Oral Copulation Law & Defense
PC 287 Crimes
Information on the crime of oral copulation is found at California penal code 287a. In short, Oral copulation is defined as any contact, no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the sexual organ or anus of another person.
There are several varieties of oral copulation charges depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, oral copulation by force is charged under PC 287a(c)(2)(A), whereas oral copulation of an intoxicated victim is charged under PC 287a(j). See below for a list of California oral copulation charges and their corresponding penalties.
In order to prove the crime of oral copulation the district attorney will need to prove that the defendant:
Committed an act of oral copulation with another person, and
The other person did not consent, or could not legally consent (minors, unconscious persons, and incompetent persons), and
The defendant accomplished the oral copulation by force, violence, duress, or threats of immediate bodily injury to the victim or someone else
Note: Evidence that the defendant was married to, or dating, the alleged victim, is not a defense to PC 287a crimes.
Oral copulation crimes are usually charged as felonies. Only two oral copulation crimes may be charged alternatively as misdemeanors. Those two charges are oral copulation with a person under eighteen but older than fifteen (15) (PC 287a(b)(1)), and oral copulation while in jail (PC 287a(e).
PC 287a(b)(1) Oral copulation with a person under the age of eighteen (18): [Felony crime punishable by up to three years in prison. May be charged as a misdemeanor if no force was used. Misdemeanor PC 287a(b)(1) is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail].
PC 287a(b)(2) Oral copulation with a person under the age of sixteen (16): [Felony crime punishable by up to three years in prison].
PC 287a(c)(1) Oral copulation with a person under the age of fourteen (14): [Felony crime punishable by up to eight (8) years in prison].
PC 287a(c)(2)(A) Oral copulation by force on an adult: [Felony crime punishable by up to eight (8) years in prison].
PC 287a(c)(2)(B) Oral copulation with a child under fourteen (14) by force: [Felony crime punishable by up to twelve (12) years in prison].
PC 287a(c)(2)(C) Oral copulation by force on a child between the ages of fourteen and seventeen (14-17): [Felony crime punishable by up to ten (10) years in prison]
PC 287a(c)(3) Oral copulation with a threat of retaliation: [Felony crime punishable by up to eight (8) years in prison].
PC 287a(d)(1) Oral copulation in concert: [Felony crime punishable by up to nine (9) years in prison].
PC 287a(d)(2) Oral copulation with a child in concert: [Felony crime punishable by up to fourteen (14) years in prison].
PC 287a(d)(3) Oral copulation with a child between the ages of fourteen and seventeen (14-17) with in concert: [Felony crime punishable by up to twelve (12) years in prison].
PC 287a(f) Oral copulation of an unconscious person: [Felony crime punishable by up to eight (8) years in prison].
PC 287a(i) Oral copulation of intoxicated person: [Felony crime punishable by up to eight (8) years in prison].
Sex offender registration: All oral copulation convictions require the defendant to register as a sex offender pursuant to California's sex offender registration law (Penal Code 290).
Strike Offense: Any oral copulation on a minor, or in concert with other defendants, is considered a strike offenses under California's Three Strikes Sentencing Law.
Moral Turpitude: Oral copulation crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude. Moral turpitude crimes are considered to be morally wrong. Non-U.S. citizens may be deported for crimes of moral turpitude. In addition, defendants with professional licenses, such as doctors, nurses, etc., may have their professional license suspended for any conviction of a moral turpitude crime.
Additional Punishments: All PC 287a crimes are subject to fines, victim restitution, criminal restraining orders (protective orders), civil lawsuits, long probation or parole sentences, and more.
Defenses to oral copulation crimes are as varied as the charges themselves. Only after a review of the evidence can a determination be made as to what defense is applicable for any particular charge. Below is a list of the more common defenses to PC 287a crimes.
Consent: Consent is a defense to many, but not all, oral copulation crimes. Minors, intoxicated persons, inmates in jail, and unconscious persons cannot consent to oral copulation. Also, even if the alleged victim did not consent but the defendant reasonably and honestly believed that the alleged victim did in fact consent the defendant is entitled to a finding of not guilty.
Note: Evidence that the alleged victim requested or suggested a condom or other protection does not, by itself, equal consent. Consent is usually implied from all of the surrounding circumstances.
Mistake of Fact: If the defendant reasonably and honestly believed that the alleged victim consented, or that the alleged victim was an adult, the defendant may be entitled to a finding of not guilty.
Intoxication: If the defendant was intoxicated by drugs or alcohol to the point that he or she could not form the specific intent to commit oral copulation at the time of the alleged offense then the defendant is entitled to a finding of not guilty.
Other defenses to PC 287 charges include: Coerced & Improper Confessions, double jeopardy, statute of limitations, alibi, illegal search and seizure, and more.
If your have been charged with oral copulation, or PC 287a, contact our criminal defense lawyers for a free consultations. Our criminal defense lawyers are experienced and aggressive in the unique area of sex crimes defense. Sex crimes, including charges of oral copulation charged under PC 287a, have been a focus of our firm from the very start. Call today!
Quick Legal Reference
Crime: Oral Copulation on a Minor
Code: PC 287(b)(1) (CalCrim No. 1015 et seq.)
Wobbler: Yes. PC 287(b)(1) is a wobbler crime. PC 287(b)(1) may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.
Incarceration: PC 287(b)(1) prison sentence range: 16 months, 2 or 3 years (if probation not granted). Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 year in jail.
Probation: Probation is unusual in felony PC 287(b)(1) cases and is only allowed in cases where unusual circumstances apply and no force beyond the force necessary needed to commit the crime is alleged. Probation in misdemeanor PC 287(b)(1) cases is more common and may be available even without unusual circumstances (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not probation is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.
PC 1170(h)): No. Felony PC 287(b)(1) is not subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any incarceration ordered after a felony conviction, that is not part of a probation sentence, must be served in state prison (as opposed to a county jail), and the prison sentence may not be split or suspended.
Strike: PC 287(b)(1) [without force] is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.
Strike: PC 287(b)(1) [with force] is a strike offense per California's Three Strikes law as this crime is considered a Serious offense (PC 1192.7), and a Violent offense (667.5(c). Strike crimes are subject to reduced good time credits in jail or prison and other penalty enhancements upon subsequent criminal convictions.
Credits: 50% good conduct credits available (only 15% if force is alleged in the criminal complaint).
CIMT: PC 287(b)(1) is a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:
Professional Licensing problems
Impeachment on credibility
Firearms: PC 287(b)(1) convictions bar defendant from owning or possessing a firearm.
Registration: If convicted of PC 287(b)(1) the defendant is required to register as a sex offender with law enforcement.
Bail: $50,000 (San Bernardino County)
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