Penal Code 288.7 PC - Sex with a Child Under 10
California Penal Code 288.7 PC is the statute making it a felony crime for an adult to commit sexual intercourse, sodomy, penetration, or oral copulation with a child under ten years old.
Suppose you are convicted of violating this law. In that case, you are facing up to life in a state prison and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Section 288.7(a) says, “Any person 18 years of age or older who engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child who is ten years of age or younger is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life.”
Section 288.7(b) says, “Any person 18 years of age or older who engages in oral copulation or sexual penetration, as defined in Section 289, with a child who is ten years of age or younger is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 15 years to life.”
To convict you, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It must be shown that you engaged in an illegal sexual act with a minor child under ten and that you are an adult over 18.
The prosecutor does not have to prove you had intent, only that you committed the unlawful sex act. You could be charged under this law for committing illegal sexual acts or causing the child to perform them on you or another person.
What Are the Key Definitions Under California Law?
Let's review some critical definitions under California law as they relate to Penal Code 288/7 PC sex with a child under the age of 10:
“Sexual Intercourse” is defined as the penetration of the vagina by the penis, however slight. Ejaculation is not required.
“Sodomy” is defined under Penal Code 286 PC as sexual conduct between the penis of one person and the anus of another person. Again, any sexual penetration, however slight, is enough to be considered sodomy, and ejaculation is not required.
“Oral Copulation” is any contact, no matter how slight, between one person's mouth and the sexual organ or anus of another person. Penetration is not required.
“Sexual Penetration” is the act of penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening by any foreign object, substance, instrument, or any unknown object for the purpose of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification. It also includes causing a child to penetrate someone or cause the child to penetrate themselves sexually.
Sex with a Child – Quick Facts
California has numerous statutes prohibiting sexual-related activity with minors. Still, Penal Code 288.7 PC prohibits specific sex crimes where the perpetrator is an adult and the victim is ten or younger. Below are some quick facts about this law:
- Sexual intercourse, penetration, sodomy, and oral copulation are all illegal under the law, regardless of consent.
- Under this law, the age cutoff point is up to their 10th birthday. If the child is over 10, then other laws could be used to prosecute.
- Consent is not a defense under this law because, under California law, children under 18 have not reached the age of consent.
- Prosecutors do not have to prove malicious or criminal intent, but only that the sexual act
What Are the Related Laws?
California has several laws that are related to Penal Code 288.7 PC sex with a minor under the age of 10, such as the following:
- Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape;
- Penal Code 208(b) PC – kidnapping a minor;
- Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts on a minor;
- Penal Code 288.2 PC – sending harmful matter to a minor;
- Penal Code 288.3 PC – contact a minor to commit a felony;
- Penal Code 288.4 PC – arranging a meeting with a minor;
- Penal Code 288.5 PC – continuous sexual abuse of a child;
- Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation with a minor;
- Penal Code 647.6 PC – child molestation;
- Penal Code 311 PC – child pornography.
What Are the PC 288.7 Penalties?
Suppose you are convicted of violating PC 288.7. In that case, you are facing the following felony penalties:
- 15 years to life in prison for oral copulation or sexual penetration;
- 25 years to life in prison for sexual intercourse or sodomy;
- This is a Tier 3 sex crime on the Sex Offender Registry, meaning you must register as a sex offender for life.
Sometimes, defendants could be eligible for parole after serving their minimum sentence, 15 years or 25 years, but will only be released after a ruling from the California Parole Board.
Sex offender registration means you must register with local police upon release and re-validate your registration every year and every time you relocate for the rest of your life. You will face restrictions on where you can live and work.
What Are the PC 288.7 Defenses?
If accused of violating PC 288.7, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers may be able to use different strategies for the best possible outcome, as discussed below.
Maybe we can argue that there was no sexual contact as physical contact with a child is not illegal, but only if it's sexual. Perhaps we can say the contact was not for any sexual purpose.
Maybe the child was over 10 when the alleged activity occurred, but you could still face charges under other laws but could avoid the most severe penalties.
Maybe we can argue the accusations are false. Sometimes, a child this young could be coached by an adult with other evil motives, such as a child custody battle in a family court.
Maybe we can negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or persuade them not to file formal charges in the first place (DA reject). Contact us for a free case evaluation. Cron, Israels & Stark has offices in Los Angeles, CA.
- What is Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child?
- What is Annoying or Molesting a Child?
- What Are the Sexting Laws in California?
- Sodomy With a Child 10 Years of Age or Younger (Pen. Code, 288.7(a))
- Penetration With a Child 10 Years of Age or Younger (Pen. Code, 288.7(b))
- People v. Karsai (1982)
- California Penal Code 288.7 PC
- California's Three-Tier Sex Offender Registration System