California Penal Code Related To Romeo and Juliet Law

The following are sections of California Penal Code which directly relate to the proposed "Romeo and Juliet" Law.

"Statutory Rape", now known as "Unlawful Sex With A Minor" and "Lewd and Lascivious Conduct" are included.

Statutes on "Sex Offender Law and Registration" can be found in the California Penal Code, Title 9, Chapter 5.5, Codes 290-294.

To read them in the complete context of California Law you may go to:

http://www.legalinfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

This is the website of Official California Legislative Information. Once there you must check the box marked "Penal Code" and then proceed from there.This is a valuable resource online for anyone who wishes to educate themselves on "the letter of the law".


CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE
TITLE 9
CHAPTER 1
261.5 - Formerly known as the code for "Statutory Rape", it is now more commonly known as "Unlawful Sex With a Minor".


261.5. (a) Unlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexual
intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the
perpetrator, if the person is a minor. For the purposes of this
section, a "minor" is a person under the age of 18 years and an
"adult" is a person who is at least 18 years of age.
(b) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual
intercourse with a minor who is not more than three years older or
three years younger than the perpetrator, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual
intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than
the perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and
shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one
year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
(d) Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act of
unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of age
is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punished
by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by
imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.
(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an
adult who engages in an act of sexual intercourse with a minor in
violation of this section may be liable for civil penalties in the
following amounts:
(A) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse
with a minor less than two years younger than the adult is liable for
a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000).
(B) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse
with a minor at least two years younger than the adult is liable for
a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(C) An adult who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse
with a minor at least three years younger than the adult is liable
for a civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(D) An adult over the age of 21 years who engages in an act of
unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age is
liable for a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars
($25,000).
(2) The district attorney may bring actions to recover civil
penalties pursuant to this subdivision. From the amounts collected
for each case, an amount equal to the costs of pursuing the action
shall be deposited with the treasurer of the county in which the
judgment was entered, and the remainder shall be deposited in the
Underage Pregnancy Prevention Fund, which is hereby created in the
State Treasury. Amounts deposited in the Underage Pregnancy
Prevention Fund may be used only for the purpose of preventing
underage pregnancy upon appropriation by the Legislature.
(3) In addition to any punishment imposed under this section, the
judge may assess a fine not to exceed seventy dollars ($70) against
any person who violates this section with the proceeds of this fine
to be used in accordance with Section 1463.23. The court shall,
however, take into consideration the defendant's ability to pay, and
no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her
inability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision.

CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE
TITLE 9
CHAPTER 5 & 5.5
288.
Lewd and Lascivious Conduct


288. (a) Any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or
lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes
provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member
thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent
of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or
sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and
shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three,
six, or eight years.
(b) (1) Any person who commits an act described in subdivision (a)
by use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and
unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person, is guilty of
a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison
for three, six, or eight years.
(2) Any person who is a caretaker and commits an act described in
subdivision (a) upon a dependent person by use of force, violence,
duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on
the victim or another person, with the intent described in
subdivision (a), is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by
imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years.
(c) (1) Any person who commits an act described in subdivision (a)
with the intent described in that subdivision, and the victim is a
child of 14 or 15 years, and that person is at least 10 years older
than the child, is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished
by imprisonment in the state prison for one, two, or three years, or
by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year. In
determining whether the person is at least 10 years older than the
child, the difference in age shall be measured from the birth date of
the person to the birth date of the child.
(2) Any person who is a caretaker and commits an act described in
subdivision (a) upon a dependent person, with the intent described in
subdivision (a), is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished
by imprisonment in the state prison for one, two, or three years, or
by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year.
(d) In any arrest or prosecution under this section or Section
288.5, the peace officer, district attorney, and the court shall
consider the needs of the child victim or dependent person and shall
do whatever is necessary, within existing budgetary resources, and
constitutionally permissible to prevent psychological harm to the
child victim or to prevent psychological harm to the dependent person
victim resulting from participation in the court process.
(e) Upon the conviction of any person for a violation of
subdivision (a) or (b), the court may, in addition to any other
penalty or fine imposed, order the defendant to pay an additional
fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). In setting the
amount of the fine, the court shall consider any relevant factors,
including, but not limited to, the seriousness and gravity of the
offense, the circumstances of its commission, whether the defendant
derived any economic gain as a result of the crime, and the extent to
which the victim suffered economic losses as a result of the crime.
Every fine imposed and collected under this section shall be
deposited in the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund to be available for
appropriation to fund child sexual exploitation and child sexual
abuse victim counseling centers and prevention programs pursuant to
Section 13837.
If the court orders a fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision,
the actual administrative cost of collecting that fine, not to exceed
2 percent of the total amount paid, may be paid into the general
fund of the county treasury for the use and benefit of the county.

