PC 288(a)- Oral Copulation with a Minor

PC 288(a)- Oral Copulation with a Minor in the North Bay, Santa Rosa, San Rafael
Lewd Act on Child or Dependent Person–
Consensual oral copulation with a minor—that is, a person under eighteen (18)—is a crime in California. California Penal Code 288 (a) describes the California sex crime of “oral copulation with a minor.
Neglected lonely child leaning at the wall
PC 288 (a) “ Any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes…upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or child, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years.”
It may shock you to learn that consensual oral sex can be a very serious felony in California.
One way to think about California’s crime of “oral copulation with a minor” is with reference to California’s statutory rape laws—which make it a crime to have sexual intercourse with a minor, even if it is consensual.
PC 288 (b) (1)  “Any person who commits an act described in subdivision (a) ABOVE by use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 5, 8, or 10 years.”
There are some instances of oral sex with a minor—for example, if the minor is very intoxicated or mentally disabled—could lead to charges for the more serious crime of oral copulation by force or fear.
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PC 288 (b) (2) This section covers, “Any person who is a caretaker and commits an act described in subdivision (a) ABOVE, upon a dependent person by use of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person with the intent described in subdivision (a) is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by state prison for 5, 8 or 10 years.”
PENALTIES ARE SEVERE:  Age matters
The penalties for PC 288 (a) oral copulation with a minor depend on the ages of both the defendant and the “victim” at the time when the oral sex occurred.
If the “victim” is sixteen (16 years) or older OR the defendant is twenty-one (21 years) or younger, oral copulation with a minor will be a wobbler in California law.
A “wobbler” only means that the criminal charge may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  The maximum misdemeanor sentence is one (1) year in county jail, and the potential felony sentence is sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in California state prison.
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Under PC 288 (c) (1) if the accused commits the act of oral copulation as described in subdivision (a) with the intent  so described and the victim is a child of 14 or 15 years old and the accused/ defendant is at least 10 years older than the victim/child the defendant is “guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for one, two or three years or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year.”
And if the victim is under fourteen (14) AND the defendant is more than ten (10) years older than him/her, then the potential prison sentence rises to three (3), six (6) or eight (8) years.
Oral copulation with a minor can lead to a significant prison sentence.
Perhaps worst of all, a conviction for oral copulation with a minor in California subjects you to California’s lifelong sex offender registration requirement under PC 290 et al.
This means that if you are convicted under Penal Code 288 (a) you must register with the state at least every year for the rest of your life—or else face additional misdemeanor or felony charges for failure to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290 et al.
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 PC 290 Sex Registration Requirements are very ONEROUS:
The Sex Offender Registration Act– requires any convicted sex offender who lives in California to register with the police of the City and County where they live and do this on a very timely and strict basis– within 5 business days of the offender’s birthday.
The convicted Sex offender must also renew their registration each time the “sex offender” changes addresses or moves.  It is a very burdensome requirement that prohibits any offender from residing within a certain radius of schools, child care facilities, parks and even running/ jogging paths.  Part of the registration law has been struck down by the courts for being too onerous and restrictive.
If the sex offender fails to do any of the above-mentioned, there are strict penalties and jail.  Often times a simple omission will end up becoming a violation of probation or parole which means being picked up on a no bail warrant or worse.
Legal defenses:
If you are charged with oral copulation with a minor, our experienced California sex crimes defense attorneys can help you safeguard your rights—and protect your future.
You owe it to yourself to avoid the stigma associated with a sex crime conviction.  Let us help you fight the charges at the very beginning of the case—with all of the necessary resources at your disposal.
Two common legal defenses that can help you beat California Penal Code 288 (a) charges:

  • You honestly and reasonably believed the minor was over 18; and that belief was reasonable;
  • You were falsely accused.

There is the mistake of Fact defense available in some cases.  Allow us to gather the evidence to support your reasonable belief that the minor was over 18 years old by “victim” statements, that she was indeed over 18 years old. 
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FACEBOOK and other SOCIAL media postings are very convincing to jurors!   The victim’s appearance, apparel, clothing, makeup and surroundings are all important factors to show how you are being falsely accused. 
The surroundings or place and context in which you met the “victim” at a bar that requires patrons to present valid ID may be more than just a mitigating factor in your case.
When facing substantial jail time, and a harsh societal stigma that goes along with SEX REGISTRATION, You should consider hiring our skilled and experienced lawyers:
Always a Free Consultation at Fiumara & Milligan, Law PC
Please feel free to call North Bay, Santa Rosa and San Rafael attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC 24/7 at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to keep you out of jail. 
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If you call after hours, our operators will gladly connect you to one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys 24/7. 
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