Forcible Oral Copulation
Forcible oral copulation is a serious sex crime defined under California Penal Code section 287(a). Forcible oral copulation occurs when a defendant engages in oral copulation with another person through the use of force, fear, duress, or threats. This crime encompasses non-consensual oral sexual acts accomplished through coercion, violence, or intimidation.Elements of Forcible Oral Copulation
To secure a conviction for forcible oral copulation, the prosecution must beyond a reasonable doubt:
Sexual Act: The defendant must have engaged in oral copulation with the victim. Oral copulation involves any contact between the mouth of one person and the sexual organs of another person.
Lack of Consent: The act must have occurred without the victim's voluntary and freely given consent. Lack of consent can result from force, fear, duress, or threats.
Force, Fear, Duress, or Threats: The prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant employed one or more of these elements to compel the victim to engage in oral copulation against their will.Potential Penalties
This crime is never charged as a misdemeanor, and is always charged as a felony. Depending on the specific circumstances and the defendant's criminal history, a conviction can lead to a prison sentence of three, six, or eight years. Convicted individuals may also be subject to substantial fines as determined by the court. In some cases, individuals may be required to serve a period of parole upon release from prison.Collateral Consequences
In addition to the immediate penalties, a conviction for forcible oral copulation carries long-lasting collateral consequences that can significantly impact the defendant's life:
Sex Offender Registration: One of the most severe consequences of a conviction for forcible oral copulation is mandatory registration as a sex offender under California's Megan's Law. Registration typically involves providing personal information, including addresses and photographs, to law enforcement.
Employment and Housing: A sex offender registration can create significant barriers to obtaining employment and housing. Many employers and landlords conduct background checks and may discriminate against individuals with sex offense convictions.Defenses
There are several lines of defense against a charge of forcible oral copulation.
Consent: Arguing that the sexual act was consensual is a fundamental defense. To succeed, the defense must demonstrate that the victim willingly participated in the oral copulation without coercion or fear.
False Accusation: In some cases, individuals may be falsely accused of forcible oral copulation due to misunderstandings, personal vendettas, or other motivations.
Insufficient Evidence: Challenging the prosecution's evidence can be an effective defense strategy. In forcible oral copulation cases, the victim’s testimony is critical. Calling into question the witness’ credibility can lead to a reduction of the charges or a dismissal altogether.
Constitutional Violations: Identifying violations of the defendant's constitutional rights during the arrest, investigation, or trial can result in the suppression of evidence or dismissal of charges.
Forcible oral copulation, as defined in California Penal Code Section 287(a), is a grave offense with severe penalties and life-altering collateral consequences for those convicted. If you have been charged with committing forcible oral copulation, it is critical that you discuss your case immediately with a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut has extensive experience defending clients who are accused of this type of sex crime and has successfully petitioned for clients to be removed from the sex offender registry.
For more information about the criminal justice process, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at (888) 334-6344 or (323) 464-6453.