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Oral Copulation Defenses – California Penal Code Section 288a

Oral copulation under PC 288a is a serious crime in California. If you are convicted of this crime, you could face years in prison and be ordered to pay expensive fines. You will also be required to register as a sex offender for life if you are convicted of this crime. That is why you should not hesitate to speak to an experienced criminal attorney who may be able to defend you against these severe charges.

 

Legal Definition of Oral Copulation

oral copulation
Oral copulation is a serious crime in California.

Under PC 288a, 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.

In order to convict you of oral copulation with a minor under California Penal Code Section 288a, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you participated in an act of “oral copulation” with another person. The prosecution also must prove other elements depending on the circumstances of your case:

  • For oral copulation with a minor under PC 288a(b)(1), the prosecution must prove that the alleged victim was under 18 years old at the time of the incident
  • For oral copulation under PC 288a(b)(2), the prosecution must prove that you were at least 21 years old and the alleged victim was under the age of 16 at the time of the incident
  • For PC 288a(c)(1) oral copulation with a minor under 14, the prosecution must prove that the alleged victim was under the age of 14 and was at least 10 years younger than you
  • For oral copulation by force or fear under PC 288a(c)(2), PC 288a(c)(3) or PC 288a(k), the prosecution must prove that the alleged victim did not consent to the act and you accomplished the oral sex through the use of force, violence, duress, menace or fear.

Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients accused of oral copulation for more than 35 years. There are a number of defenses our lawyers have used to defend clients facing PC 288a charges. Here are some common legal defenses to oral copulation charges that may apply to your case:

Good Faith Belief That the Alleged Victim was 18 or Older

One of the most common valid legal defenses to certain oral copulation charges is that the defendant did not know the alleged victim was under the age of 18 at the time of act. This defense is only available to you if you are alleged to have committed the crime against a person under 18. Mistake of age is not a valid legal defense if you are charged with oral copulation with a minor under 14 under PC 288a(c)(1).

In order to convict you under PC 288a(b)(1) or PC 288a(b)(2), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not reasonably and actually believe that the other person was at least 18 years old. If the prosecution has not met this burden, you should not be convicted of this crime. Evidence that could support your legal argument that you believed the alleged victim was 18 or older include:

  • The appearance of the alleged victim
  • The place or context of where you met the alleged victim, and
  • Whether the alleged victim told you he or she was over the age of 18

For example, if you met the alleged victim at a bar, you have good reason to believe that he or she is 21 years old or older.

You Did Not Commit the Act of Oral Copulation

PC 288a
You cannot be convicted under PC 288a if you didn’t actually commit the act of oral copulation.

Your criminal defense attorney may be able to raise the defense that you have been falsely accused of oral copulation with a minor.

Under PC 288a, the act of 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. Therefore, you could have a valid legal defense to the charges if the crime did not actually occur or if the crime was committed by another person.

In order to use this defense, your lawyer may try to raise doubt that you committed the crime by attacking the credibility of the alleged victim and/or by sharing evidence that proves you could have not participated in the act at the time it was allegedly committed.

Consent as a Defense to Forcible Oral Copulation Charges

Many people ask our lawyers if consent is a valid legal defense to oral copulation charges. The answer is no. Crimes involving oral copulation are typically committed against minors, and minors are not legally allowed to provide consent. Therefore, consent cannot be a valid legal defense to oral copulation charges.

However, if you are charged with oral copulation by force or fear under PC 288a(c)(2), PC 288a(c)(3) or PC 288a(k), your skilled criminal lawyer may be able to use consent as a defense. This defense is only available to you in cases where the alleged victim is legally able to provide consent, which means the person must be at least 18 years of age.

If you “actually and reasonably” believed that the other person consented to the act, you may have a valid legal defense to forcible oral copulation charges. It is up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not actually and reasonably believe the person consented. If the prosecution does not meet this burden, you should not be convicted of this crime.

Common Myths Regarding Oral Copulation Defenses

Many people think that a past history between the parties involved in the act or other circumstances could be used as defenses to the crime of oral copulation. In most cases, that is not true. Here are some common arguments that are not valid legal defenses to oral copulation charges:

  • Evidence of a relationship between you and the alleged victim – If you and the other party are dating or married at the time of the incident, that fact does not constitute consent. All parties must provide consent to an act of sex before and during the act.
  • The alleged victim was 18 or over and previously gave me consent – If you are accused of forcible oral copulation and the alleged victim was an adult, it is not a valid legal defense to say that the alleged victim changed his or her mind during the act of oral copulation. You must have consent throughout the entirety of the act. If you did not stop when the alleged victim asked you to, you could be convicted of this crime.
  • There was no penetration – Sexual penetration is not an element of the crime of oral copulation that the prosecution must prove in order to convict you. Oral copulation involves the mouth of one person touching the sexual organ or anus of another person. Therefore, the fact that there was no sexual penetration is not a valid legal defense to oral copulation charges.
  • I was a minor at the time of the incident – Many people do not think that a minor can be charged with violating PC 288a because he or she could technically be considered a victim. However, that is not true. A minor could be convicted of this crime if the prosecution can prove that the minor understood what he or she was doing was wrong.

Call the Skilled Oral Copulation Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

Oral copulation convictions carry the probability of severe penalties, including years in prison, expensive fines and registration as a sex offender. You do not want to face these harsh consequences. That is why you should contact an experienced oral copulation defense attorney immediately.

oral copulation defense attorneys
Our oral copulation defense attorneys can help you fight these charges now!

At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing oral copulation charges for more than 35 years. Our lawyers understand the complex laws regarding oral copulation and they know the local courts where your case is pending. We will use all of our skill and knowledge to fight for you so you can achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, our experienced oral copulation attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available to help near you no matter where you work or live.

Contact our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will get through this together.

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