California Penal Code 261.5

Are you facing charges for Statutory Rape in California? Violation of California Penal Code Section 261.5 is a very serious criminal offense. California prosecutors take sex crime charges very seriously, and you can expect them to pursue maximum penalties against you. Without proper legal counsel, you may miss opportunities to have your charges reduced or your case dismissed.


At MacGregor & Collins, LLP, our Orange County sex crime lawyers understand that many of those who are accused of statutory rape are not criminals. Call us today to take advantage of our free consultation and find out what your options are.


PC 261.5 Defined


Anyone who knowingly has intercourse with a minor is can be found guilty of Statutory Rape, a violation of California Penal Code 261.5. A minor is defined as anyone under the age of 18.


In order to prosecute for CPC 261.5 in Orange County, state prosecutors must be prepared to prove that you:


  • had sexual intercourse/sexual penetration with another
  • and did so with someone under the age of 18


Penalties for Violating CPC 261.5


The penalties or punishment for statutory rape depend on a number of factors, including the age gap between both parties. Statutory rape is known as a “wobbler”, which means that violators can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense depending upon the circumstances.


The following are maximum penalties for those convicted of statutory rape:


 Misdemeanor :


  • Up to 1 Year in the Orange County Jail
  • A maximum $1,000 fine
  • An informal probationary period




  • 16 months to 4 Years in a California State Prison
  • A probationary period
  • A fine of no more than $10,000


Age Gaps in Statutory Rape:


  • If the guilty party is no more than 3 years older than the victim, CPC 261.5 is filed as a misdemeanor
  • If the guilty party is more than 3 years older than the victim, 261.5 CPC is filed as either a misdemeanor or felony
  • If the guilty party is no more 21 year old and the victim less than 16, PC 261.5 is filed as either a misdemeanor or felony



It should be noted that there are other California penal codes that govern types of rape such as, date rape, spousal rape or oral copulation, which carry other fines.


Other Potential Punishments:


Defendants may be required to register as a sex offender. They may also be subjected the Three Strikes Law of California. In addition, if the victim was affected by great bodily injury, fines and prison time may be increased. If the defendant is convicted and fails to register, they may be charged with violating PC 290 in addition to other offense.


Since sexual assault is a serious offense, it is imperative to work with a skilled defense team in order to prove one’s innocence. Sexual assault accusations can take a toll on one’s reputation, career and life, so tread carefully. Call (888) 250-2865 or fill out our contact form for a free sex crime case evaluation.

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