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Statutes of Limitations

Sexual Offense Statutes

Cal. Penal Code § 261 Rape

Cal. Penal Code § 261.5 Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor

  • Misdemeanor if victim is not more than three years older or three years younger than offender
  • Misdemeanor or felony if victim is more than three years younger than offender; punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 1 year, or by imprisonment in the state prison
  • Misdemeanor or felony if offender is at least 21 and victim is under 16; punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 3, or 4 years

Cal. Penal Code § 262 Spousal rape

Cal. Penal Code § 264 Punishment for rape

  • Rape, as defined in § 261 and § 262, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years
  • Rape involving a child under the age of 14 is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 9, 11 or 13 years
  • Rape involving a minor over 14 years of age is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 7, 9 or 11 years

Cal. Penal Code § 264.1 Rape or  penetration of genital or anal openings by foreign object, etc.; acting by force or violence; punishment

  • Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 5, 7 or 9 years; if the victim is under 14 years of age, 10, 12 or 14 years; or if the victim is a minor over the age of 14, 7, 9 or 11 years

Cal. Penal Code § 266c. Unlawful sexual intercourse, sexual penetration, oral copulation, or sodomy; consent procured by false or fraudulent representation with intent to create fear; punishment

  • Punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 3 or 4 years

Cal. Penal Code § 266j.  Intentionally transports a child under 16 years for the purpose of lewd or lascivious act

  • Felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison for 3, 6, or 8 years

Cal. Penal Code § 269 Aggravated sexual assault of child

  • Felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 15 years to life

Cal. Penal Code § 285 Incest

  • Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison

Cal. Penal Code § 286 Sodomy

  • Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than 1 year; if committed by a person over the age of 21 upon a person under 16 years of age, then such act is a felony; if the victim is between 10 and 14 years of age, 3, 6 or 8 years; if the act of sodomy is accomplished by means of force, violence, etc., 3, 6 or 8 years; if the victim is under the age of 14 and the act is accomplished by means of force, violence, etc., 9, 11 or 13 years; if the victim is a minor over the age of 14, and the act is by means of force, violence, etc., 7, 9 or 11 years

Cal. Penal Code § 288 Lewd or lascivious acts involving children

  • Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 3, 6 or 8 years; if committed with use of force, violence, etc., 5, 8 or 10 years; if committed by a caretaker upon a dependent by use of force, violence, etc, 5, 8 or 10 years; if the victim is 14 or 15 years old and the person is at least 10 years old, punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 1, 2 or 3 years, or by imprisonment in country jail for not more than 1 year; if committed by a caretaker upon a dependent, punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 1, 2 or 3 years, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 1 year

Cal. Penal Code § 288a Oral copulation

  • If the victim is under 18 years of age, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than 1 year; if committed by a person over the age of 21 upon a person under 16 years of age, then such act is a felony; if the victim is under 14 and more than 10 years younger, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 3, 6 or 8 years; if committed with use of force, violence, etc., 3, 6 or 8 years; if the victim is under 14 and the act is accomplished by means of force, violence, etc., 8, 10 or 12 years; if the victim is a minor over the age of 14 and the act is accomplished by means of force, violence, etc., 6, 8 or 10 years

Cal. Penal Code § 288.2 Harmful matter sent with intent of seduction of minor

  • Punished by imprisonment in state prison or county jail if first offense; felony and punishment by imprisonment in state prison if second or subsequent offense

Cal. Penal Code § 288.3 Contact of minor with intent to commit sexual offense

  • Punished by imprisonment in state prison for the text prescribed for an attempt to commit the intended offense

Cal. Penal Code § 288.4

  • Meeting with a minor for purpose of exposing his or her genitals or having the child expose his or her genitals, or engage in lewd and lascivious behavior.

    Punished by imprisonment not to exceed one year, unless a subsequent conviction, in which case punished by imprisonment for 2, 3, or 4 years

Cal. Penal Code § 288.5 Continuous sexual abuse of child

  • Requires three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with a child under 14
  • Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 6, 12 or 16 years

Cal. Penal Code § 288.7 Sexual acts with child 10 or younger

  • Felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 15 or 25 years to life

Cal. Penal Code § 289 Forcible acts of sexual penetration

  • Punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 3, 6 or 8 years; if the victim is under 14 years of age, 8, 10 or 12 years; or if the victim is a minor over the age of 14, 6, 8 or 10 years
 

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Cal. Penal Code § 799

  • No limit for offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole

Cal. Penal Code § 800

  • Except as provided in § 799, prosecution for an offense punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of § 1170 for eight years or more shall be commenced within six years after commission of the offense.

(§ 1170 provides for reduced sentences to reduce costs and overcrowding)

Cal. Penal Code § 801

  • Except as provided in §§ 799 and 800, prosecution for an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or pursuant to subdivision (h) of § 1170 shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense.

