Sexual offenses attract serious legal consequences, including incarceration after the presiding judge finds you guilty. Among these sexual offenses is committing oral copulation by force or fear, which attracts felony penalties for convicted suspects. Upon facing arrest and receiving a trial date, you want to contact your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help you prepare strong counterarguments to raise during the trial period. When choosing a defense attorney, you should ensure they are skilled and have years of experience handling cases similar to yours to increase the chances of a successful case outcome.
At Chula Vista Criminal Attorney, you will work with some of the best defense attorneys ready to take on your case and develop useful defenses. Thanks to our skill and experience in handling criminal defense cases, you can expect reliable and quality services. Your attorney will customize their services to meet your unique case circumstances. Our team is ready to help anyone facing oral copulation by force or fear charges in Chula Vista, California, by representing them in court, sourcing evidence, and strengthening their defense arguments.
What Oral Copulation By Force or Fear Entails
Committing oral copulation by force or fear is defined under Section 287 of the Penal Code as making forceful sexual contact between a person’s mouth and the offender’s sexual organs. As a sexual offense, it attracts varying penalties based on each case's circumstances. Hence, an arrested suspect may face misdemeanor or felony punishment, especially if the victim of the offense was a vulnerable member of society.
The offense can also encompass different elements of crime based on the targeted victim. For example, suppose you face arrest for targeting a disabled person or an intoxicated party. In that case, the prosecutor should develop their arguments to prove the specific accusations you will be facing.
Overall, oral copulation by force or fear must encompass all elements of the crime as elaborated in the penal code. The prosecution team handling your case understands this and will use the details to establish the extent to which you can be held criminally liable for the offense.
Elements of Crime for the Prosecutor to Prove
Criminal trials follow specific regulations that distinguish them from civil cases, making it important to understand the elements of the crime for the charges you face. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the burden of proof to establish your criminal liability and to demonstrate the actions pointing toward your criminal involvement.
Thus, your criminal defense attorney should guide you on the different factors to identify as the prosecutor presents their case in court. The burden of proof also holds the prosecution team to a high standard, requiring them to establish that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on the legal expectations, the following are the main elements of the crime:
Your Sexual Organ Made Contact With the Victim’s Mouth
Firstly, the prosecutor must establish that your sexual organ touched the victim’s mouth, resulting in a sexual assault act. In doing so, the prosecutor does not need to prove that the sexual organ fully penetrated the victim’s mouth. Courts have accepted evidence to demonstrate even the slightest touch, provided the defendant orchestrated it with sexual intentions.
Evidential sources that the prosecutor may rely on include witness statements from the victim and direct testimonies from anyone at the scene as you undertook the actions. Further, any police reports and DNA test results showing physical contact with the victim are also relevant.
Since the prosecutor’s goal is to ensure the provided strong and persuasive evidential sources, you must establish that they lawfully sourced all details. Further, any statements from the prosecution team should be truthful to promote a fair trial process. If you strongly believe that the events presented by the prosecutor are inaccurate, inform your defense attorney as soon as possible to allow them to raise the issue on time.
You Lacked Consent from the Victim
Establishing whether parties consented to sexual activities is critical in any sex crime trial, mainly because it can determine whether the accused is innocent or guilty. The prosecution team sources all available evidence to demonstrate that the victim did not consent to the actions they faced.
The strategy is useful for them because it justifies the current suit, but they may source detrimental information for your case. Therefore, you need to understand the elements of consent and how the prosecutor will likely present them during the trial.
Firstly, consent entails a voluntary agreement to participate in sexual activity, and both parties should establish it before proceeding. Consent cannot exist if one party faces coercion or threats to participate, so the prosecutor will focus on demonstrating that you forced yourself on the victim.
Additionally, you should note that consent can be withdrawn at any time during the act, making it easy for the prosecution team to introduce new dynamics into the case. For example, if you and the alleged victim started consensually, but they later refused to continue participating in the oral copulation, they can rightfully file a claim. Your defense attorney should work on countering the argument and possibly adjusting your defense arguments.
Moreover, the prosecutor’s argument may be valid even if you and the victim were a couple through marriage or dating. The rationale for this is that, although you may have an existing relationship, sexual abuse as a criminal offense still attracts the liability to protect victims. The prosecutor may aim to demonstrate that you engaged in abusive behavior despite the existing relationship.
Additionally, the prosecutor may still succeed in their argument even if the victim requested you to use protection. Making this request does not necessarily equate to consent, so you cannot rely on the victim’s request as a defense.
Based on these variables, you want to work closely with your defense attorney to counter the prosecutor’s case. Doing so can prove that you genuinely believed they had consent, resulting in a potential acquittal or sentence reduction.
You Used Forceful Means to Commit the Oral Copulation
Lastly, the prosecutor must establish that you used force or fear to make the victim participate in oral copulation. Proving this element will build on the lack of consent, further helping the prosecutor to demonstrate your involvement in the crime.
Usually, different case circumstances involve varying tactics defendants use to induce force or fear. Understanding these variables can help you understand the possible defenses to apply depending on the accusations you face.
For example, the prosecutor may have recorded force as your main tactic to gain access to the victim. Force often entails physically overpowering the targeted person by holding them down or pushing their bodies towards you to prevent them from escaping. Thus, the prosecution team should produce evidence to demonstrate elements of force and how your actions overpowered the victim.
