At Aron Law Firm, we provide the thoughtful and intelligent representation you need to defend your case effectively.

California Laws Regarding Sex With a Minor

Under California Penal Code 261.5, any person can be convicted of statutory rape if they engage in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is:

  • Not more than three years older or three years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of a misdemeanor
  • More than three years younger than the perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony

The law also states that any person who is 21 years or older who engages in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16 is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony.

In September 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law granting judges a say on whether someone should be registered as a sex offender if they had oral or anal sexual relations with a minor.

Prior to 2020, California law permitted judges to decide if a man should be registered as a sex offender if they had voluntary vaginal intercourse with a 14–17-year-old girl, but only if he was no more than 10 years older than her. By amending the law to include oral and anal sex, LGBTQ young people will receive the same treatment heterosexual minors have been given for decades.

Penalties for Statutory Rape in California

The sentencing for statutory rape, as with any sex crime in California, is severe. People facing statutory rape charges will face punishments that can affect their reputation, freedom, and housing or employment opportunities.

Adults who engage in sexual intercourse with a minor in California face penalties such as:

  • Payment of fines up to $25,000
  • Up to four years of imprisonment
  • Probation
  • Life-long status as a convicted felon
  • Community service

You will also have to register as a sex offender on, where your name, address, and photograph will be visible to the public. You will also be banned from visiting or living near parks, schools, and other public areas, and your employment opportunities will be drastically limited.

Sex offenders are generally viewed negatively by other inmates in jail or prison. Because of this, time spent in jail or prison is potentially much more dangerous for those serving time for sex crimes than for other offenses.

Facing Statutory Rape Charges in California? Contact an Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney at Aron Law Firm

A statutory rape conviction is not something you want to risk having placed on your record for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with statutory rape in California, do not face these harsh penalties without having a legal advocate on your side. A Santa Barbara sex crimes attorney at Aron Law Firm can construct a resilient defense strategy for your statutory rape case.

Call (805) 500-7536 or complete our contact form to discuss your legal options with a California sex crimes lawyer today. We are available to take your call night or day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.