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California “Age of Consent” Laws

The “age of consent” laws define the legal age a male or female must be to provide consent to sexual activity, including intercourse. In California, the age of consent is 18 years old, which means a person who is 17 years old or younger cannot legally consent to sex.

It is important to remember that there is no “Romeo and Juliet” law in the state. Such law prevents individuals who are very close in age to each other and those who are both below the age of consent to engage in consensual sexual activity.

The only exception where an adult can have sexual intercourse with a minor is when both parties are married. California is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have a minimum age for marriage. Minors who wish to get married must first obtain consent from their parents and a court order before they can legally wed.

If an adult has sex with a minor in California, he/she could be charged with “statutory rape.” This sex crime is considered a wobbler, meaning a defendant could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense.

If a defendant is no more than three years older than the minor, he/she will be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum one-year jail term and/or a fine no more than $1,000. If a defendant is older than 21 years of age and the victim is 16 or younger, he/she will be charged with a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to four years and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.

If you have been accused of statutory rape in Santa Rosa, contact the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today at (707) 418-5352 and request a free case review. Our firm has successfully represented thousands of people by providing them with effective and personalized legal solutions.