Statutes of limitations exist to protect people from the necessity of defending against allegations that occurred in the distant past.
Fairness is the basis of statutes of limitations. Otherwise, people could be forced to defend themselves against crimes that allegedly occurred decades earlier.
However, some crimes, like rape and murder, are so serious that statutes of limitations do not apply.
Reach out to The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, right away if you are concerned about the statute of limitations for the crime of rape.
The sooner Kerry and our team of highly experienced defense lawyers start working for you, the better chance you have of winning your case.
Do not wait to see what happens because time is not on your side. Contact us today to tell us your story.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Rape in California?
California lawmakers amended the state’s rape statute of limitations several years ago.
California Penal Code §799 places no time restrictions for commencing certain sex crimes allegedly committed on or after January 1, 2017.
The sex crimes that have no statute of limitations include:
- Gang rape,
- Sodomy with a person under 18,
- Oral copulation with a person under 18,
- Lewd and lascivious acts with someone under 14,
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child, and
- Sexual penetration against the victim’s will.
Accordingly, a prosecutor may bring charges for these offenses at any time during the alleged perpetrator’s life.
However, the statute of limitations for crimes occurring before January 1, 2017, still applies. Penal Code §801.1 indicates that prosecutors can charge someone for an offense against a child at any time before the child’s fortieth birthday.
Prosecutors had to bring charges for most sex crimes against adults within ten years of the incident, unless new DNA evidence emerged after the ten-year timeframe elapsed.
What Is the Statutory Rape Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations for statutory rape did not change.
Currently, the law requires misdemeanor statutory rape charges to issue within one year. On the other hand, felony charges must be issued within three years of the incident.
Statutory rape in California is a misdemeanor if the alleged victim is less than three younger than the perpetrator. You could go to jail for up to one year for a misdemeanor.
The charge is a wobbler offense, meaning the prosecutor can charge the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the age difference between the perpetrator and the alleged victim.
Therefore, a person who has sex with someone under eighteen and more than three years younger faces up to one year in jail if facing a misdemeanor charge.
The punishment increases to sixteen months, two, or three years in state prison if charged with a felony.
The prosecutor has the discretion to charge as they deem appropriate.
However, a strong, aggressive, and knowledgeable sex crimes lawyer could use the strengths of your case to negotiate with the prosecutor.
The end result could be getting your case dismissed or getting a felony lowered to a misdemeanor.
Reach Out to a California Sex Crimes Lawyer Today
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