Federal law makes it criminal to engage in a sexual act with another person who is between the age of 12 and 16 if they are at least four years younger than you.
Each state takes a different approach as the age of consent has ranged from 10 to 18.
In this hypothetical state, two seventeen year olds who had consensual sex could both theoretically be convicted of statutory rape.
Other states imply a different method which, like the federal statute, takes into account the relative ages of both people.
Defendants charged with statutory rape have the usual defenses available to all criminal defendants, such as “Someone else committed this crime, ” or “The alleged conduct did not occur.” One or more of the following defenses may also apply.
California has a marital exemption for statutory rape that allows married people to have consensual sex even if their ages would prohibit it if they were not married.
This is because California has a marital exemption to the California statutory rape laws.
However, if Tony were to rape Jen (force her to have sex against her will), he would have no protection under the law even if the two are married.
In California, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between minors who are three or fewer years apart in age.
Sexual penetration includes sexual intercourse or penetration (however slight) between a minor who is 14 or 15 and a defendant who is at least ten years older than the minor.
Lewd and lascivious acts upon a child includes sexual contact between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant of any age.
Statutory rape is prosecuted under California’s rape and sexual assault laws.
Penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, as described below.
Though statutory rape does not require that the prosecutor prove an assault, it is still rape.