Under Penal Code 287, oral copulation encompasses any contact between one person’s mouth and another person’s sexual organ (penis or vaginal area) or anus. Penetration is not a requirement under this definition. This sexual contact is a crime if it is done without the other party's consent.

Oral copulation by force or fear is classified as a felony. If you or someone you have been accused of violating Penal Code 287, you want to secure the legal counsel of an experienced attorney who has helped many defendants accused of oral copulation by force or fear have a positive outcome from their cases.

At California Criminal Lawyer Group in Anaheim, we are ready to help you fight PC 287 violation charges against you. Contact us today so that we can work on your case.

Understanding Oral Copulation by Force or Fear

Oral copulation by force or fear involves non-consensual contact between one person’s mouth and another person’s sexual organ. This is achieved through violence, physical force, menace, duress, threats, or fear of immediate bodily harm to make the victim consent to the sexual activity.

For example, Job threatens to abduct Joyce’s daughter, Leah, if she does not perform oral sex on him. Here, Job is guilty of oral copulation by force or fear because he wants the oral sex activity achieved by threatening Joyce.

What Must the Prosecutor Prove to Prosecute You for Violation of Penal Code 287?

Some of the elements of a violation of PC 287 include the following:

  • The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was contact between one person's mouth and another person’s anus, regardless of how slight. However, penetration is not required for this element to be met.
  • You are only guilty of violating PC 287 if the oral copulation act is committed without the consent of your victim. One can consent to oral sex, which is done when a person does so freely and voluntarily, fully understanding the nature of the act.

Additionally, consent can be withdrawn during the sexual act, and continuing without it may lead to a charge of "Oral Copulation by Force or Fear." The prosecutor must establish that the sexual activity occurred without the accuser’s consent to charge you with violating Penal Code 287.

For example, Louis and Kate, two university students, engage in oral sex in their dorm. However, after 5 minutes, Kate starts feeling weird and tells Louis she wants them to stop. But he does not listen and continues engaging in oral sex with her forcefully when she tries to struggle off of him.

Here, Louis is guilty of violating PC 287.

  • By Force or fear

The force or fear element encompasses the following:

  1. Duress - which means an implied or direct threat of using violence, force, hardship, retribution, or danger on the victim to make them participate in oral sex against their will.
  2. Menace - which means to threaten or show intention to injure your victim.
  3. Force - which means to use physical strength that overpowers your victim.
  4. A threat of unlawful and immediate bodily injury to your victim if they do not comply with your demand for oral sex.
  5. Threatening to harm or injure your victim's family if they do not comply with your demands.

For example, David tells his classmate Jackie that he will injure her small sister if she does not perform oral sex on him after school and shows her the knife he will use to harm her.

Here, David is guilty of violating PC 287 since he forced Jackie to have oral sex with him through threats.

Oral Copulation of an Unconscious Person

In California, engaging in oral copulation with someone unconscious violates their fundamental rights to autonomy and sexual self-determination.

For example, Sarah, a college student, is lying unconscious due to excessive alcohol consumption after having drinks with her friends at a party. Joe sees her unconscious, takes advantage, and engages in oral sex with her.

Here, Sarah cannot consent to oral sex due to her unconscious state. Therefore, Joe is guilty of oral copulation with an unconscious person.

Oral copulation of an intoxicated person

Intoxication, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or any other substances, can significantly affect an individual's ability to provide consent. Therefore, an intoxicated person may be unable to give informed and voluntary consent.

For example, Ann becomes intoxicated after eating cookies with drugs at a party. Gerald then takes advantage of this to engage in oral sex with her. He will be guilty of oral copulation with an intoxicated person.

Oral copulation of a disabled person

You could be guilty of oral copulation of a disabled person if you:

  • Engage in oral sex with a person who is mentally disabled or has a physical disability that prevents them from understanding what oral sex is and what activities are involved.
  • Know that your victim has a disability that prevents them from consenting.

Penalties for Penal Code 287 Violation

Oral copulation by force or fear is classified as a felony in California. If convicted, the consequences can be severe and life-altering. You could face up to 3, 6, or 8 years in prison upon conviction and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you are guilty of oral copulation of a disabled person, you could face felony probation. However, if your victim is a minor (under 18), a conviction would have you face up to 6.8 or 10 years in prison if the child is 14 years of age or older.

If your victim is under 14, you could serve up to 8, 10, or 12 years in prison.

Oral Copulation by Fear or Force in Concert

When it comes to oral copulation by force or fear, California regulations address not only individual acts but also cases in which there were multiple perpetrators.