We hope this information is helpful. Through the sharing of knowledge and support, we know we can make a difference!

Awareness-Advocacy-Change

Unlawful Sex With A Minor - What It Really Means

One of the most common misconceptions we have encountered in our studies, conversations, and networking around the country has been the mistaken idea that Unlawful Sex With A Minor charges apply only to those who have been involved in a relationship in which one partner was a minor, the other partner, an adult (over eighteen years old in California).

It is important to note that Unlawful Sex With A Minor charges include any circumstance in which both partners involved in "consensual" intimate relationships, have been minors, as well.

Many parents, as well as their young teens, were unaware that these charges existed, and were just as serious for two sixteen year olds (for example), or a fourteen and sixteen year old, or any combination of "teens" under the age of eighteen years old.

California law is clear on the fact that anyone under the age of eighteen years old is "incapable" of giving consent, making any intimate contact, even within the context of a loving, boyfriend/girlfriend (or boyfriend/boyfriend, girlfriend/girlfriend, as the case may be) relationship illegal.

Please see our "California Law Statutes" for the precise letter of the law. Educate yourselves, as well as your teens. While teen sexuality may seem a commonplace subject, and teen sexual activity may seem accepted, amongst teens, and in certain circles, "tolerated" to a degree by adults; these charges are extremely serious; their consequences, life altering.

What Is Needed To Convict ? Common Misconceptions

A common misconception amongst teens, as well as some adults, with regard to Romeo and Juliet cases, is that it must be either the underage minor in the relationship or his/her parents that "press charges" in the case.

The truth is that only the District Attorney can actually bring charges against a person to make a case. However, the actual information, or initial "tip" can be passed along to the Police Department by ANYONE.

Countless cases have been charged and prosecuted despite the fact that the minor in question and his/her parents:

-had known of the relationship

-had acknowledged it was consensual in nature

- had actually objected to charges being brought.

Whether or not the other parties object to the bringing of charges is of no consequence, as once it has been reported to the police (and the District Attorney has determined there is enough evidence to bring charges) it becomes the complaint of the state, and is out of the hands of the citizens for good.

While there are mandated reporters; teachers, counselors, doctors, nurses, and daycare providers among them, whose duty it is to report anything of this nature to police, absolutely ANYONE can make a report regarding Sex With A Minor charges.

It is important to note that once charges have been brought, there are only 3 things needed to convict:

1. The "victim's" (legal terminology) initial statement.

2. The "responsibility of assumption" of the "victim's" age by
the defendant.

3. The "victim's" testimony.

Another common misconception is that there must be physical evidence to convict.

Many people assume there must be identifiable DNA (such as a "rape kit", a pregnancy, or other means of identification, such as a shared STD).

However, unlike murder, unlike just about every other type of crime, this "crime" requires absolutely NO physical evidence to convict.

Add to that the Statute of Limitations for "Statutory Rape" and related charges, being up to 3 years in California, and perhaps a picture is beginning to form of just how easily charges can be brought in these Romeo and Juliet cases.

We urge you to read the California Penal Code, as well as the Statutes relevant to these charges for yourself.

Take the time to speak with and educate your teens about the seriousness of these charges, the possible ramifications they may have on their lives, and how relatively easily these charges can be brought.

Each family teaches their own ethics, their own morality, with regards to their teenagers becoming sexually active. But until we can incorporate the facts and fundamentals of teen-related California Sex Crime Law into our student's Sexual Education classes, where we can ensure the broad spectrum of our youth will absolutely be informed; it is our duty as parents and educators to do so.

With the proposed Romeo and Juliet Law for California, we hope to bring a voice of reason to our Sex Crime laws.

We want to save our teens and young adults from mandatory prison sentencing, mandatory lifetime sex offender registration, possible "aversion" therapy, possible lifetime mandatory GPS tracking, and any and all other punishments that were originally created and meant for violent and predatory sex offenses, primarily against children.

Please join us by reading the materials here, sharing with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and signing our petition!

We need to make the California Romeo and Juliet Law a reality, for the sake of all our young people!

California For Romeo and Juliet Law
Awareness-Advocacy-Change

Unlawful Sex With A Minor Vs. Lewd And Lascivious Conduct - the Differences

Under California law, there are two separate categories that one may be charged in with regard to Romeo and Juliet scenarios.

