Oral copulation (also known as an oral sex) is not against the law if and when there was prior consent. This means that if your partner agrees to oral sex, then he or she may not claim that act was forced upon their free will. Oral copulation is the touching that occurs between the mouth and another person's intimate body part. This may include a person's genitals or anus. in cases where there was no prior consent, the act is deemed to be unlawful. The act of forcing a person to engage in oral sex either through fear, coercion, or physical force, is a violation of Penal Code 288a. Penal Code 288a states that oral copulation is unlawful when the act was forced upon a person's free will or on a person who was unconscious, sleeping, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, oral copulation is illegal when the act involves a person who is under the age of consent. A person under the age of 18 does not have the ability to give consent.

Depending on the nature of the act, the penalties will apply differently to individuals that inflicted bodily damage, to individuals that used force or threats, and to individuals that engaged in a sexual act with a person under the age of 18. Due to the complexity of the laws, it is crucial that you speak with an attorney before you enter a courtroom. The last thing you want is to be convicted and charged with more than is considered just. When a person is convicted of a sex crime, it is important to keep in mind that the repercussions will last longer than the prison sentence. A sex offender in the state of California is required to register their information to state and federal registrations. The registration is open to the public which means that your community, employer, and future girlfriend/spouse, have the ability to search for your information. Depending on the nature of your crime, you may be required to register 10 years or for the rest of your life. To avoid a wrongful conviction or to reduce your charges, you will want to work with a local criminal defense attorney.

Individuals who are charged under Penal Code 288a should know that there are a number of legal defenses that may apply to their case. If you wish to consult your case with an attorney, you may contact the Orange County Criminal Attorney at 714-831-1858. Our attorney can help shine a light on your case so that you fully understand how the law applies to your specific situation. The following section will highlight the penalties and other matter pertaining to oral copulation, however, the following may not apply exactly to your case. To learn about the specifics of your situations you should seek consultation from a local attorney.


Sexual acts become criminal when there is a lack consent.  Under the law, consent is crucial when determining whether a sexual act was a violation of a person’s free will. In order to engage in a lawful sex activity, both parties must agree to the act before it is carried out. When consent is given, the person who has given consent to engage in a sexual activity (no matter the type of act), he or she may not press charges on the other party for a violation of their free will. A person that later regrets an act may also not convict the other party of a sex crime. For instance, if you engage in oral sex with another person and you did not force yourself on the person then you may not be charged under Penal Code 288a. However, if you engage in a sex act with a person that is not over the age of 18, even if they have given you consent, a parent may press charges for violating their child. A person can only give consent if they are over the age of 18, if they were not intoxicated, and they were fully aware of the actions. To ensure you are not convicted of a sex crime you always want to make sure you are given consent before you engage with a sexual activity.

Penal Code 288a

California Penal Code 288a describes oral copulation as the interaction between a person's mouth and the sex organs or anus of another person. Oral copulation is not illegal unless there is a lack of consent or the person is under the age of 18. A person that is under the age of 18 does not have the right to give consent to engage in sexual activities with a person that is over the age of 18. Oral copulation is illegal if it involves a person under the age of consent, if the act occurred while the other party was intoxicated, if the act occurred while the other party was unconscious such as sleeping or under medication, or if the other one party used physical force, threatened, or used violence to make the other party engage in the sexual act.

Penalties: Penal Code 288a

Under Penal Code 288a, there are a number of penalties that apply to different circumstances that involve oral copulation and the use of the force. As you will see below, the law considers whether the act resulted in bodily injury, the severity of the bodily injury, the age of the person, and the awareness of the individual who engages in oral sex.

