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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 in California.

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.

In California, the statute of limitations for prosecuting felony sex crimes varies based on the nature of the offense:

  • Standard Limitation: Most felony sex crimes have a 10-year statute of limitations.
  • Victim Age: For sex crimes against minor victims, prosecution is possible until the victim reaches their 40th birthday.
  • No Limitation: In some cases, the statute of limitations may be removed, allowing prosecution at any time.

The sex crimes that have no statute of limitations include:

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. 

Contact a San Diego Sex Crimes Lawyer

Facing rape charges in San Diego County? Reach out now for personalized legal support and defense strategies. Act now – Your future matters.

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

If you have been accused of rape, Contact The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, today at 619-234-2300 for a free consultation. We are here to offer you the emotional support and advocacy you deserve.

Our distinguished, award-winning California sex crime lawyers are ready to take on your case and get you the best outcome possible. 

Where You Can Find Our San Diego, CA Office

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Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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