The age of consent in Califoniais18 year old. The legitimate age of consent refers to the age at i m sorry a person deserve to legally consent to connect in sexual intercourse. This age is the exact same for males and also females.

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A human who has actually sex through a young under the period of 18 division the age of consent law and can it is in prosecuted for a crime – frequently for statutory rape, per Penal password 261.5.

The following are a few scenarios that could lead to computer 261.5 charges:

a 19-year-old female high school an elderly has sex v a 16-year-old male who is in several of her classes; a 35-year-old college professor establishes a sexual connection with a 17-year-old girl that is in among the classes he teaches; and also a pair that high school sweethearts who have actually been dating for three years have sex for the first time once he is an 18-year-old yet she is still only 16.

Thecrime of statutory rape is a California “wobbler” offense. This way that the crime have the right to be fee aseitheramisdemeanoror afelonydepending ~ above the truth of the case. The offense have the right to be punished by up to 4 years injail or prison.

Note thatCalifornia go not have a Romeo and also Juliet law. “Romeo and also Juliet” legislations prevent the prosecution of persons who engage in consensual sexual task when:

both parties are really close in age to one another, and also both are below the period of consent.

There isone exceptionwhere a minorcan legitimate havesexual intercourse with an adult. This is as soon as the two parties arelawfully married.

A charge regarded statutory rape is the fee oflewd acts v a boy child, under Penal password 288.PC 288 defines a “lewd act v a minor child” as either:

poignant a child for sexual purposes, or resulting in a kid to touch him/herself or someone else for a sexual purpose.

Depending top top the facts of a case, a conviction oflewd acts with a minorcan lead to:

approximately life in the California state prison.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:


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The period of consent in California is 18.


1. What is the “age of consent” in California?

18 year of age. Under California law, a person must it is in at the very least 18 years of age in order legally to have actually sex with an additional person to whom he or she is not married. Having actually sex v a human being under the legal age of consent will topic a human being to criminal liability.

Also keep in mind that if a human being is 18 year of period or older, and he/she has sexual intercoursewith a minor, that human breaks the period of consent law and also can be prosecuted for a crime – frequently forstatutory rape, every Penal code 261.5.

Sexual intercourse” means any sexual penetration, no matter just how slight, that the vagina (“vaginal intercourse”) or genitalia by the penis. Ejaculation is not required.1

Age that consent legislations are intended todeter adultsfrom seeking out underage sex partners. This is since children room generallynot mature enoughto make intelligent and informed decisions regarding the physical and emotional risks of having actually sex.

The age of consent different state-by-state indigenous 16 to 18 year of age across the U.S.

2. What is statutory rape, every Penal password 261.5?

Under CaliforniaPenal code 261.5 PC, a “statutory rape”takes place when any type of person engages in sexual intercourse with a personunder the period of 18.2

The crime the statutory rape is also commonly described as “unlawful sex through a minor” or as “unlawful sexual intercourse.”

Statutory rape is a crime regardless of whether the sex to be consensual or also initiated by the minor (the an alleged “victim” the the crime).3

A statutory rape instance is a California “wobbler” offense. This way that the crime can be fee aseithera misdemeanor or a felony relying on the truth of the case.4

Theage differencebetween the defendant and the minor is one of the significant factors determining just how the crime is tried. If the defendant is 21 or older and the boy is under the period of 16, the penalty are likely to be many severe.

In such a case they can encompass up to four years in theCalifornia state prison.

3. Walk statutory rape in California require registration as a sex offender?

A statutory rape charge, or a conviction of the same, does not need sex offender it is registered under California Penal code 290 PC.5

Certain related offenses, though, do need the defendant to be on the sex offender registry, including:

lewd acts with a child, per Penal code 288.

Now with the passing of California Senate bill 145 (2020), judges may waive the sex registration necessity for details defendants judge under the complying with penal code subsections if the son was a 14-year-old (or older) and also within 10 year of period of the defendant:

SB 145 is aligned to close-in age LGBT youth who have actually consensual oral sex or anal sex. Adversaries of the new law claim it disclosure pedophilia and also sexual abuse.

4. Walk California have a “Romeo and also Juliet” law?

Californiadoes not have actually a Romeo and also Juliet law. “Romeo and also Juliet” legislations are also referred to as “close in age exemptions.” The laws prevent the prosecution of young civilization who interact in consensual sex acts when:

both parties are very close in period to one another, and both are listed below the age of consent.

An instance here is when two human being engage in consensual sex and also both are 17 years old, or one is 16 years old and the other is 17.

Since over there isno Rome and also Juliet legislation in California, that is feasible for two people, both under the age of 18, to it is in prosecuted for statutory rape if they engage in sex-related intercourse.


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If a minor is legitimate married come an adult, climate they may interact in consensual sex.


5. Is there any exception where a minor can have sexual relations with an adult?

There is one exception where a minorcanhave sexual intercourse v an adult. This is as soon as the two parties room married.

Penal password 261.5astates:

“Unlawful sex-related intercourse is an plot of sexual intercourse achieved with a person who isnot the spouseof the perpetrator, if the human being is a minor.”

(emphasis added). The language, “not the spouse that the perpetrator,” way that no statutory rape charges will certainly be filed if:

there is consensual sex between two parties, one or much more of the persons is listed below the period of 18, and the 2 parties arelawfully married.

Note that California is among just a few states thatdoes nothave a minimum period for marriage. If a minor though decides to marry, that human being must acquire parental consent and a court order prior to the marriage.

6. Is it legal for an adult to date a young in California?

While in general, it is legal because that an adult to day a minor, that is commonly unwise because that this come happen.

And, the is illegal because that an adult to day a young if the adult:

has actually a criminal record, is a sex offender, or is a teacher or in a comparable position of trust or authority.

Please likewise note that, based on California law, the is illegal because that an adult come do any of the adhering to with a minor he is dating:

have actually sex, purchase for or share alcohol or cigarettes, carry the minor to an R-rated movie, and show any type of pornography.

7. Room there any kind of legal defenses come statutory rape charges?

There room three usual legal defenses to any accusations that statutory rape. These are:

falsely accused– which method the alleged victim misidentified the defendant or lied, age the consent– which method both parties that engaged in sexual intercourse to be 18 years of period or older, and no sex-related intercourse– which way that while two persons under 18 may have had actually an intimate encounter, they did not connect in “sexual intercourse.”

Note that consent is not a defense to statutory rape allegations.6 it is additionally not a defense that the defendant believed the boy was that age.7

In any type of case, the ar attorney has actually the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As lengthy as prosecutors fail to accomplish this burden, the charge need to be dismissed.

8. What is California Penal password 288 – lewd acts v a young child?

Penal password 288 is the California statute that makes it a sex crime because that a human being to connect in a lewd act v a boy child.

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The statute defines a “lewd act through a young child” together either:

touching a boy for sexual purposes, or bring about a kid to touch him/herself or someone else for a sex-related purpose.8

Technically, this section applies when the victim is everyone under period 16.9 But due to the fact that most prosecutions under this ar involve youngsters under 14, this crime is frequently referred come as:

lewd acts through a kid under 14, lewd acts upon a boy under 14, or plot of lewd and also lascivious conduct.

The penalties for a violation ofPC 288depend top top a combination of factors, including:

the age of the child, even if it is the lewd act was completed by force, violence, duress, or threats, even if it is there to be a sample of lewd acts, and if the son was 14 or 15, the period of the defendant.

Depending ~ above the facts of the case, a conviction the lewd acts with a minor deserve to lead to:

imprisonment in the county jail for as much as one year, or up to life in the California state prison.

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