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Age Of Consent California

The Lowdown on California’s Age of Consent Laws

You’re here, because you want straight facts on age of consent laws in California. No fluff, no sugar-coating – just the real deal. Let’s dive right in.

What is the Age of Consent in California?

The age of consent in California is 18 years old. Period. If you engage in any sexual activity with someone under 18, you could be charged with statutory rape, even if the minor consented.Why 18, you ask? Well, California decided that’s the age when individuals are mature enough to make informed decisions about sexual relationships. Before 18, the law sees minors as unable to properly understand the risks and implications.Now, you might be thinking “But, what if we’re only a couple years apart in age?” Sorry, California has no close-in-age exemptions, often called “Romeo and Juliet” laws. Nope, if one person is under 18, it’s considered statutory rape, regardless of how small the age gap is.

Penalties for Violating Age of Consent Laws

Okay, so you know the law. But what happens if you break it? Well, it won’t be pretty.Statutory rape charges can either be misdemeanors or felonies in California. It depends on two key factors:

  1. The age difference between you and the minor
  2. Whether the minor was under 16

If you’re within 3 years of age of the minor, it’s typically charged as a misdemeanor. You’re looking at up to 1 year in county jail and $1,000 in fines.But, if there’s more than a 3 year age gap, or the minor was under 16, you’re in felony territory. A conviction could mean 2-4 years in state prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Yikes.And get this – there’s no need for the minor to press charges. Prosecutors can bring the case with or without the minor’s cooperation.So in summary? Don’t sleep with anyone under 18 in California. The penalties are harsh, and your life could be flipped upside down in an instant.

The Nitty-Gritty Legal Details

Okay, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into some of the finer legal points:

  • Mistake of age is generally not a valid legal defense for statutory rape in California. Even if the minor lied about their age, you’re still liable.
  • It doesn’t matter if the sexual activity was initiated by the minor. An inability to consent due to age overrides any perceived willingness.
  • Statutory rape laws apply equally to opposite-sex and same-sex encounters. The gender of those involved is irrelevant.
  • There are no marital exemptions in California’s laws. Having sex with your spouse who is under 18 can still be considered statutory rape.
  • Charges can be brought years after the offense occurred, as there is no statute of limitations for certain sex crimes against minors in California.

The laws are strict for good reason – to protect children and teenagers from sexual exploitation by older individuals. The justice system takes these cases extremely seriously.

But I’m a Minor Too…Now What?

Okay, but what if you’re both under 18? Is it still illegal?Technically, yes. If two minors under 18 engage in sexual activity, they could both potentially be charged with statutory rape, since neither is legally able to consent.However, it’s very rare for these cases to actually be prosecuted, especially if the minors are close in age. Prosecutors generally go after older offenders exploiting much younger victims.That said, it’s still a legal risk you’d be taking as a minor. The smarter move is to wait until you’re both above the age of consent to avoid any potential criminal liability.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Seeking Legal Counsel

Look, these laws are no joke. If you find yourself charged with a sex crime against a minor, you need expert legal representation immediately.At Spodek Law Group, our seasoned criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended countless clients against statutory rape and other sex crime charges. We understand how to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.We get it, you’re stressed and this is an incredibly difficult situation. But we’re here to fight for you every step of the way. Our team leaves no stone unturned in pursuing the best possible outcome.From examining all evidence and witness testimony, to identifying any prosecutorial missteps, we explore every potential avenue in your defense. Your future is our top priority.Don’t try to navigate this legal minefield alone. Spodek Law Group has the skills, experience and tenacity to vigorously protect your rights. Reach out today for a free, confidential consultation.

Key Takeaways

Let’s summarize the must-know points about California’s age of consent laws:

  • The age of consent is 18 years old, no exceptions
  • Having sex with anyone under 18 can lead to statutory rape charges
  • Penalties range from misdemeanors to multi-year prison sentences
  • Even minors having sex with other minors could face charges
  • If accused, hire an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer immediately

Age of consent laws are in place to safeguard minors. But they can also have life-altering consequences for those who violate them, even accidentally.

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Todd Spodek

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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