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Sexual Penetration by Object by Force
PC 289 & 289(h)
Law, Punishment, & Defense

The law on the crime of sexual penetration by foreign object with force, fear, or threats, is found at California penal code sections 289(a) through 289(h).

Sexual Penetration Defined: According to PC 289, sexual penetration means penetration of the genitals or anus of another person, or, to cause another person to penetrate the defendant's genitals or anus, or, to cause another person to penetrate his or her own genitals or anus, for the purpose of sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.


Note: penetration for sexual gratification is self-explanatory while penetration for sexual abuse means penetration for the purpose of pain, injury, or discomfort.

Degree of Penetration: sexual penetration is complete no matter how slight the penetration or how short the duration of penetration; however, to prove that the defendant is guilty of PC 289, the district attorney must prove that there was at least some penetration. (Attempted sexual penetration is a possible charge in the situation where there is no evidence that the defendant sexually penetrated the alleged victim [PC 220]).

Foreign Object: A foreign object may be a substance, instrument, or device, or part of a body.


To be found guilty of sexual penetration by object with force or fear, the district attorney must prove all of the following:


  • The defendant committed an act of sexual penetration with another person (either for sexual gratification or sexual abuse)

  • The penetration was accomplished by using a foreign object or an unknown object,

  • The person penetrated did not consent to the penetration,

  • The defendant accomplished the act of penetration, even if the penetration was slight or for a very short duration

  • The defendant used force, fear, or threats, while penetrating (remember, penetration can be of any person, including the defendant, so long as the penetration is directed by the defendant)

Consent: Per PC 289, to validly consent to sexual penetration, a person must act freely and voluntarily, and he or she must know the nature of the act to which he or she is consenting. This means that an unconscious, sedated, sleeping, or disabled person, does not give consent simply because he or she voices no objection to the penetration. However, consent may be implied by factual circumstances, including non-verbal communication.

Invalid Consent: Valid consent cannot be granted by a minor (person under the age of 18), an unconscious person, a severely intoxicated person, a mentally disabled person, or a person who is confined.

PC 289 Punishment

Prison Sentence: If found guilty of PC 289(a)(1), sexual penetration by object by force or fear, the defendant may face up to eight years in prison. Other common sexual penetration crimes, and their related prison sentence, includes:

  • PC 289(a)(1)(A) Sexual penetration with object by force: Prison sentence up to eight years

  • PC 289(a)(1)(B) Sexual penetration by object on victim under 14 years old with force: Prison sentence up to twelve years

  • PC 289(a)(1)(C) Sexual penetration by object on victim 14-17 years old with force: Prison sentence up to ten years

  • PC 289(b) Sexual penetration by object on incompetent victim: Prison sentence up to eight years

  • PC 289(d) Sexual penetration by object on unconscious victim: Prison sentence up to eight years

  • PC 289(e) Sexual penetration by object on intoxicated person: Prison sentence up to eight years

  • PC 289(h) Sexual penetration by object on victim under 18 years old without force, fear, or threats: Prison sentence up to three years

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is not allowed in any felony PC 289(a)(1) case. Also, any incarceration related to PC 289(a)(1) must be served in a California prison (as opposed to a local county jail) and no part of that prison sentence may be split or suspended.

Sex Offender Registration: Sexual penetration by object with force or fear is a crime that requires sex offender registration per California penal code 290. For more information, see CA Tier System for Sex Offenders & Sex Offender Registration Requirements.

Three Strikes Law: PC 289(a)(1) is a serious and violent felony as those terms are described in the California penal code. This means that a conviction of PC 289(a)(1) will be deemed a "strike" conviction under California's Three Strikes law.

Additional Penalties: In addition to the prison sentence related to a PC 289 conviction, other penalties for sexual penetration by object include: loss of immigration status, loss of professional license, loss of military service options, criminal protective orders, civil lawsuits, restitution, court fines and fees, and more.


PC 289 Defenses

Common defenses to sexual penetration crimes include, coerced confessions, illegal search and seizure of evidence, unreliable evidence or witnesses, statute of limitations, consent, reasonable mistake of fact as to consent or age of the alleged victim, and more.


For more information on common defenses to sexual penetration allegations, including a discussion of the statute of limitations related to PC 289, see Sex Crimes Defenses.

If you or a loved one is charged with sexual penetration by object, or PC 289, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys without today. Our sex crimes criminal defense team has helped hundreds of men and women charged with misdemeanor and felony sex crimes in the Inland Empire, and we can help you too. There is no fee to talk with one of experienced lawyer any day of the week. Call today!


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