California Statutory Rape Laws

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If you’ve ever dated someone under eighteen, you might have heard the phrase “statutory rape.”

Statutory rape occurs when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is underage, even if the underage person consents to the intercourse. California calls statutory rape “unlawful sexual intercourse.” 

California prosecutors can charge statutory rape as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Any sex crime conviction can result in serious criminal penalties for the accused, not to mention the damage to your reputation caused by the negative stigma of sex crimes charges.

Our statutory rape attorneys at The Law Offices of Kerry Armstrong, APLC., have handled numerous cases involving statutory rape charges in California.

We understand the seriousness of these charges and are committed to providing our clients with the best legal defense possible. Contact our office today to start your free consultation

Penalties for Statutory Rape in California

As stated above, prosecutors can charge statutory rape as a misdemeanor or a felony.

California considers unlawful sexual intercourse a misdemeanor when the minor is less than three years younger than the adult charged with the crime.

For example, if a 19-year-old has sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old, the 19-year-old could receive a misdemeanor charge for statutory rape, but not a felony.

In some states, the minimal age gap between the participants in sexual intercourse can allow the defendant to escape statutory rape charges.

These are known as Romeo and Juliet laws. However, legislators chose not to implement a Romeo and Juliet law in California, choosing to lower the potential punishment range instead.

A misdemeanor statutory rape charge carries potential penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 

A felony statutory rape charge carries the potential of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the minor was under 16 at the time of the sexual intercourse, potential penalties increase to up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Confused About California’s Statutory Rape Laws? Contact Our Office Today

If you face charges of statutory rape in California, you should consider talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible.

A sex crimes conviction can greatly impact your daily life and even some of your constitutional rights. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has represented dozens of clients dealing with life-altering accusations.

Our founding attorney, Kerry L. Armstrong, focuses his efforts on defending individuals accused of sex crimes. Mr. Armstrong understands the implication a criminal conviction can have on an individual and thrives on ensuring he obtains the best possible result for his clients.

Additionally, Mr. Armstrong has earned the respect of other attorneys in the area, earning the distinction of 2012 “Trial Attorney of the Year” awarded by the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association.

He is also a criminal law specialist certified by the State Bar of California.  When your liberties are at stake, you want an attorney that is committed to defending your rights, no matter what the accusations are.

Our team at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, is here to help. Start your fight today by contacting us.

Author Photo

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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