California Penal Code Section 288a: Oral Copulation with a Child represented a sex crimes charge used in California for many years. The charge applied to individuals who engaged in specific sex acts with a minor (anyone under the age of 18).
You can learn more about PC 288a and recent adjustments to the law with the Simmrin Law Group. Our criminal defense lawyers can tell you more about sex crime charges in California, the results of convictions, and possible legal defenses.
Why does California No Longer Use PC 288a?
California used California Penal Code Section 288a: Oral Copulation with a Child up until January 1, 2019. At this point, the state switched charges for this crime and began prosecuting offenses under California Penal Code Section 287.
The laws and definition of the crime of oral copulation with a child remained the same after this change. The state simply began using a new code for prosecution.
The professionals generally assume the change occurred to distinguish PC 288a from California Penal Code 288(a): Lewd Acts with a Child Under 14.
What Is Oral Copulation With a Minor?
The court used California Penal Code Section 288a to prosecute oral copulation with a minor (or someone under the age of consent) for a long time. Currently, the court uses PC 287 to handle these charges.
Both PC 288a and now PC 287 define oral copulation with a minor in the same way. This crime involves contact between one person’s mouth and another person’s:
PC 288a charges applied any time the above actions involved a minor (or someone under 18 years old). PC 287 charges can also apply if this form of sexual contact occurs between two people over the age of 18 and if the contact took place without one party’s consent.
Individuals may force another part into oral copulation through fear, violence, duress, or force. However, the act remains criminal if one part is under 18, even if the minor attempts to instigate the activity or offers verbal consent.
Complications for Oral Copulation With a Child Charges
Individuals may face harsher charges for oral copulation with a child if certain factors occur in the crime. For example, engaging in sex acts with a mentally disabled or intoxicated minor could lead to harsher penalties in California.
Oral Copulation Charges Involving Two Minors
The court system in California can pursue criminal charges against two minors who engage in oral copulation with each other. In this situation, the prosecution has to prove that the accused party recognized they were doing something wrong.
However, the juvenile court system in California generally handles these charges.
What Happens After a PC 288a Conviction?
Individuals convicted under California Penal Code Section 288a: Oral Copulation with a Child can face several different penalties based on the facts of their case.
In many cases, the penalties surrounding this charge vary depending on the age of the alleged victim and the accused.
Penalties for a Victim Over 16 OR a Defendant Under 21
The court treats PC 287 as a wobbler in some cases. Prosecutors can handle wobblers as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending upon the facts of the case. PC 287 charges count as wobblers if the alleged victim was over 16 OR the accused was under 21.
Misdemeanor convictions in this situation can lead to:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
Felony convictions can result in:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to three years
Penalties for a Victim Under 16 AND Defendant Over 21
The court consistently prosecutes PC 287 charges as a felony if the alleged victim was under 16 and the accused was over the age of 21. These charges result in fines of up to $10,000 and up to three years of prison time.
Penalties for a Victim Under 14
The court can add harsher penalties in cases involving oral copulation with a child under 14. The court takes this step if the accused is older than the alleged victim by more than 10 years. In this situation, individuals can face up to eight years of prison time.
California Penal Code Section 288a: Oral Copulation with a Child convictions always require an individual to register as a sex offender if the alleged victim was under 14. The court may require the accused to register in other cases, as well.
What Legal Defenses Work for PC 288a Charges?
A sex crimes lawyer in California can build a defense for oral copulation with a child charges. Depending upon the facts of the case, a lawyer may argue that the accused believed the minor was older than 18. This defense may apply if the minor:
- Verbally claimed to be over 18
- Dressed or wore makeup to make themselves look older
- Was in a location that required individuals to show ID
However, the court does not allow this defense in cases involving minors under 14 with defendants more than 10 years older.
A criminal defense lawyer may also work to show that an individual faced false accusations of oral copulation with a child. Sometimes, individuals make false claims out of jealousy or a desire to get revenge on someone else.
Does the Court Expunge PC 288a Convictions?
In some cases, the court system may expunge a conviction for oral copulation with a child. Expungement removes a criminal charge from an individual’s record after they complete their probation.
However, California does not allow this legal strategy for individuals accused of engaging in oral copulation with someone under 14 who was 10 years younger than them. Additionally, even after expungement, individuals still have to register as sex offenders if ordered by the court.
Speak to a Lawyer About California Penal Code Section 288a
You can learn more about California Penal Code Section 288a: Oral Copulation with a Child charges with our team at the Simmrin Law Group. Allow us to explain more about these charges and the potential consequences you may face if convicted. Call us or contact us online today.