My question involves criminal law for the state of: California
Hello everyone. I am in need of some advice pertaining to California section 261.5(b). This is the law regarding sexual intercourse between a minor and an adult who are within three years of age. The exact wording of the section is:
"(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."
I am an 18 year old male and my girlfriend of a few months is a 17 year old female. I am about ten months older than her. We are both in the same senior class in high school. How dangerous, for me from a legal standpoint, is this situation? We have kissed and "made-out" in the past but have never engaged in sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal). However, we are talking about trying it (safely, of course, we are both very responsible people and are always respectful of each other's boundaries).
Is it common for kids like me to actually get convicted for sexual assault crimes when the two parties are so close in age? I understand the law doesn't care at all about whether the minor consented (as minors cannot legally consent), but would that help at all if I were to get in trouble? Can charges in situations like these get "thrown out" (I apologize I don't know the correct wording) in court if she, her parents, and the judge don't feel charging me is necessary? Or is it always mandatory to give some conviction regardless of the circumstances?
I feel as though it's somewhat ridiculous that I could be charged with the same crime as an irresponsible kid who has non-consensual (say, if the female is drunk, which I do NOT consider consent), unprotected sex with a random person at a party, when in my case this is a mutual, responsible decision I have made with my girlfriend who I have known for a long time. Of course, this means nothing in the eyes of the law, I understand. I am not the kind of person to break laws or disrespect judges, police officers, or anything like that. I would hate to get a criminal record for something which hardly feels criminal.
Anyhow, any input on my situation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.