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What is the Statute of Limitations for rape in California?

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  • What is the Statute of Limitations for rape in California?

    The statute of limitations in California is based on the potential sentence of the crime, for example, crimes punishable by the death penalty have no statute of limitations. Because of this, it is very difficult to accurately predict the statute of limitations for a particular survivor since it depends upon which crimes the prosecutor would charge in their case. The only way to accurately tell whether or not a statute has expired is to report the crime. There is no statute of limitation for reporting a crime to the police, so a survivor may do so at any time. Even if the statute has expired, a survivor may be contacted if their case is connected to other subsequent cases.

    I would like to confirm if this is true?

  • #2
    Re: What is the Statute of Limitations for rape in California?

    The California statutory rape law is titled "Unlawful Sexual Intercourse" Section 261.5 California Penal code. The legal age of consent to have sexual intercourse in California is 18 years old. This means sexual contact with a minor under the age of 18 is illegal in the state of California even if the minor says it is consensual.

    Many professionals including medical staff, teachers, administrators, coaches, doctors etc... are mandated by law to report reasonable knowledge or suspicion of "Unlawful sexual intercourse" or any types of sexual or physical abuse. These laws are called "Mandatory Reporting Laws." Under the California Child Abuse and Neglect reporting act, many professionals must, by law, report suspected abuses and violations to law enforcement, or risk criminal prosecution for failure to report. These professionals include, but are not limited to, school teachers, public employees, medical or hospital staff, mental health professionals, clergy, and many more...(the list is substantial.) The purpose of these laws are to protect children from abuse and neglect.

    Anyone can file a report about statutory rape. You can report any knowledge of Unlawful Sexual Contact with a minor to local Law Enforcement or to a District Attorney's office.

    How long can a person wait to report statutory rape?

    The statute of limitations will depend on the seriousness of the violation. No matter what, all cases are treated individually and if someone has committed a crime against you, you should report it to authorities. It is up to a District attorney to determine the nature of the charges (if any) and how the statute of limitation laws apply to your case.
    • Violation of Penal Code section 261.5(b) is a misdemeanor and has a one year statute of limitations.
    • Violation of Penal Code section 261.5(c) can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor and has a three year statute of limitations.
    • Violation of Penal Code section 261.5(d) is a straight felony and has a three year statute of limitations.

    These statutes of limitations start running from the date of offense, regardless of when the crime was reported. There are other Penal Code sections tolling the statutes of limitations of certain sex crimes against minors where the statute of limitations begins running after the age of 18. This does not apply to charges under Penal Code 261.5 for statutory rape. It does apply to violent sexual assaults and sexual abuse of minors.


    California Statutory Rape FAQ |
    I'm not a lawyer. The information I gave is based on certain research. Please review the information yourself to make an informed decision. Also, the information I posted may no longer be accurate.


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