Age of Consent Questions for California

Q&A on statutory rape laws, age of consent laws, sexual assault laws for California. Ask your Question

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Is it illegal for a 16 year old to have intercourse with an 18 year old even though he is still in high school?

:: January 09, 2010 19:55

My boyfriend just turned 18 and I'm 16. Would it be unlawful If I engage in sexual activity?

Yes. It is unlawful for an adult (18 or older) to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor in the state of California. Age 18 is considered the age of majority and the age a person becomes accountable to the "adult" system of justice. This is true even if the 18 year old is in high school. The legal age to consent to have sexual intercourse in California is 18. The 18 year old risks criminal legal action if engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor. The minor would be considered the victim and not be charged. With a 2 year age difference, if convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse, the most probably classification for the crime would be a "misdemeanor" which can include a fine, civil penalty and up to a year in jail; however, the law states that these crimes can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, so it could go either way depending on the circumstance.

27 yr old Married Female with a 17 yr old Male

:: December 22, 2009 15:33

A 27 yr old married female had sexual intercourse on several occasions with a 17 yr old male neighbor. The relations have since stopped and he has since turned 18 almost 19. Although his parent has agreed not to report the crime, as long as she moved, the now ex-husband of the female is using it as "leverage" in a custody battle over their son and threatening to report it. What is the statute of limitations for this? 1 year of the offense or 3 years do to the age difference? Does it make a difference to the DA that the male in now almost 19 and does not feel victimized by this?

We have no way of knowing or predicting whether a DA's office will pursue a case against the 27 year old female. All we can point to is the law; it would be within the law for the California DA to pursue a felony conviction for up to three years from the date the offense occured (up to one year for a misdemeanor offense). In this situation due to the difference in age, the DA could seek either a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Given the time that's passed they would have to make a felony case if they pursed it at all. The DA would certainly interview the victim and weigh all evidence to determine if a felony conviction should be pursued.

Crazy Ex-girlfriend

:: May 08, 2009 15:29

My boyfriend is 22 years old and his ex-girlfriend who is 16 is pressing statutory rape on him. He lived with her family for a year, got her pregnant and her mom didn't care. Well she had an abortion and is now pregnant again with a 20 year olds baby. What can happen to my boyfriend?

If a complaint has been filed with police naming your boyfriend as the perpatrator, there may be an investigation opened. Depending on the findings of an investigation, the District Attorney will either drop the case or they could file court charges for violation of "California penal code section 261.5 Unlawful Sexual Intercourse" If charges are filed it could lead to his arrest and a court date. It would be in his best interest to contact a licensed attorney in the state of California who specializes in sex offense cases and be advised on what his rights are and what actions he should take. See the law below. I've outlined only the portions that may apply to him based on his age and the age of the minor.

California Penal Code: Section 261.5 Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

(a) Unlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator, if the person is a minor. For the purposes of this section, a "minor" is a person under the age of 18 years and an "adult" is a person who is at least 18 years of age. (d) Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years. If convicted of the afore mentioned charge: (e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an adult who engages in an act of sexual intercourse with a minor in violation of this section may be liable for civil penalties in the following amounts: (C) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor at least three years younger than the adult is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). (D) An adult over the age of 21 years who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). (2) The district attorney may bring actions to recover civil penalties pursuant to this subdivision. From the amounts collected for each case, an amount equal to the costs of pursuing the action shall be deposited with the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered, and the remainder shall be deposited in the Underage Pregnancy Prevention Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury. Amounts deposited in the Underage Pregnancy Prevention Fund may be used only for the purpose of preventing underage pregnancy upon appropriation by the Legislature. (3) In addition to any punishment imposed under this section, the judge may assess a fine not to exceed seventy dollars ($70) against any person who violates this section with the proceeds of this fine to be used in accordance with Section 1463.23. The court shall, however, take into consideration the defendant's ability to pay, and no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her inability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision.


:: January 28, 2009 16:02

I am 18 years old and dating someone in their 40's can that be statutory rape?

At the age of 18, you are a legal adult in the state of California and can no longer be a victim of statutory rape.

age 20 male in sexual relationship with age 17 female

:: November 04, 2008 00:50

if i am 20 is it ok for me to have sex with my 17 year old girlfriend?

This would be unlawful sexual intercourse in the state of California. See "Unlawful Sexual Intercourse" Section 261.5 California Penal code.

can we still press charges?

