Understanding the State of California's Penal Code Section 286 Sodomy Laws. | Temecula & Murrieta Criminal Defense Attorney

Legal Definition

According to the California Penal Code Section 286a, sodomy is "sexual contact consisting of contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another person". Both anal sex and anal copulation refer to sodomy.

When Sodomy is Illegal

In California, sodomy is legal between consenting adults (over the age of 18). Anal copulation becomes a criminal issue when a person participates in sodomy with a minor, or if "the act is accomplished against the victim's will by means of force." Making verbal or written threats "to retaliate in the future" against a person in order to sodomize them is illegal according to the state's penal code. An act of sodomy with a person who is unconscious or otherwise unaware of what's going on is also a criminal offense, as well as any act of sodomy with a person who cannot resist because of intoxication, or if the person has a mental disorder or any physical disability that makes it impossible for them to consent legally. Helping someone to commit an act of sodomy against the victim's will is also illegal, as well committing an act of sodomy while incarcerated in state prison.

Keep in mind that any sex crime conviction in the state of California will result in lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Determining Whether an Illegal Act of Sodomy is a Misdemeanor or Felony

A sodomy violation can either be classified as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Misdemeanor sodomy violations incur jail time of up to one year, a fine of up $1,000, and probation requirements. Felony sodomy violations are more complicated and typically harsher — ranging from three to thirteen years of jail time, a maximum fine of $10,000, and stiffer probation requirements. Felony violations depend on the severity of the case and the age of the victim compared to the age of the accused.

Each case is different and to understand the best way to defend yourself against a sodomy violation requires a thorough understanding of your particular case. If you have been charged with a Penal Code 286 sodomy violation in Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee, Hemet, Banning, Corona, Winchester or Riverside, it's important that you obtain the assistance of an effective and experienced criminal defense attorney. Call my office immediately at (951) 842-2347 to schedule a free consultation directly with me.

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