Oral sex is usually legal in California, but there are instances where the activity can result in an arrest. For the most part, two consenting adults participating in oral sex are totally safe from the law, but when either of the participants is under 18 or forced against their will, a crime may have been committed. If you are charged with a crime related to oral copulation, contact a sex crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What is Oral Copulation?
Under the law, oral copulation is defined as any sexual act that involves the copulation of one person’s mouth with the anus or sex organ of another person. It doesn’t matter if someone reaches orgasm, if there was penetration, or if the contact was only momentary, it still is considered oral copulation. Nor does it matter if the victim received the oral sex or gave it. If you aren’t sure if a particular sex act is legal in California or not, please ask your attorney.
Oral Copulation With a Minor is Illegal
In cases involving oral copulation with a minor under 18, charged under California Penal Code 288(a) (PC), the charges are very similar to other forms of statutory rape. You can face a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how the prosecution chooses to file the case. Your lawyer may be able to help ensure the charges are only a misdemeanor, so you will not face more than one year in jail. This option is not available if the defendant is over 21 and the minor is younger than 16, as the crime will always be a felony. As a felony, oral sex with a minor can be punished by up to 3 years in prison. In cases where the victim was under 14, and the defendant was 10 years older than the victim, the crime is a more serious felony, punishable by up to 8 years imprisonment.
Oral Sex Through Force or Fear
If the victim in an oral copulation case was made to participate by the use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear, or by the threat of retaliation, the crime is considered a type of sexual assault under California Penal Code 287 (PC) and the defendant will face oral copulation by force charges. These charges can also be filed if the victim was unconscious, asleep, or too drunk to consent.
While the victim in these cases can be any age, sentencing will be increased if the victim was a minor -especially ifthey were under 14. If the victim is under 14 and at least 7 years younger than the defendant, oral copulation by force can even result in a life sentence. If the victim was an adult, the sentence carries up to 8 years in prison.
Call Your Lawyer Immediately
Any conviction relating to an oral copulation case will result in the defendant being required to register as a sex offender upon release from their incarceration sentence. These crimes are very serious and require the assistance of a skilled criminal attorney like Peter M. Liss. If you are facing charges related to oral sex with a minor or through the use of force or fear, please call (760) 643-4050.