Sex With a Minor

Sex with a minor charges are generally classified according to the minor's age and the acts involved. For example, sexual contact with a minor who is under 18 years of age is generally considered to be a crime of child molestation. This is true whether the accused is an adult or a minor themselves. Sex with a minor can also be considered a crime of unlawful sexual intercourse or statutory rape depending on the age of the minor. In any case, a person who has sex with a minor is facing serious criminal and civil penalties. In the extreme, an adult who has sex with a minor can get a life prison sentence. And, in some cases where there is a mistake of age defense, a person might not even be charged for sex with a minor. Sex crime charges can be complex, and one single day in the age of the minor may be the difference between being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, or being charged at all.

Sex with a minor charges will depend on many factors, including the age of the defendant, age of the minor, the type of sexual contact, the relationship between the individuals, if force or threats were involved, and whether the victim was unconscious or intoxicated.

Sex with a minor charges include:

  • unlawful intercourse with a minor or statutory rape
  • annoying or molesting a child under 18
  • lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14
  • lewd or lascivious acts with a child age 14 or 15
  • sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years of age or younger
  • sodomy with a child
  • oral copulation with a child minor; or
  • forcible sexual penetration with a minor

Unlawful Sexual Intercourse With a Minor or Statutory Rape

Sexual intercourse with a minor is a serious criminal charge, with the potential for a lengthy period of imprisonment. Sexual intercourse is defined as the penetration, however slight, of the vagina or genitalia by the penis. Ejaculation is not required to be considered intercourse.

It can be a misdemeanor, or a felony, for someone over 21 years old to have sexual intercourse with someone under 16 years old, with a potential for four years in prison. In addition, the defendant may be liable for civil penalties, up to $25,000.

See CA Penal Code 261.5.

Sexual intercourse with a minor can be charged as a misdemeanor if the minor is near the age of the defendant.  This can include what is known as “statutory rape.” It is a misdemeanor where sexual intercourse occurred with a minor who was not more than three years younger than the defendant. For example, if the defendant is 19 and has sexual intercourse with a 17 year old, this is a misdemeanor.

See CA Penal Code 261.5.

Sexual Intercourse With a Minor Under 10

Any person 18 or older, who engages in sexual intercourse with a child who is 10 years old or younger, is guilty of a felony. Sexual intercourse with a minor under 10 carries a minimum of 25 years in prison, with a possible maximum prison term of life.

See CA Penal Code 288.7.

Sodomy With a Minor

Sodomy is sexual conduct which consists of non-consensual contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another person.  Any penetration, however slight, is enough to be considered sodomy.  It is a crime to commit sodomy with a minor.  Sodomy with a person under 18 years old is punishable by imprisonment for up to a year.  It is a felony for someone over 21 years old to participate in sodomy with someone under 16 years old. Sodomy with someone under 14 years old is punishable by imprisonment for up to eight (8) years. The penalties are increased to up to 13 years in prison, if a person commits sodomy against someone under 14 through the use of force, violence, or fear, Other enhanced penalties include threatening to retaliate against the victim or another person in the future.

See CA Penal Code 286.

Oral Copulation with a Minor

Oral copulation is the act of copulating the mouth of one person with the sexual organ or anus of another person, without that person's consent. Oral copulation with a minor can be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on the case and the ages of the participants.  Any person 18 or older, who engages in oral copulation with a child who is 10 years old or younger, is guilty of a felony. Oral copulation with a minor under 10 carries a minimum of 15 years in prison, with a possible maximum prison term of life.

See CA Penal Codes 288.7 and 288a.

Sexual Penetration With a Minor

Sexual penetration is the act of causing penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of a person for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.  This crime is also sometime referred to as penetration by a foreign object.  Under California law, sexual penetration is treated similarly to oral copulation.  Penetration with a minor can be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on the case. Any person 18 or older, who engages in penetration with a child who is 10 years old or younger, is guilty of a felony.  Penetration with a minor under 10 carries a minimum of 15 years in prison, with a possible maximum prison term of life.

See CA Penal Codes 288.7 and 289.

Sex Offender Registration

In addition to the penalties noted above, the defendant may be forced to register as a sex offender. If you are required to register as a sex offender, you will be required to register with the police, or your college or university for the rest of your life.  If you move, you will again be required to register as a sex offender.

Defenses to Sex With a Minor

California's rape shield laws were intended to protect the privacy of alleged victims. As a result, you generally cannot introduce evidence of the accuser's past sexual conduct or reputation even when you have solid evidence that the accuser has a questionable sexual history or reputation. Consent is also not a defense to the crimes of sex with a minor.  However, depending on the age of the minor, a mistake of fact regarding the minor's age may be a defense.  These are serious crimes, and defenses can be complicated. A strong legal team who specializes in defense of sex crimes will look into the facts of each case to determine how best to form their legal defense, including investigation into the accuser's background, and engaging top experts.

Contact the offices of White Goldstein to speak with an attorney who specializes in defending people accused of sexual intercourse with a minor. We will provide you or your loved one with superior legal representation. We are dedicated to giving our clients the highest level of service. We will thoroughly investigate the charges you or your loved one face and will tirelessly work to have them dismissed.

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Call White Goldstein today at (310) 295-1810 for a free, confidential consultation.

White Goldstein

At White Goldstein, we provide our clients, and their loved ones, with nothing less than excellence in criminal defense. Unlike many criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles, we fight for our clients with compassion and emotion as well as intellect and skill because we genuinely care for our clients and their families

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