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PC 287(c) Oral Copulation Crimes: Law, Punishment & Defense

California oral copulation crimes charged under penal code § 287(C) are among the most serious and violent sex crimes. This article is an overview of the laws, punishments, and common defenses related to oral copulation crimes charged under PC 287(C). For further information, please contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation.


Oral copulation is defined as the act of copulating the mouth of one person with the sexual organ or anus of another person. (PC 287(a)). To “copulate” means sexual intercourse, but as used in the oral copulation statute, copulate means to sexually contact the mouth of one person to the genitals of another person. “Sexually contact” simply means for sexual pleasure.


Note: The term oral copulation is the criminal law legal term for fellatio and cunnilingus. Fellatio is the oral copulation of a male (mouth to penis) and cunnilingus is the oral copulation of a female (mouth to vagina). Slang terms for oral copulation include “oral sex,” “blowjob,” and many more.


PC 287(C) Laws


Oral copulation charged under penal code 287(C) is divided into several specific charges:


…a defendant who participates in an act of oral copulation with another person who is under fourteen (14) years of age and more than ten (10) years younger than the defendant, is guilty of oral copulation upon a child under fourteen (14) [PC 287(c)(1) Abbrev.).


…a defendant who commits an act of oral copulation when the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person… is guilty of oral copulation by force or fear (PC 287(c)(2)(A) Abbrev.).


…a defendant who commits an act of oral copulation upon a child who is under fourteen (14) years of age, when the act is accomplished against the child’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the child, or another person, is guilty of oral copulation on a child under fourteen by force (14) [PC 287(c)(2)(B) Abbrev.].


…a defendant who commits an act of oral copulation upon a minor who is fourteen (14) years of age or older, when the act is accomplished against the minor’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the minor or another person, is guilty of oral copulation on a minor fourteen (14) years of age or older by force or fear (PC 287(c)(2)(C) Abbrev.).


…a defendant who commits an act of oral copulation where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person, and there is a reasonable possibility that the perpetrator will execute the threat, is guilty of oral copulation by threatening to retaliate (PC 287(c)(3) Abbrev.).


Note: For PC 287(c)(3), “threatening to retaliate” means a threat to kidnap or falsely imprison, or to inflict extreme pain, serious bodily injury, or death (PC 287(l)).


PC 287(c) Punishments


All oral copulation crimes charged under penal code § 287(c) are classified as felony offense. A felony offense is a classification of crimes that are more serious than misdemeanor offenses. Incarceration for felony offenses, if any, is usually served in a California state prison, as opposed to a local county jail, and the length of incarceration is generally much longer than the length of incarceration, if any, related to misdemeanor offenses.


PC 287(c)(1) Prison sentence: If found guilty or oral copulation upon a child under fourteen (14) [PC 287(c)(1)], the defendant may face up to three (3) years, six (6) years, or eight (8) years in prison. A probation sentence, as opposed to a prison sentence, may be available after a PC 287(c)(1) conviction in “special circumstances.” (See Probation Sentence).


PC 287(c)(2)(A) Prison Sentence: If found guilty of oral copulation by force or fear (PC 287(c)(2)(A)), the defendant may face up to three (3) years, six (6) years, or eight (8) years in prison. A probation sentence is not available after a conviction for PC 287(c)(2)(A).


PC 287(c)(2)(B) Prison Sentence: If found guilty of oral copulation on a child under fourteen (14) by force (PC 287(c)(2)(B)), the defendant may face up to eight (8) years, ten (10) years, or twelve (12) years in prison. A probation sentence is not available after a conviction for PC 287(c)(2)(B).


PC 287(c)(2)(C) Prison Sentence: If found guilty of oral copulation on a minor fourteen (14) years of age or older by force or fear (PC 287(c)(2)(C), the defendant may face up to six (6) years, eight (8) years, or ten (10) years in prison. A probation sentence is not available after a conviction for PC 287(c)(2)(C).


Prison Term Selected: In PC 287(c) cases, the judge has the option of the low term (aka “mitigated” term), mid-term (“presumptive” term), or high term (aka “aggravated” term) of imprisonment. The prison term that the judge chooses after a PC 287(c) conviction depends on the presence or absence of any mitigating or aggravating factors related to the case.


For example, for PC 287(c)(2)(A) cases, the judge may decide that the convicted defendant deserves the low term of six (6) years of prison because the defendant has no criminal history prior to his oral copulation conviction (no criminal history is a factor that is considered in determining sentencing in PC 287(c) cases).


