Defending Against Statutory Rape Charges in California

Navigating the aftermath of a statutory rape arrest is an emotionally charged and legally complex journey. The mere accusation of engaging in sexual activity with a minor can cast a shadow over every aspect of your life. As you grapple with the weight of these charges, it is important to remember that an arrest is not a conviction, and you have the right to defend your case.

At Aron Law Firm, we understand the unique challenges and sensitivities surrounding allegations of statutory rape in California. We assist those facing these serious accusations, guiding them through the legal process and helping them explore potential defenses. Our goal is to defend your interests by building a strong and effective strategy to protect your future. 

What Is Statutory Rape in California?

Statutory rape laws in California are outlined in California Penal Code Section 261.5, which defines statutory rape as sexual intercourse between an adult (age 18 or older) and a minor (under the age of 18) who is not the spouse of the perpetrator. 

Unlike other forms of rape, statutory rape does not require proof of force, coercion, or lack of consent. Instead, the law is based on the premise that minors are legally unable to consent to sexual activity due to their age. As such, any sexual intercourse with a minor, even if consensual, is considered statutory rape under California law. 

How to Fight a Statutory Rape Charge in California

Few allegations carry as much gravity and stigma as statutory rape charges. For individuals accused of such offenses in California, the importance of strategic legal representation cannot be understated.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your particular case, your criminal defense attorney may use any of the following potential defense strategies:

Lack of Knowledge of the Minor’s Age

One possible defense against statutory rape charges is demonstrating that the accused was unaware of the minor’s true age at the time of the alleged offense. If the defendant reasonably believed the minor was of legal age and had no reason to suspect otherwise, this lack of knowledge may be a viable defense.

Mistake of Fact

A mistake of fact defense involves demonstrating that the accused reasonably believed the minor was of legal age based on the circumstances presented. Factors such as the minor’s physical appearance, demeanor, and representations made by the minor may be considered in establishing a mistake of fact defense.

Age Gap Defense

In some situations, California law provides for an age gap defense, which reduces the severity of statutory rape charges if certain criteria are met. This defense may apply when the age difference between the defendant and the minor is within a specified range, and other conditions are satisfied.


While minors are deemed incapable of legally consenting to sexual activity, there may be instances where the minor willingly participated in the sexual encounter and falsely claimed to be of legal age. In such cases, the defense may be able to argue that the minor provided voluntary consent to the sexual activity. 

Seek Qualified Legal Counsel After an Arrest for Statutory Rape in California

If you or someone you know is facing statutory rape charges in California, swift and strategic legal action is paramount. Your future and reputation are at stake, and seeking professional legal guidance is not just an option – it is a necessity. An Aron Law Firm criminal defense attorney can help chart a course toward the most favorable outcome for your case. 

Contact us today for a confidential consultation, where we can discuss the specifics of your situation and explore potential defenses. Call (805) 618-1768 or contact us online to get started today.

William M. Aron


William M. Aron

March 4, 2024

Former Deputy District Attorney William Aron received his Juris Doctorate from the Duke School of Law and has amassed 20 years of experience practicing law. Attorney Aron dedicates his practice to defending the accused, and is devoted to keeping his clients out of prison.