  • In Concert

‘In concert’ means multiple perpetrators worked together to commit the offense. In oral copulation by force and fear, participants could be held liable for their involvement in the act even if they did not personally commit every element of the crime.

A conviction could see you face increased penalties even if you just aided the other person in committing oral copulation. The potential prison sentences you could face include the following:

  1. 5, 7, or 9 years in prison if your victim is above 18.
  2. 8, 10, or 12 years if your victim is a child 14 years or older.
  3. 10, 12, or 14 years in prison if your victim is a child under 14.

For example, Robin and Clement convince their classmate Rose to go to a motel room together for a drink. While in the room, Clement holds Rose against her will so that Robin can perform oral sex on her.

Here, Clement did not engage in oral sex with Rose but aided Robin. Clement is guilty of oral copulation by force or fear in concert and is eligible for the penalties that come alongside such an offense.

Sex Offender Registration

Under California statutes, you are required to register as a sex offender upon conviction for the violation of Penal Code 287. Oral copulation by force or fear convictions requires you to register as a Tier 3 sex offender for life.

You will register with the law enforcers of the county or city that you live in. You will also be required to renew the registration within five working days of your birthday every year and each time you relocate to a new home.

This registration is accessible to the public, meaning anyone can access your personal details and criminal history. This access, in turn, can affect your professional life, and where you can live as your future employer or building owner can access these records.

Moral Turpitude and Strike Offense

California's "Three Strikes" law is designed to impose harsher penalties on individuals who commit multiple serious or violent felonies. Oral copulation by force or fear is considered a 'strike offense’ and associated with moral turpitude.

When you are convicted of a strike offense, you could be subject to more severe penalties if you commit the same crime in the future.

Under the three strikes law, you could face double the standard sentence for your current crime if you are convicted of a second strike offense. If convicted of a third strike offense, you could be sentenced to serve 25 years to life in prison, regardless of the nature of the third offense.

Crimes involving moral turpitude are often viewed with a higher degree of social and legal disapproval. Oral copulation by force or fear is generally considered a crime of moral turpitude because it involves non-consensual sexual acts, which are widely condemned.

A conviction for a strike offense could affect your prospects in terms of employability and where you can live. Educational institutions, licensing agencies, and employers may hesitate to hire you if your criminal history includes strike offenses.

Legal Defenses to Penal Code 287 Violation Charges

When facing charges of forced oral copulation, you want to have a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and reputation. Therefore, you must seek the legal counsel of an experienced attorney to help you build defenses that can help dismiss or reduce the charges against you. Some of the common defenses include the following:

False Accusations

Many cases of oral copulation by force or fear are based on false accusations from current or former partners, and they do so due to anger, revenge, and jealousy. You want to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer who will help you prove that you are a victim of false accusations.

Your attorney could help you gather details of your timeline activities on the day or night of the alleged incident. This could help you establish a solid alibi to showcase your innocence and prove that you were in a different location or with others at the time.

There was Consent

You cannot be found guilty of violating Penal Code 287 if the oral sex between you and your accuser was consensual. If you can establish that the plaintiff consented to the oral sex, you could discredit their credibility and dismiss your charges.

The oral sex, however, must have happened between you and another person over 18, and they should also have the mental capacity to provide consent. In California, a child cannot consent to engage in sexual conduct.

Your lawyer must also help you establish that there was no use of force or fear while engaging in the act to strengthen this defense. Some evidence you could gather to prove consent includes text messages, emails, or other forms of communication, such as audio or video messages you might have had with the plaintiff to indicate willingness.

Insufficient Evidence

The burden of proof lies with the prosecution to prove without a reasonable doubt that you violated PC 287. Oral sex rarely shows any physical evidence on the victim, and if there are no witnesses to the act, proving this assault could be difficult.

The prosecution must establish all elements of the crime, including force or fear, lack of consent, and your identity. If any of these elements are adequately proven, it will strengthen the case against you.

Having an alibi that places you elsewhere during the alleged incident could strengthen this defense for your case. Your lawyer should help you scrutinize the facts of the charges against you to gather evidence that the prosecutor has insufficient evidence.

A Case of Mistaken Facts

You could employ this defense if you genuinely thought the plaintiff had consented to have oral sex with you. At times, the other party may have withdrawn their consent without speaking it out, and you continued performing the act on them without knowing that they had withdrawn their consent.

If your victim is over 18, you could use this defense to fight the charges against you. Your lawyer should help you establish evidence that your actions lacked criminal intent and that you genuinely believed the alleged victim had consented to oral copulation.

It is up to the judge and jury to determine whether your belief in consent was reasonable given the circumstances.