  • A person who uses force, violence, or threats to engage in uninvited oral copulation can be punished for up to 8 years
  • A person may be charged up to a year in prison or jail if the other party is under the age of 18 but not younger than 16 years old
  • A person may be charged with a felony if the person is under the age of 16
  • A person may be charged with up to 8 years in prison if the person is under the age of 14
  • When the crime was forced on a person under the age of 14 the aggressor may face up to 12 years in prison
  • A person that assists the aggressor is also in violation of the law
  • A person that engages in oral copulation with a person that has a mental disorder, a physical disability, or developmental disorder, and unable to give consent may be punished with up to a year in prison
  • A person who intoxicates another using a controlled substance to engage in oral copulation may be punished with up to 8 years
  • A person who threatens another person to engage in oral copulation with deportation or arrest may be punished with up to 8 years in prison

In the state of California oral copulation is a wobbler which means that it may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. This includes interactions with minors under the age of 18. However, keep in mind that if you are over the age of 21 and the minor is under the age of 16, then you will be charged with a felony. The crimes regarding oral copulation require special attention from a criminal law attorney. If you are being charged with using force or other acts involving oral copulation, you may want to speak with a local attorney to learn how the law applies to your case.

Legal Defense

To learn about the legal defenses that apply to your case, you will want to contact a local attorney who can apply your state laws to your specific case. An attorney may be capable of reducing the charges or dismissing the charges. Most importantly, an attorney will fight to prove your innocence and the facts of your case. A sex crime conviction can result in lifetime registration as a sex offender which is as bad as any jail term or fine that may be placed after a conviction. To avoid the social stigmas involved with sex offenders, you should consider contacting an attorney today. The following will discuss ways in which an attorney can help a general charge under Penal Code 288a.


As mentioned earlier, receiving consent before engaging in a sex act will save you a headache later on if the person wishes to press charges. Individuals that were given consent can prove their innocence by working with a lawyer that can help represent the details of their case. If you were given consent to engage in a sex act a criminal attorney will work to prove your innocence. Keep in mind that an intoxicated person, a person under the age of 18, or a person suffering from a disability cannot legally give consent.

Lack of Evidence

To be charged for a sex crime, there needs to be enough proof that you committed the act. With lack of proof, then it may be difficult for the other party to press charges under Penal Code 288a. The prosecuting party may present proof if there is bruising or if there are witnesses that saw or know of the sex crime. Additionally, polygraph tests can be used to prove either party’s case.

False Accusation

A person can accuse you in a court of law for a variety of reasons including retaliation, jealousy, or anger. For instance, if you and your ex-spouse engage in sexual activities after a separation he or she may later accuse the other out of emotion-driven reasons. In another instance, an intoxicated person may charge someone of wrongdoing based on faulty evidence. For example, if he or she was drunk and all they remember is the color hair of the aggressor then it's a good chance that the person he or she blames is not the right person. Additionally, a person can be falsely accused even when they were not present at the location described by the accuser. If allegations are made against you and you know you have been wrongly accused, it is time to speak with an attorney to make sure your innocence is proven.


One of the worst parts about being accused of a sex crime is that after you complete your prison sentence and you have paid off your fines, you will be required to live as a sex offender. A sex offender in the state of California will live under certain regulations that may limit their freedoms. Living as a sex offender means that you will be required to upload your personal information to the state and federal registry. The registry will display your full name, your address, your vehicle information, your employer information, and other information that involves your personal life. This information can be accessed by anyone that visits the California Megan’s Law Website. Depending on your crime, you can be categorized as a Tier 1 offender which means you will be required to register for the next ten years, Tier 2 offenders must register for the next 20 years, and Tier 3 sex offenders must register for a lifetime. Additionally, as a sex offender, you may not live near areas where children congregate including schools, parks, theme parks, libraries and other areas where children are found. As a sex offender, you may also not participate in Halloween activities or work in a field where children are present. A sex offender will lose many of his or her rights so if you are charged with a sex crime, you may want to speak with an attorney to learn how to challenge the case.

Representation of an Oral Copulation by Force Case by an Attorney Near Me

If you find yourself in the state of California, and you are facing charges for oral copulation or other related sex crimes, you may want to speak with a criminal law expert about your case. A criminal lawyer will help you understand the details of your case, so you can make a sound decision on how to proceed. If you wish to speak with a local attorney, you may contact the Orange County Criminal Lawyer at 714-831-1858. We are ready to represent your case in a United States Courtroom.