Incest Laws in California

California Penal Code 285 PC states that persons being within the degrees of consanguinity, within which marriages are declared by law to be incestuous and void, are punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.

Generally, incest means sexual relations between parents and children (including each degree ancestors and descendants), brothers and sisters or uncles and nieces (aunts and nephews). The main cause why incest is forbidden is to avoid birth defects as well as protect traditional family values. Unlike many other California sex crimes, it is not considered to be a defense if the partner consented to be involved in the sexual intercourse. Incest is not legal even if two parties involved are adults.
It may happen that completely innocent people are accused of California incest crime. Your defense attorney can use numerous legal defenses in order to get the best possible results for you. Below, you can find some of them:
Lack of knowledge
Plea bargain and dismissals
– There is no direct blood relation between partners, for example, stepmother and son, adopted daughter and son,
– The act is not committed in California, for example, the intercourse took place in another place, despite the persons reside in the state of California,
– The persons have not been married. It should be mentioned that California incest laws do not allow closely related individuals to get married.

California Penal Code 283 states that incest is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison for possibly 16 months, or 2 or 3 years.
The persons violated California incest laws can be subjected to imprisonment in the state prison up to three (3) years.


The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. There are always defenses that can help you avoid penalties. Moreover, sometimes a person can be innocent and, notwithstanding all circumstances, be accused of committing a crime by mistake. We will evaluate your case and engage as fast as possible in your defense for trial. Do not hesitate to contact us. We will do our best to get the best possible outcome for You!

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

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