Mitigating and Aggravating Factors: The mitigating and aggravating factors that help decide what prison sentence to impose after a PC 287(c) conviction include, but are not limited to, the following: the criminal history of the defendant, the amount of harm to victim, the remorse shown by defendant, the level of sophistication of the offense, and the desire for prosecution by the victim.


Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of supervised release, as opposed to a prison sentence. A probation sentence is not allowed after a conviction for most penal code 287(c) crimes; however, per PC 287(c)(1), if the defendant is convicted of oral copulation against an adult, without consent, but also without force or fear, then a probation sentence may be allowed in “special” cases. What determines a “special” case for purposes of probation sentencing in PC 287(c)(1) cases is determined on a case-by-case basis.


Prison-Presumptive Sentence: Incarceration for PC 287(c) convictions require a prison sentence, as opposed to a county jail sentence. There is an exception to the prison-presumptive sentence for PC 287(c)(1) cases where probation is allowed in unusual cases (See Probation Sentence). In these PC 287(c)(1) cases, the judge may order a local county jail term as a condition of felony probation.


Additionally, the prison sentence related to oral copulation crimes charged under PC 287(c) may neither be “suspended” (aka “joint-suspended prison sentence”), nor split (served partially out of prison on work release).


Note: Good-conduct credits are reduced for oral copulation crimes charged under PC 287(c). Inmates serving a sentence for any penal code 287(c) conviction must serve at least eight five percent (85%) of his or her prison sentence. In other words, if the prison inmate conducts himself or herself with good behavior while in prison, then he or she may have his or her PC 287(c) prison sentence reduced by up to fifteen percent (15%).


Sex Offender Registration: All oral copulation offenses, including PC 287(c) crimes, are subject to mandatory sex offender registration. Sex offender registration requires the defendant to register as such with the Department of Justice. The length of registration for PC 287(c) crimes is either twenty (20) years (Tier 2), or life (Tier 3). For more information, see Sex Offender Registration Requirements (PC 290), Sex Offender Registration Tier System (PC 290(a)-(d)), & Termination of Sex Offender Registration (PC 290.5).


CA Three Strikes Law: All oral copulation crimes charged under PC 287(c) are classified as “strike” offenses under California’s Three Strikes Law. Additionally, all felony oral copulation crimes are classified as serious offenses (PC 1192.7), and violent offenses (PC 667.5).


Moral Turpitude Crime: Oral copulation crimes charged under PC 287(c) are called “crimes involving moral turpitude.” A crime involving moral turpitude is any crime that involves dishonesty or is otherwise morally wrong. Crimes involving moral turpitude, including PC 287(c) crimes, carry special indirect punishment for defendant as it relates to immigration consequences (deportation, denial of citizenship), licensed professional (denial or revocation or license), and military personnel (discharge, denial of entry).


Criminal Protective Orders: A criminal protective order is a restraining order that is produced in criminal court. It is intended to protect the victim of crime from the defendant’s conduct and contact. In PC 287(c) oral copulation crimes, the defendant is almost always restrained from contacting the victim. This is true even in cases where a family member is the oral copulation victim.


Additional Punishments: In addition to the punishments listed above, if the defendant is convicted of oral copulation charged under PC 287(c), he or she will also be ordered to pay court fines and fees, suffer long and harsh probation or parole terms (if available), suffer civil lawsuits, lose scholastic opportunities, lose family law rights to child custody and visitation, lose firearm rights, and more.


PC 287(c) Common Defenses


Every oral copulation allegation is supported by different facts and circumstances; therefore, the defense to every oral copulation is different.


Common defenses to oral copulation crimes charged under PC 287(c) include consent (applies only to PC 287(c)(2)(A)), illegal search and seizure, failure to Mirandize client before confession, coerced confession, insufficient evidence to prove guilty, impeachment of “victim’s” recitation of facts or scientific evidence, statute of limitations (very limited in most PC 287(c) oral copulation crimes), and more. For further information, see Defenses to Sex Crimes.


For more information on the crime of oral copulation, charged under California penal code section 287(c), contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our team of dedicated and award-winning attorneys will aggressively pursue the best outcome for you case. We have successfully handled hundreds of sex crimes in the Inland Empire over the last fourteen (14) years and we can help you too. Call today!


909-913-3138


Additional Reading


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PC 287(c) Oral Copulation Crimes: Law, Punishment & Defense

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