In California, there are various types of sex crimes. They range from statutory rape, sexual assault, molestation, sexual battery, rape, etc. Sex crimes are extremely serious and can involve heavy monetary and prison consequences. With adult sex crimes, consent is a big issue. (As to sex crimes against children, consent is never an issue). Below is a general outline of some of the main sex crimes in California.
Rape is sexual intercourse on someone who did not give consent. It can be accomplished through force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate bodily injury. The alleged victim can be unconscious when the sexual intercourse happens. In rape cases, it is normally a “he said/she said” situation and circumstantial evidence is crucial in crafting the defense.
Sodomy is contact between an anus and penis, however slight. It is illegal if someone does this without consent, or if it is on a minor. Sodomy can be punished by either a misdemeanor or felony. A person, however, who commits sodomy by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear will be punished as a felony in state prison for 3, 6, or 8 years. Regardless if whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, one would likely have to register as a sex offender if convicted.
When it comes to minors, the consequences can increase and there are a lot of age nuances. For example, if the person committing sodomy is 21 years old and sodomizes someone under 16 years old, this is a felony, not a misdemeanor. Further, a person who commits sodomy on a person under 14 years old, and if that person who is 14 years old and under is more than 10 years younger than the perpetrator, that perpetrator will be punished by a felony in state prison for 3, 6, or 8 years. Lastly, a person who commits sodomy on a person under 14 years of age and is done by force, violence, duress, menace, and fear will be punished as a felony for 7, 9, or 11 years.
Statutory rape is when someone has sexual intercourse with a “minor,” that is, someone who is 18 years old or younger. Consent is not an issue for statutory rape as it is a strict liability crime. It does not matter if the minor gave consent. Though, one may ask themselves – what if someone is 19 years old and has consensual sex with someone who is 17 years old? Is that statutory rape? Well, if someone is no more than three years older than the minor, it could be categorized as a misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony. Now, if the age gap is more than three years, it could be a misdemeanor or felony. And, if the person who engages in sex with he minor is 21 years old, and the minor is under 16, it can also be a misdemeanor or felony. The differences between the former and the latter is that in the former – the prison sentence is 16, 2, or 3 years, whereas in the latter, it is 2, 3, or 4 years in prison if it is a felony.
It is illegal to orally copulate, that is, putting one’s mouth on the sexual organ or anus of another person, without consent. If a person does this on a person under 18 years of age, he/she can be looking at a misdemeanor, punishable in a county jail of not more than one year. If the person is 21 years old or older and oral copulates with someone under 16 years old, that person is guilty of a felony.
A person who oral copulates on a person who is between the ages of 10 and 14 years old, is guilty of a felony and is punished by imprisonment for 3, 6. or 8 years. Also, if a person oral copulates with force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury – this is punished in state prison for 3, 6, or 8 years.
If a person oral copulates on a minor who is under 14 years old and is accomplished against the minor’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury, this is a felony punishable by 8, 10, or 12 years in prison.
If a person oral copulates with a person who is 14 years old older, and the act is when there was force, violence, duress, menace, or fear, this is a felony punishable by 6, 8, or 10 years in prison.
If a person commits oral copulation where the victim is prevented from resisting by any intoxication or substance and should have been reasonably known by the accused, this is punished by 3, 6, or 8 years in prison.
Sexual Assault and Battery
It is illegal to intentionally touch someone’s private/intimate parts without their consent for the purpose of sexual gratification. If someone does this by restraining the other person, it can be a felony or misdemeanor. Otherwise, it is a misdemeanor. Defenses such as “It was an accident” or that it was “not for sexual gratification” can all be explored if someone is charged with this.
The list is not exhaustive and this is just a snippet of common sex crimes people could encounter. The stakes are high and a defensive investigation is crucial. It is important to reach out to Kristine Koo immediately if accused or investigated for a sex crime.
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