(§ 1170 provides for reduced sentences to reduce costs and overcrowding)

Cal. Penal Code § 801.1
(a) For the following offenses, if the victim was under 18 at the time of commission of the offense, any time before victim’s 28th birthday:

  • Rape (§ 261)
  • Sodomy (§ 286)
  • Lewd or lascivious acts involving children (§ 288)
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child        (§ 288.5)
    • Oral copulation (§ 288a)
  • Forcible acts of sexual penetration       (§ 289)

(b) For the following offenses, within 10 years after commission of the offense:

    • Rape (§ 261)
    • Spousal rape (§ 262)
    • Rape or penetration of genital or anal openings by foreign object (§ 264.1)
    • Unlawful sexual intercourse (§ 266c)
    • Aggravated sexual assault of child       (§ 269)
    • Incest (§ 285)
    • Sodomy (§ 286)
    • Lewd or lascivious acts involving children (§ 288)
    • Continuous sexual abuse of child         (§ 288.5)
    • Oral copulation (§ 288a)
    • Sexual acts with child 10 or younger    (§ 288.7)
    • Forcible acts of sexual penetration        (§ 289)

Cal. Penal Code § 803

  • (b) Statute of limitations tolled during any time which prosecution of the same person for the same conduct is pending in a court of this state.
  • (d) If the defendant is out of the state when or after the offense is committed, the prosecution may be commenced as provided in Section 804 within the limitations of time prescribed by this chapter, and no time up to a maximum of three years during the defendant is not within the state shall be a part of those limitations
  • (f)(1) Notwithstanding any other limitation, a criminal complaint may be filed within one year of the date of a report to a California law enforcement agency by a person of any age alleging that he or she, while under the age of 18 years, was the victim of a crime described in  §261 Rape, §286 Sodomy, §288 Lewd or Lascivious acts involving children, §288a Oral copulation, §288.5 Continuous sexual abuse of a child, §289 Forcible acts of sexual penetration.
  • (f)(2) This subdivision applies only if: (A) the limitation period specified in §800, §801 or  §801.1, whichever is later, has expired; (B) the crime involved substantial sexual conduct; and (C) there is independent evidence that corroborates the victim's allegation (excluding evidence that would be inadmissible during trial and opinions of mental health professionals).  If the victim was 21 years of age or older at the time of the report, the independent evidence shall clearly and convincingly corroborate the victim's allegation.

Cal. Penal Code § 803.6

  • (a) If more than one time period applies, the time period that is longer applies.
  • (b) Any change in the statute of limitations period applies to any crime if prosecution for the crime was not barred on the effective date of the change by the statute of limitations in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the change.
  • Cal. Penal Code § 805

    For the purpose of determining the applicable limitation of time:
  • (a) An offense is deemed punishable by the maximum punishment prescribed by statute for the offense, regardless of the punishment actually sought or imposed (disregarding any enhancement).
  • (b) The limitation of time applicable to an offense that is necessarily included within a greater offense is the limitation of time applicable to the lesser included offense, regardless of the limitation of time applicable to the greater offense.

People v. Vasquez, 13 Cal. Rptr.3d 162, 164-165 (Cal. Dist. Ct. App. 2004)

  • Ex post facto clause does not prevent the State from extending statute of limitations for prosecutions not yet time barred when statute was enacted.  803(f) merely extends limitations period and does not revive prosecution for previously time barred offenses. 

People v. Stanfill, 76 Cal. App. 4th 1137, 1150 (Cal. Dist. Ct. App. 1999)

  • Defendant may not challenge on appeal conviction of a time barred lesser included offense when the charged offense was not time barred and the defendant requested or acquiesced to the giving instructions on the lesser offense. 

 

DNA EXCEPTION

Cal. Penal Code § 803 (g)

(g) Notwithstanding the limitations described in section 799-801.1 of the Cal. Penal Code, criminal complaints for the following offenses may be filed within one year after the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing: 

    • Rape (§ 261)
    • Spousal rape (§ 262)
    • Rape or penetration of genital or anal openings by foreign object (§ 264.1)
    • Unlawful sexual intercourse (§ 266c)
    • Aggravated sexual assault of child (§ 269)
    • Incest (§ 285)
    • Sodomy (§ 286)
    • Lewd or lascivious acts involving children (§ 288)
    • Continuous sexual abuse of child (§ 288.5)
    • Oral copulation (§ 288a)
    • Sexual acts with child 10 or younger (§ 288.7)
    • Forcible acts of sexual penetration (§ 289)

This DNA exemption is available if, for offenses committed prior to January 1, 2001, the biological evidence has been analyzed for DNA type no later than January 1, 2004, and for offenses committed on or after January 1, 2001, the biological evidence is analyzed for DNA type within two years after commission of the offense.

 

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