The first is "Unlawful Sex With A Minor" (formerly known as "Statutory Rape").

The second is the far more serious of the two, "Lewd and Lascivious Conduct".

These are the two main categories from which other charges (such as "Oral Copulation" or "Sexual Battery") may stem.

Although the general subject matter is similar, the distinct definitions, circumstances, and consequences are vastly different.

UNLAWFUL SEX WITH A MINOR (formerly known as "Statutory Rape"):


Unlawful Sex With A Minor charges are the less serious of the two. The basic definition involves an act of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person below the legal age of consent, but above the age of a child (usually determined to be 14 years of age).


An Unlawful Sex With A Minor case can be charged as either a misdemeanor, or a felony. In legal terms, this is what is known as a "wobbler", and largely depends on the age of the minor involved as to how it will be charged.


With a minor not more than 3 years older or 3 years younger than the accused:

MISDEMEANOR/ Up to 1 year in County Jail/ $1000 in fines.

With a minor more than 3 years younger:

MISDEMEANOR or FELONY/ 1 year in County Jail or State Prison/ $1000-$10,000 in fines.

When the accused is 21 years of age and minor is 16 years of age or younger:

MISDEMEANOR or FELONY/ 1 year in County Jail OR 2,3, or 4 years in State Prison / $1000-$10,000 in fines.


"Consent" is not a defense to these charges, as California law deems that anyone under 18 years of age (a minor) is incapable of giving consent.


All of these convictions require probation/parole.


Unlike the more serious Lewd and Lascivious charges, Unlawful Sex With A Minor DOES have a provision that says if one honestly and reasonably believed that the alleged "victim" was over the age of 18 at the time, one CANNOT be convicted under this law.

The three requirements to prove this are:

Statements made by the "victim" that he/she was over 18 years of age.

General appearance or attire of "victim"(leading one to believe they were older).

Where the accused met the "victim" (as in an adult venue, such as an 18 and over club, or at an adult party).

However, these requirements, in many cases, are hard to prove.


If convicted of Unlawful Sex With A Minor in California, the law does NOT require Sex Offender Registration.


LEWD AND LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT:


Lewd and Lascivious Conduct charges are by far the more serious of the two.

The main reason someone in a Romeo and Juliet case would be charged with Lewd and Lascivious Conduct RATHER than Unlawful Sex With A Minor, is the age, as well as the age difference, of and between the minor and the adult.


Lewd and Lascivious Conduct involves touching a minor anywhere on the body (even on the outside of the clothing) "with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of either party".

Each independent act (each touch to different parts of the body, whether they are sexual parts or not) is counted as an "act", or a "count". This means that even if there were only one occasion, or one "incident", several "acts" could be charged.


Sexual Intercourse is not required to be charged under this law.


A Lewd and Lascivious charge is always a Felony charge.

Involving a Minor, below 14 years old/ 3, 6, or 8 years in State Prison/$10,000 in fines.

Parole/Possible GPS tracking device/Possible psychotherapy or behavior modification.

Mandatory Lifetime Sex Offender Registration.

Mistaken belief in the minor's age is NOT a defense to this charge.

"Consent" is not a defense, as California law deems that anyone under the age of 18 years old (a minor), is incapable of giving consent.


Although the exact definition of this law varies from state to state, in California, Lewd and Lascivious Conduct can be comprised of many different charges.

Prostitution, pornography, indecent acts, indecent exposure and co-habitating with an unmarried partner in a sexual relationship (this one is rarely used any more), all fall under the Lewd and Lascivious law.

Validity of the Victim's Testimony Clause

We have recently received mail regarding the question of the validity of the "Victim's Testimony Clause".

The victim's testimony is one of three things needed to convict someone in California in an Underage Sex With A Minor, or Lewd and Lascivious Conduct case.

It happens quite frequently in cases that would fall under the Romeo and Juliet Law, were California to have one, that the "victim" will refuse to testify against their boyfriend or girlfriend. There is a clause in California law that prevents the victim having to testify if it is deemed that their participation in testimony would be detrimental to said victim.

However, it is not often that this clause is upheld. Any aggressive district attorney will subpoena the victim, or at least their testimony (whether or not it is in open court or by deposition). In these cases, the testimony must be given, and to do it by deposition bypasses the clause in that it is reasoned that behind closed doors it is somehow less detrimental or traumatic.

Therefore, it is almost unheard of that the victim's testimony will not be taken, in one form or another, whether the victim initially wishes to grant it to the court or not.

Sociable

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