Definition and Aspects of Oral Copulation:
Under California Penal Code 287 (PC 287), any Oral sexual act with a minor is against the law. Legally, a minor is anyone below the age of 18.
This statute also applies to Oral Copulation that is accomplished by threats, force, fear, violence, or menace. California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) is a felony offense, and if convicted, it is punishable with prison time and expensive fines. Additionally, a convicted perpetrator could be required to register as a sex offender, which is a cumbersome burden he/she would have to carry for decades or even for life.
To be convicted of California Penal Code 287 (PC 287), the Prosecution must prove the following:
- The Defendant participated in an act of Oral Copulation with another
- The other person was a minor
Oral Copulation is defined as sexual intercourse, using one’s mouth in connection with another’s penis, vagina, or anus. Under California Penal Code 287 (PC 287), any physical contact is against the law, no matter how slight. Ejaculation, orgasm, or penetration is not required under Oral Copulation laws (PC 287).
While California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) requires one of the participants to be a minor, someone can be charged with Oral Copulation even if they are under age themselves. It is up to the Prosecution to prove that the Defendant, in this case, understood their actions were against the law or “wrong.” It might seem counterintuitive to charge a minor with Oral Copulation (PC 287), given that they are Victims themselves in these scenarios; however, it does happen on rare occasions. If the Defendant is a minor, he/she will most likely be tried in the California Juvenile court system.
Criminal Offenses Related to Oral Copulation:
Similar or related offenses to California Penal Code 287 (PC 287), Oral Copulation:
- Statutory Rape – California Penal Code 261.5 (PC 261.5)
- Oral Copulation by Force or Fear – California Penal Code 287 (PC 287)
- Lewd Acts with a Minor – California Penal Code 288 (PC 288)
Example of Oral Copulation:
An 18-year-old boy is spending time with his 17-year-old girlfriend. In the heat of the moment, he pulls down her underwear and touches his lips to her genital area. While no force was used and technically, the act was consensual, the boy could still be charged with Oral Copulation under California Penal Code 287 (PC 287).
Defenses for Oral Copulation:
It isn’t easy to fight the charges for Oral Copulation of a Minor (PC 287), but an experienced Defense Attorney can help. One of the possible defenses for this statute is the reasoning that Defendant believed the Victim was over the age of 18. If the Victim appears to be over the legal age, or the Defendant has met them at a place that requires a valid ID, a skilled attorney could argue the Defendant’s reasonable lack of awareness of the Victim’s actual age. This defense does not work with a minor under the age of 14.
Another possible defense is that the Defendant has been framed. Since Oral Copulation (PC 287) could be applied to a slight brush or touch, it is hard to prove or disprove that it happened unless there’s distinctive evidence supporting the claims. A seasoned attorney could call in various investigative tools to convince the Jury that the Defendant is falsely accused.
California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) is a serious offense that can stay on a convicted offender’s record for decades or even for life. As with any charges, it is important that the Jury has to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant is guilty. If there’s insufficient evidence proving the Defendant’s guilt, a skilled attorney could get the penalties lessened or even dropped.
Consequences and Penalty for Oral Copulation:
California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) penalties depend on many factors, the first one being the age of the Victim and the Defendant himself/herself.
If the Victim is 16 years old or older, and the Defendant is 21 or younger, California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) is a wobbler offense. A wobbler means the case could either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the details of the crime and the history of the Defendant. If this is charged as a misdemeanor, the Defendant could face one year in county jail and fines up to $1,000. If it’s charged as a felony, the punishment is 16 months – 3 years in a California state prison and fines up to $10,000.
If the Victim is under the age of 16, and the Defendant is over 21 years old, California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) is an automatic felony offense. In this case, the felony penalties listed above apply to any convicted person.
Lastly, if the Victim is under the age of 14, the possible punishments increase. This is true, especially if the Victim is more than ten years older than the Victim. Oral Copulation (PC 287) with a minor under the age of 14 carries a potential punishment from 3 – 8 years in a California state prison.
Additionally, a conviction for California Penal Code 287 (PC 287) might require the Defendant to register as a sex offender. The Judge is not required to impose the registration if the Victim was over the age of 14, and the Defendant was within ten years of the Victim’s age.
If the Defendant does have to register as a sex offender, there are multiple tiers, and how long the registration lasts for depends on the tier the convicted person would fall under.
- Tier One – lowest level offender
- The registration is for a minimum of 10 years
- This encompasses Oral Copulation or other sexual felony cases where no force was used
- Tier Two – mid-level offender
- The registration is for a minimum of 20 years
- This applies to felony convictions where the Victim is under 14 years old and over 10 years younger than the Defendant, and there was no force used
- Tier Three – high-level offender
- The registration is for life
- This applies to felony convictions of Oral Copulation, where force or duress was applied, as well as cases where the Victim was unconscious or intoxicated and could not give consent
Under California’s Sex Offender Registration Act, a convicted offender has to register and then renew the registration every year within five working days of his/her birthday with the police and every time he/she changes residences. If the convicted offender fails to comply, he/she will automatically be charged with a misdemeanor if the Oral Copulation was a misdemeanor charge or with a felony if that was what he was originally convicted with.
Expungement of an Oral copulation (Pc 287) charge is possible if the Defendant did not serve time in prison as a result of this conviction, has completed all probation requirements, and is not currently being charged with other offenses. However, if the Defendant was charged with Oral Copulation of a minor under the age of 14, expungement is not an option. And even an expunged charge does not relieve a convicted offender from being registered as a sex offender.
Oral Copulation, under California Penal Code 287 (PC 287), is a wobbler offense that can result in jail or prison time, severe fines, and in certain cases, consequences that could follow the convicted offender for life. It is essential that if you or someone you know is charged with Oral Copulation of a minor, you contact an expert attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney on your side, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record of sex-related cases and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code Section 287 (PC 287), Oral Copulation. Book a free consultation today.