Being accused of a sex crime in California is a sobering and extremely difficult experience, to put it mildly. As the defendant in such a criminal case, you are facing some of the toughest penalties out there. In addition to potentially spending years in a California prison, you will likely have to deal with the lasting stigma of being considered a sex offender.

Like elsewhere, if you are convicted of a sex offense like rape or assault with intent to commit a sex offense in California, you will also be required to register as a sex offender. This means you will have to check in from time to time, for the rest of your life. There are no other crimes which the penalties are as harsh as these and because of this, it’s important you have someone on your side throughout the criminal process.

California Sex Offenses and Penalties

Under the California Penal Code there are sex offenses that are classified as misdemeanors and those that are classified as felonies. In general, a misdemeanor offense like these listed below, carries a sentence of no more than 1 year in jail.

  • Indecent exposure
  • Improperly touching a child
  • Prostitution
  • Solicitation

Felonies, on the other hand, are considered far more serious. Penalties for felony sex offenses range from 1 year to life in prison. The facts of your case and your charge are what ultimately determine your potential penalty. If you are facing one of the following felony sex offenses, it’s recommended you discuss your case with an attorney to know for certain what you are up against.

  • Rape
  • Spousal Rape
  • Statutory Rape
  • Child Pornography
  • Lewd and Lascivious Acts
  • Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is one of the most common sexual offenses we see charged in the state of California. It’s often used when a criminal act doesn’t fulfill the legal requirements of the more serious offenses. If you touch someone in a sexual manner and it doesn’t amount to any more serious charges, you could face this felony offense.

Rape is perhaps the most recognized sex crime. This involves forcible sex with another, unwilling participant. Depending on the facts of the case, you could face 3, 6,  or 8 years in prison if convicted of rape. Of course, there are situations which warrant a lengthier sentence. Consulting with an attorney can provide clarification on this manner.

Statutory Rape is the act of having sex with anyone unable to legally consent. The age of consent in California is 18.

Sex with a minor is at least a misdemeanor offense if the perpetrator is less than 3 years older. If the perpetrator is more than 3 years older, it could be a misdemeanor or felony. Anyone who is over 21 and has sex with a person under 16 is also subject to a misdemeanor or felony charge and prison for up to 4 years.

Ref: California Penal Code 261.5

Sexting is the transmission of sexually explicit materials via phone. Many different statutes can be used to prosecute someone for a sexting offense. Things like sexual exploitation of a minor, child pornography, possession of harmful materials depicting a person under 18, and communicating with a minor with the intent of a lewd act, can all be considered sexting offenses and they are all felonies.

Ref: California Penal Code 261-269

There are many different criminal statutes governing sex crimes in California. The laws are complicated, and the cases can be tricky to defend in court.

The sooner you speak you a criminal defense attorney, the better off you will be.