Sodomy refers to a specific sex act in the state of California wherein there is the entry of a penis into an anus. Consensual acts of sodomy are not against the law in California. However, individuals can face sodomy charges for non-consensually forcing someone else into this act.
California uses Penal Code 286 to prosecute non-consensual sodomy. Note that sodomy is always non-consensual if it involves someone under the age of 18. Get more information about sodomy charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group.
Defining Illegal Acts of Sodomy in California
In the past, all forms of sodomy were illegal in many places. It did not matter if both parties consented to the act or not; they could both face criminal charges. However, the laws regarding sodomy have since changed.
Today, sodomy is a legal sex act in many circumstances. However, there are times when acts of sodomy can still lead to criminal charges. Individuals who force another person to engage in sodomy are breaking the law. Individuals may force others to take part in a sex act through:
Additionally, people must willingly consent to sodomy for a person to avoid a sodomy charge. In some cases, individuals are not capable of giving consent. For example, individuals cannot legally give consent to a sex act if they are:
- Under the age of 18
- Dealing with certain mental or physical disabilities
Furthermore, it may be against the law to engage in sodomy after telling an intimate partner you are going to perform a different act. Note that any penetration of a penis into an anus is an act of sodomy. Individuals can face sodomy charges even if they do not ejaculate.
Types of Sodomy Charges in California
It’s important to understand that there are several subsections of California’s laws on sodomy. These charges are not all treated the same way. These charges include:
- Engaging in sodomy with a minor
- Engaging in sodomy with someone under 16 if you are over 21
- Engaging in sodomy through force or fear
- Engaging in sodomy with a fellow jail or prison inmate
- Engaging in sodomy with a fellow psychiatric hospital patient
Note that these are only examples of some of the charges used to prosecute sodomy. You can speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles about other sodomy charges.
Penalties for a Sodomy Conviction in California
Sodomy is a serious sex crime in California. The court treats sodomy as a “wobbler.” This means that individuals can face misdemeanor or felony charges for an offense. The prosecution decides how to handle this charge. They assess an individual’s past criminal history and the facts of the case when making this decision.
Misdemeanor sodomy convictions can lead to:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
- Summary probation
However, many of these offenses are treated as felonies. Individuals accused of a felony can face:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to three years
- Formal probation
In some cases, the court may add years of additional time to a prison sentence. Additionally, individuals must register as sex offenders after a felony conviction. Sodomy can also count as a “strike” on an individual’s record.
Defenses Against Sodomy Accusations in California
It is important to understand that there are defenses to sodomy accusations here in California. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you face charges. Some common defenses involve working to show that:
- The sodomy occurred with the consent of the other person
- You were falsely accused of committing sodomy
- You had a legitimate belief that the other person was 18 or older
It is not against the law to engage in consensual sodomy. A lawyer can work to show that you had – or believed you had – consent to engage in this sex act. This could help you avoid a conviction. Your lawyer can also help if you were accused of a crime you did not commit. Find out more by contacting us.
Criminal Acts Related to Penal Code Section 286
Sodomy charges are often brought against an individual in combination with other criminal charges. Some common criminal acts associated with forced sodomy include:
- California Penal Code Section 243.4: Sexual Battery
- California Penal Code Section 261: Rape
- California Penal Code Section 288i: Lewd Acts With a Minor Child
If convicted of sodomy along with one or more of these other charges, the potential penalties you face could increase significantly. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer to learn more about the sentence you could face if convicted of multiple penal code violations.
Civil Lawsuits Against Individuals Accused of Sodomy
A person accused of sodomy could find themselves facing a civil lawsuit in addition to criminal charges. While a civil lawsuit will not result in incarceration, it could mean significant financial penalties well beyond those of a criminal charge.
If the plaintiff wins, the defendant could have to pay for medical expenses related to any damage done from the act, as well as money for pain and suffering. In some cases, the court may also level punitive damages to further punish the accused for this act.
It is possible for a civil lawsuit to be filed even if no criminal charges are pursued. You should also note that the burden of proof is lower for a civil case. In a criminal case, the prosecution must present evidence to show that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a civil case, it is only necessary to show that the defendant is more likely guilty than not.
Talk to a Lawyer About Penal Code 286: Sodomy
Sodomy charges should receive serious attention in California. A conviction for sodomy could result in incarceration and high fines. Fortunately, a sex crimes lawyer in Los Angeles could help with these charges. Find out how by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. It is easy to reach us. Just call us or complete our online contact form.
Let us review the charges you face with a free consultation.