Review of the Crime of PC 287 Oral Copulation with a Minor
California Penal Code 287 PC describes the crime of oral copulation with a minor under 18 years old, which is copulating the mouth of someone with the penis, vagina, or anus of someone else.
This statue also applies if the oral copulation was completed by use of force, violence, or fear.
PC 287 is a “wobbler” crime that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the ages of both defendant and victim.
For example, if the victim is under 14 years old while the defendant is more than 10 years older, then it's a felony sex crime punishable by up to 8 years in prison.
Oral copulation with a minor fall under lewd or lascivious acts on a child and carries severe penalties and possible mandatory registration as a sex offender.
If you are required to register under Penal Code 290 PC, you will have to register with your local police station every year or you could face charges of failing to register as a sex offender.
PC 287 formerly PC 288a
It should be that Penal Code 288a PC, oral copulation with a minor, was changed to Penal Code 287 PC on January 1, 2019 as part of California Senate Bill 1494.
Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are providing more detailed information below.
Understanding PC 287 Oral Copulation with Minor Law
Oral copulation under Penal Code 287 PC entails contact between a person's mouth and a minor's sexual organs or anus, excluding penetration. The statute categorizes minors who are under 18 years old.
Depending on the defendant and victim's age, the case outcome varies, as does which court takes on the case. Minor status does not guarantee leniency or case dismissal.
Elements of the crime
In order for the prosecutor to obtain a PC 287 conviction, they will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, all the elements of the crime (CALCRIM 1082):
- you participated in oral copulation with someone, and
- the alleged victim was below 18 at the time of the incident.
Oral copulation is described as “any contact” between the mouth of someone and the sexual organ or anus of another person.
Actual penetration or ejaculation is not required for a Penal Code 287 oral copulation with a minor conviction.
When both parties involved are minors, it is still possible to pursue PC 287 charges, but the case will most likely end up in the California juvenile court system.
There are a few California statutes that are closely related to PC 287 oral copulation with a minor, including:
Penal Code 261.5 PC statutory rape, and
Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts with a minor.
What are the Penalties for Penal Code 287 PC?
A defendant who performs an act of oral copulation on a person below the age of 18 under Penal Code 287 PC faces the following penalties:
- a felony or misdemeanor charge, known as a “wobbler;”
- fines ranging from $1,000 - $10,000, depending on type of charge;
- potential lifetime placement on the California sex offender registry;
- if the victim is ten years younger than the defendant, or if the victim is below 14, the defendant faces imprisonment for up to eight years;
- if the act of oral copulation was against the victim's will, and if the defendant used force, violence, and fear to coerce the victim, the defendant faces up to twelve years of imprisonment;
- If the victim experiences bodily injury or harm during the incident, a defendant faces 10-14 years in a California state prison.
Further, a PC 287 conviction will cause significant damage to reputation and quality of life, and result in limited career and housing options.
Some defendants assume that if both persons involved are minors, the defendant will not face legal troubles.
This assumption is mostly false as the Los Angeles County juvenile court handles these cases and can prosecute minor defendants who engaged in an oral copulation incident under PC 287.
Minor defendants can still face criminal charges unless they provide evidence that they didn't know what they were doing is punishable by law.
In reality, however, prosecutors don't make it a priority to pursue charges against a teenager who was engaging in oral sex with another teenager.
What about consent?
A defendant cannot use willful participation as a defense since the age of consent in California is 18. What can make a difference in the case outcome is:
- performing oral sex on a person 14 years and below through the use of violence, duress, force;
- when the act involves threats of retaliation against the victim;
- aiding and abetting the action for another person.
Legal Defenses for Penal Code 287 PC
Defendants have some options when it comes to avoiding prosecution for an oral copulation with a minor charge. Some of the best defenses include:
Lack of evidence
Multiple cases exist where allegations against a defendant do not add up due to lack of evidence.
Since most of these cases rely on statements, accusations without proof are a way for our attorneys can help you clear your name of charges.
In some cases, allegations of oral copulation with a minor are entirely untrue.
These accusations either come from a misunderstanding or malicious intent by a third party. Our criminal defense lawyers might be able to uncover crucial information and evidence during investigations to disprove these accusations.
Belief minor was over 18 years old
If we can prove a defendant genuinely believed that the victim was 8 or above, it may work lead to a favorable outcome on the case.
For example, perhaps the victim said they were over 18, or their appearance support this belief. Perhaps you met them in a bar, where it requires proof of age.
Criminal Defense for California Sex Crime Cases
If you face a charge involving oral copulation of a minor under PC 287, do not speak to law enforcement before speaking to an attorney. Any information you provide, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can complicate your case further.
If you are under investigation, or already arrested and charged with Penal Code 287 PC oral copulation with a minor in California, contact us to review the details.
This sex crime charge has severe implications on your quality of life, freedom, and finances and irrevocably damages your reputation.
However, not all case outcomes are felonious. Depending on your strategy, you can aim for a misdemeanor charge with the right defense team.
Through prefiling intervention, we might be able to convince the prosecutor from filing formal charges.
Our Certified Criminal Law Specialist can help you counter harmful oral copulation accusations that adversely impact your life.
Eisner Gorin LLP is a top-rated criminal defense law firm serving clients around the greater Los Angeles area, including Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Contact our firm for an initial consultation at (877) 781-1570.