Age of Consent in California
The age a person must be to consent to sexual activity in California is 18 years of age. This means anyone younger is cannot legally provide such consent. Such activity may lead to statutory rape charges.
Statutory rape is considered a wobbler, which means it is a crime that can be a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor offense is pusnishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000, while felony offense carries a maximum prison sentence of four years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Misdemeanor statutory rape involves a defendant no more than three years old than the victim. Felony statutory rape involves a defendant who is older than 21 years of age and the victim who is 16 years old or younger.
Keep in mind, California does not have a close-in-age exemption--or “Romeo and Juliet laws.” These laws are put in place to prevent individuals who are close in age with one another or below the age of consent to engage in consensual sexual activity. Since there is no such law in California, two individuals both under the age of 18 who consensually engage in sexual activity can both potentially be charged with statutory rape.