For example, Dennis and Bernice have oral sex in their hotel room. Still, after some time, Bernice starts feeling regret for cheating on her husband with Dennis and feels like stopping the act, but she does not inform Dennis about her decision.

Dennis, on the other hand, continues performing oral sex on her. Here, Dennis is not guilty of violating PC 287 because he genuinely believed that Barnice had consented to oral sex.

Improper and Coerced Confessions

Testimonies from a single witness are often considered sufficient for you to be arrested for a case of oral copulation by force of fear. Jurors often view these confessions as solid evidence of guilt, making it challenging for you to counteract the damage caused by a false confession.

However, some of these confessions are obtained through illegal means, such as being intimidated by physical abuse from the prosecution so that they can obtain information from you. If your lawyer can help prove that the confessions and testimonies were obtained illegally, your case can be dismissed.


You are only guilty of oral copulation by force or fear if you knowingly performed oral sex against your victim without their consent. However, in some events, two people engage in oral sex when they are too intoxicated to think it through.

Intoxication brings about bad judgment, and you are not in the right mind to have the intent to have oral sex with another person by inflicting fear or force upon them. Your attorney can use this defense by showing you were highly intoxicated to have any malicious intention towards the alleged victim.

If it is proven that you were indeed intoxicated, you could be entitled to a not guilty verdict under Penal Code 287.

The Statute of Limitations for Oral Copulation By Force or Fear

The statute of limitations is a legal deadline. It stipulates the maximum period after a crime occurs during which criminal charges can be filed against the alleged perpetrator. Once this time frame has passed, the prosecution is generally barred from pursuing charges.

If your victim was under 18 when you committed the crime against them, you can be charged anytime until the victim turns 40.

However, suppose your victim was 18 or older when you committed the crime against them. The statute of limitations allows you to be charged within ten years after a forced oral copulation incident.

If it is established that you are the perpetrator through DNA testing, regardless of your victim’s age, the District Attorney can prosecute you and charge you for violating PC 287 within one year of establishing your identity.

Related Offenses

Some of the sex offenses in California that are related to oral copulation by fear of force and can be charged instead of or along with a violation of Penal Code 287 include the following:

Oral Copulation with a Minor

It is a crime to have oral sex with a minor under Penal Code 288a. Regardless of whether the minor consented to the act, you could face charges for engaging in oral sex with anyone below 18.

Oral copulation with a minor is classified as a wobbler offense under California statutes. You can be charged with the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the offense and your criminal history.

However, if you are over 21 and your victim is under 16, you could be charged with a felony. You could face up to 16 months or eight years in prison if convicted.


Under Penal Code 261, rape is defined as using threats, fraud, or force to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with your victim. In a rape crime, however, there is penetration of the penis into the vagina, unlike in oral copulation.

You can be accused of rape even if the alleged victim is your spouse or partner. You can be accused of rape and oral copulation by force of fear in a case where the allegations are that you engaged in non-consensual sexual acts.

Rape is classified as a felony, and if convicted, you could face 3, 6, or 8 years in prison. You may also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery under Penal Code 243.4 is the non-consensual touching of your victim’s intimate parts of their bodies for sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification.

The prosecutor must prove that you had the intent to satisfy yourself sexually and that you touched your victim without their consent. Sexual battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of a felony, you could face up to four years in prison.

You could be charged with both oral copulation by force or fear and sexual battery, depending on the events of your case, or you could have your charges for Penal Code 287 violation reduced to Penal Code 243.4 violation, which carries a lighter sentence.

Oral Copulation by Force of Fear Civil Lawsuits in California

A victim of oral copulation by force or fear in California has the right to sue you for any damages they might have incurred through an alleged sexual assault.

As long as your victim can prove that you more likely committed the sexual assault on them than not, you may have to compensate them out of pocket for any damages they accrued, and this includes emotional pain, punitive damages, and any suffering they may have gone through.

Some of the damages that you can be sued for include the following:

  • Psychological counseling.
  • Pain.
  • Suffering.
  • Lost wages.
  • Medical bills.
  • Loss of earning capacity.
  • Emotional stress, anxiety, and insomnia.

Find a California Anahiem Criminal Lawyer Near Me

Oral copulation by force or fear is classified as a felony, and a conviction could be detrimental and life-altering. If you or a family member is facing charges for violating Penal Code 287, you want to seek the services of a competent attorney who will help you build solid defenses that will enable you to have the charges dismissed or reduced.

At California Criminal Lawyer Group in Anaheim, we have attorneys ready to take up your case and help you fight the oral copulation by force or fear charges against you. Contact us today at 714-766-0965 so that we can start dealing with your case.