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Oral Copulation by Force – California Penal Code Section 288(a)

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Feb 20, 2018

When it comes to sex crimes, the prosecutors and police are very harsh and tend to jump to conclusions about whether or not a particular person is guilty of the offense they are investigating.

Oral copulation by force is typically charged with other offenses centering around somebody forcibly causing a victim to copulate them or do some other act orally.

The force element is the biggest problem with these crimes as far as penalties go and how the police, prosecutors, and judges treat them.

Anytime anybody is being forced to engage in some sexual activity, the police and prosecutors will deal with these cases in a very harsh manner and seek lengthy prison sentences, sex registration, and a whole host of other penalties.

If you're charged with some oral copulation by force crime, you mustn't speak to the authorities.  Get in front of an attorney who has handled these cases before, has been down this path, and can effectively guide you through this type of serious offense.

The critical thing to decide, in my opinion, having done these types of cases over the last twenty-five years, is what type of defense strategy you are going to have dealt with the issue.

Developing a Defense Strategy

It's essential at the outset of a case to sit down with somebody who has been doing this a long time, give them all the facts, don't put a spin on things, be honest about what happened, and then decide okay, where are we going to go from here.

Are we going to vehemently fight this case and do everything we can to get it dismissed or go in front of a jury and get a not guilty verdict?

Of course, if you're innocent, then that's precisely what you should do.  Suppose you're not clear, though, and attempt to do that, and the government has evidence against you. In that case, you're going to be treated much more harshly than if you had worked out some resolution or negotiated a plea bargain with them.

If, on the other hand, you realize the police and prosecutors have the evidence to prove you guilty of oral copulation by force – Penal Code Section 288(a), your best strategy is to figure out how you can mitigate the situation and do some damage control.

That's where your criminal defense attorney comes in to put you in a position to get the best possible resolution.  When I deal with these cases, we'll do a 288.1 report that assesses whether or not my client will be a recidivist and become involved in this type of behavior again.

It also assesses the danger to the public and considers him a person to hopefully show that this was an aberration and it will never happen again.

When you have an expert – a doctor – writing that and putting reasons why now you've put yourself in a position to hopefully avoid prison and work out some lesser charge that's not a strike and does not come with all of the dire ramifications that oral copulation by force does.

Other things that we do is we will get character letters from people who know you – family, friends, your job.

They don't necessarily have to be told why they're giving a character letter. Still, just the fact that these people love you, respect you, and can speak well of you will be something that the judges and prosecutors will consider when deciding how they will handle your case.

So, several different strategies can be utilized, and it's not a cookie-cutter approach.

You're going to use the strategy that makes sense for you and your circumstances – for the person you are, for the alleged crime that you have been accused of committing – and they're also going to look at your background and whether you have any prior criminal record and any prior criminal record for sex offenses.

What are the Legal Defenses?

All sorts of defenses apply to oral copulation by force and any sex crime charged in Los Angeles or anywhere in California.  In these types of cases, the reason will spin around what happened in the incident that led to you being arrested and charged with this serious crime.

If the other party is making something up because they're angry with you for some reason or they're trying to gain some advantage against you, obviously we're going to have to show that because that would show a motive for them to lie and be biased against you and make up these charges against you.

Suppose the other party has somehow got themselves intoxicated, and they can't even remember what the heck happened and cannot consent to any behavior related to this offense. In that case, this can also be a defense.

The key is getting your version of events and then assessing your performance of events and seeing whether or not that amounts to a defense.  If it does amount to defense, then we litigate the case, file motions, investigate, and ultimately, we're going to have to go to court and challenge the evidence against you, the witnesses, and try and get that not guilty verdict.

On the other hand, if they've got the goods against you, you can still use some defenses and your version of events to try to mitigate things, get a lesser charge, and do damage control in these types of cases.

The critical thing to do, to begin with, is to take a step-by-step approach.  Get in front of an attorney who knows what they're doing.  Be honest with them.

Give him all the information and let them guide you through a sometimes-difficult situation and figure out exactly what your best defense is, what your best position is, and set about getting your case resolved as quickly as possible and with the minor damage to your reputation, your record, your freedom, and your life.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

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