:: October 14, 2008 20:15

hello i had a baby when i was 15 by a 19 year old. now i'm 18 and he is telling me that he is going to make me have more of his kids. can we still press charges for the first child or is it too late. please help me

The first step would be to file a police report in your district and see where it leads. Only a District Attorney can determine what, if any, criminal charges will be filed, or if the charges would be felony or misdemeanor. Generally, a report must be filed with police in order to get a District Attorney to review it and determine if there is a case. Penal Code section 261.5(b) is a misdemeanor and has a one year statute of limitations. Penal Code section 261.5(c) can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor and has a three year statute of limitations. Penal Code section 261.5(d) is a straight felony and has a three year statute of limitations. These statutes of limitations start running from the date of offense, regardless of when the crime was reported. There are Penal Code sections tolling the statutes of limitations of certain sex crimes but they do not apply to PC 261.5 charges.

In California How long do you have to report rape?

:: September 15, 2008 03:28

My friend was raped two years ago, and ended up pregnant and gave up the baby in a closed adoption. At the time she and the father were in a relationship. She was two months away from being 16 and he had just turned 18. She never went to hospital and had DNA testing done. They had never had consensual sex, the one and only time that they had ever had sexual contact was when she was raped. He is now serving time for an unrelated crime, but is there anything that can be done?

The crime must first be reported to police or District Attorney before any criminal legal action can be taken.

Citation: Penal Code §§ 799; 800; 801; 803(f)(1) & (g)(1)
The statute of limitations for certain offenses is a period within 1 year after a victim under 18 years of age reports to a responsible adult or agency that he or she is a victim of an offense listed below:
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
The statute of limitations for the abovementioned offenses is a period within 1 year after a victim (of any age) reports to a California law enforcement agency that he or she, while under 18 years of age, was a victim of any of those offenses. Generally, the following statutes of limitations apply:
  • For an offense punishable by life imprisonment, there is no statute of limitations
  • For an offense punishable by imprisonment for 8 years or more, a period within 6 years after commission of the offense
  • For all other offenses subject to a term of imprisonment, a period within 3 years after commission of the offense
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

can the hospital call the police if the minor is pregnant from a 21yr

:: June 20, 2008 17:58

can the hospital call the police if the pregnant 16 year old gives birth and the guy is 21 years old

Yes. In fact, they are required by law to file a report.

minor aged boyfriend

:: May 09, 2008 11:30

I have a friend who is 21 years old and is dating a 17 year old. there has been speculation that people could turn her in, even though the 17 year olds parents know the circumstances. is she at risk? what would be an outcome to this?

The law makers in California have made it unusually simple and clear from a researchers perspecitve. Under statute 261.5 a male or female under the age of 18 is not legally capable of consenting to sexual intercourse or oral sexual activity. This would apply to all relationships whether the adult is male or female if the minor is under 18. It also applies to homosexual relationships. The 21 year old is at risk of being found in violation of 261.5 Unlawful sexual intercouse with a minor. According to the statute, if convicted, she could face civil penalties from $2000 to $25,000 and possible jail time.

California fake i.d and statutory rape

:: April 20, 2008 18:28

Ok, my brother inlaw has a situation about his eight month old child. When he and the mother met, he thought she was eighteen and he was 26, but he recently found out that her I.D. was fake and a the time they were having sex and she got pregnant she was only 15. She’s 17 now and he is about to be 28. What will happen to him if he tries to get a paternity test and custody of the child because he also found out the girl is a prostitute and has been since she was 14…will he be charged for statutory rape if he goes to try and get a paternity test for the child? He’s scared because he doesn’t want to go to jail because she had a fake I.D. and he just found out after the fact how old she was. Will he go to jail and can he still get custody?

There appears to be four legal issues your brother-inlaw will need to address.

  1. Violation of California Penal code 261.5 Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor
  2. Proof of paternity through court ordered DNA testing
  3. Child Custody
  4. Child Support
Your brother-inlaw should not try to handle this without first being advised by a lisenced California attorney. There is no provision in the law (that I have found) for an affirmative defense of 261.5 based on lack of knowledge of age; however, many things can impact these cases and impact how the District Attorney (DA) handles them, including "her" arrest record (if any) for acts of prostitution and/or records showing she used fake ID's. These are a among the subjects your brother-inlaw should discuss with a lawyer. These are also things his attorney can present to the DA on his behalf and deal for a favorable result if there are charges filed under 261.5. If a paternity test proves that the child is his, he has "equal" parental rights and obligations as the mother does. He has a right to petition the court for a custody arrangement or to file a petition for designation the custodial parent or primary care giver for his child. Either parent can be required by the court to pay child support, depending on the custody arrangement. Your brother-inlaw may save himself a horrendous amount of legal problems by hiring an attorney to help him sort this out.

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