Oral Copulation with a Minor – California Penal Code 288a
California Penal Code 288a describes the crime of oral copulation with a minor. This sex crime law actually has numerous different statutes based on the victim's status.
For instance, there are different types of oral copulation charges when the victim is under a certain age, intoxicated, unconscious, or if the crime was achieved using force.
Under Penal Code 288a, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony case if you have oral copulation with a minor under 18 years old. If convicted of PC 288a, the penalties will be different based on the victim's age when the incident occurred.
One of the most common issues on a PC 288a oral copulation with a minor case deals with consent. It's a myth that you can't be charged with oral copulation with a minor when consent was given.
The age of consent in California is 18 years old. In other words, a minor can't give consent for any type of sexual related activity. It doesn't matter if they were a willing participant and gave you consent. This means consent is not a valid legal defense after you have been charged with Penal Code 288a.
Oral copulation with a minor is a very serious California sex crime and any allegations are thoroughly investigated and aggressively prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Sex Crime Division.
If convicted, the consequences are harsh and you will be ordered to register as a sex offender for life under California Penal Code 290.
If under investigation or already charged with PC 288a oral copulation with a minor, you should consult with a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Don't make statements to police detectives.
To give readers a better understanding of Penal Code 288a oral copulation with a minor charge, our criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.
Definition of PC 288a Oral Copulation with a Minor
California Penal Code 288a defines the sex crime of oral copulation with a minor:
- Oral copulation is the act of copulating the mouth of one person with the sexual organ or anus of someone else. It's illegal for any person who engages in oral copulation with anyone who is under 18 years. Anyone who 21 years old and engages in oral copulation with anyone under 16 years old, is guilty of a felony offense.
As discussed, there are different statutes within PC 288a addressing situations where the victim is under 14 years old, if oral copulation was accomplished using force, duress, threats, retaliation, violence, or fear of bodily injury and others.
It should be noted there is no legal requirement that oral copulation resulted in ejaculation.
What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove?
To be convicted of oral copulation with a minor, in violation California Penal Code Section 288a, the prosecutor has to prove all elements of the crime listed in CALCRIM 1082 Jury Instructions:
- You engaged in the act of oral copulation with someone else, and
- The other person was under 18 years old when it occurred
Put simply, oral copulation with anyone under 18 years old is a crime under PC 288a, regardless if they gave consent. If both were minors, the prosecutor can still charge them, but will typically be handled in the Los Angeles County juvenile court.
Penalties for PC 288a Oral Copulation with a Minor
If convicted of oral copulation with a minor conviction in violation of Penal Code 288a, the penalties will depend on a variety of factors.
Penal Code 288a is a “wobbler,” which means the case can be files as either a misdemeanor of felony crime. This filing decision is typically based on the details of the case and prior criminal record.
Oral copulation is a wobbler if victim 16 years old or you were 21 at the time of the incident. If convicted of a misdemeanor oral copulation with a minor, you will be facing:
- Up to one year in a county jail
- A fine up to $1,000
- Summary probation
If convicted of felony oral copulation with a minor, you will be facing:
- Up to three years in a California state prison
- A fine up to $10,000
- Felony probation
If victim was less than 14 years old and the you were more than 10 years older than victim, the state prison sentence will increase to 3, 6, or 8 years. Oral copulation by force or fear will always result in a more severe sentence, and you could be facing up to 12 years in state prison.
Related California Offenses
There are numerous related California Penal Code 288a offenses and other sex crimes that are closely related:
Penal Code 288a(c)(1) – Oral Copulation with minor under 14
Penal Code 288a(b)(2) – Oral Copulation with minor under 16
Penal Code 288a(b)(1) – Oral Copulation with minor under 18
Penal Code 288a(c)(2)(A) – Oral Copulation using force or fear
Penal Code 288a(c)(3) – Oral Copulation with threat of retaliation
Penal Code 288a(e) – Copulation while in jail or prison
Penal Code 288a(f) – Oral Copulation of unconscious victim
Penal Code 288a(i) – Oral Copulation of intoxicated victim
Penal Code 261.5 – Statutory Rape
Penal Code 288 – Lewd acts with a minor
Penal Code 288.5 – Continuous sexual abuse of a child
Fighting PC 288a Oral Copulation with a Minor Charges
Our Los Angeles criminal lawyers can use a wide range of defenses to fight your Penal Code 288a charges. We need to closely examine all the details in order to develop a strategy as every case is unique. Common defenses include:
Belief victim was not a minor
We might be able to make an argument you had a reasonable belief minor was at least 18 years old. Maybe you did not know the victim was a minor due to her physical appearance or they told you they were over 18 years old.
Perhaps we could use statements from witnesses who will state the victim told you they were not a minor. If we are able to show you had a reasonable belief the victim was at least 18 years old, then you can't be guilty of oral copulation with a minor.
We might be able to make an argument that you were falsely accused and wrongfully arrested. It's not that uncommon for someone to be falsely accused of illegal oral copulation. There have been prior cases where an alleged victim is angry after a breakup of a relationship and they seek to get their ex-partner in legal trouble out of revenge.
If you were accused of oral copulation with a minor described under California Penal Code 288a, contact our criminal defense attorneys to examine the details and options.
A PC 288a conviction can have life-altering consequences. We are seasoned attorneys and have a track record of success against sex crimes charges. To start preparing for your defense, we will need to discuss the details in order to determine an appropriate strategy for best possible outcome.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. For a free case consultation, call us at (424) 372-3112.