Alternatively, your charges may include using violence to engage in oral copulation with the victim. A violent action involves inflicting physical abuse on the victim, often causing injury. For example, punching, slapping, or hitting the victim with an object to scare them into accepting your demands is a form of force or fear.
The prosecutor may also aim to demonstrate that you used menacing actions against the victim as coercion. Examples of these actions include making threats or taking any other action showing your intention to harm the victim if they fail to comply with your demands. For example, brandishing a gun at the victim can be a menace, further demonstrating your use of fear to engage the victim in oral copulation.
Manipulative tactics like applying duress to the victim aim to induce fear, making them more likely to agree to engage in sexual actions. Duress often involves implied threats of violence and harm to immediate persons known to the victim to induce fear.
The prosecutor’s case presentation should therefore include any of these factors when proving the element of the force of fear for the judge to accept their arguments against you. Since case circumstances vary, one case may encompass two or more forms of inducing force or fear in the victim. If so, the prosecutor must provide evidence for all accusations made to ensure they prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Forced Oral Copulation With a Disabled Person
On top of the main elements of the offense, the prosecutor should introduce and prove specific elements if the victim is a disabled person. Doing so is necessary because it demonstrates that the party was a vulnerable member of society who suffered abuse with little chance of defending themselves.
The prosecutor, therefore, aims to demonstrate further that the victim had a developmental, mental, or physical impairment, resulting in their classification as a disabled person. To prove this, the prosecutor can provide medical records or request the victim present themselves in court for the judge to observe or question them about their credibility.
Committing Forced Oral Copulation With an Intoxicated Person
Similarly, an intoxicated person falls within a special category of persons because of their impaired ability to perceive the world around them correctly. Further, because the person is intoxicated, they are less likely to defend themselves or refuse to participate, making the case different than that involving a normal adult.
Due to this, the prosecutor may file a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor one because the factors are often aggravated. They include:
The Victim Was Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Firstly, the prosecutor should demonstrate that the victim was under the influence of drugs and alcohol by providing BAC or blood sample results. Witness statements or testimonies are also common to provide information on the victim’s state of mind. Additionally, the prosecutor can show that due to the victim’s circumstances, they were vulnerable to abuse, justifying the charges you face.
You Were Aware of the Victim’s State
Secondly, the prosecutor should show that you knew the victim’s state of mind, further driving you to commit sexual abuse against them. For example, if the evidence demonstrates that you were with the victim as they consumed drugs or alcohol and later committed the offense, you will be answerable for the charges. You can expect the prosecution team to present any evidence to show that you knew the victim was intoxicated.
You Took Advantage of the Victim’s Circumstances to Commit the Offense
Lastly, the prosecution team should show that you used the victim’s vulnerability against them, forcing them to engage in oral copulation. The case circumstances may vary depending on the location where the offense occurred, among other factors. Since each case is unique, your defense attorney will help you track the events involving your case to prepare your defense.
Oral Copulation Against an Unconscious Person
Sexual abuse is also common against an unconscious person, warranting the prosecutor to vary elements of the crime to accommodate it. After demonstrating the main elements of the above crime, the prosecution team can also include evidence to show that the victim was unconscious when you allegedly committed the offense.
Notably, being unconscious does not necessarily mean being unable to respond to your environment in typical terms. It may also apply if the victim was asleep or was tricked into engaging in the actions. Moreover, being unconscious may also mean that the victim, while awake, could not understand what was happening to them due to different factors. These include being blindfolded or drugged.
Defenses Applicable to the Offense
After the prosecutor’s presentation, your defense attorney can present the defenses applicable to your charges. Their presentation should reflect an account of the events as you remember them and any pointers to contradictions in the prosecutor’s case.
You can also use the defense hearing to cross-examine the victim or other main witnesses. In doing so, you can further bring out inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case to cast reasonable doubt on their presentation. The tactic can be useful in increasing your chances of an acquittal or a reduced sentence because of the strict standard of proof applicable to the prosecutor’s case.
Some defenses to consider include the following:
There was Consent Between You and the Alleged Victim
As discussed, consent is an essential factor that may work to your advantage or detriment in a sexual abuse case. As a defendant, your goal is to demonstrate that the complainant consented to the actions in question, meaning that your current charges are unfair.
Proving the existence of consent requires you to have persuasive evidential sources that show you genuinely believed to have had consent. For example, you want to provide any proof of verbal or written consent through texts, phone calls, voice message recordings, or any other electronic records where the victim accepted to participate. By presenting these sources to court, your defense attorney aims to prove that you acted out of a genuine and mutual understanding.
Although you may present persuasive sources, the element of withdrawn consent may still prevent you from fully justifying your actions. Nevertheless, your attorney can argue that you stopped the oral copulation immediately after the alleged victim withdrew their consent.
Accompanying the argument with sources of proof is important, as it will help build your credibility. Some sources of proof to support your statements may come from the prosecution's witness statements and testimonies, especially if they elaborate that you withdrew from the acts after some time. You can justify your credibility by identifying and reminding the court of these statements.
You Face False Accusations
False accusations are also common, especially when a party makes them maliciously. Your defense can then aim to demonstrate that the complainant made false accusations, mainly by providing an alibi to support your non-involvement.
Alibis are statements to present in court that demonstrate you were not at the place and time that the victim claims the action occurred. For example, if the victim claimed that you forced yourself on them at a party, you can produce evidence to show that you were absent from the event, making it impossible for you to have been the offender.
Countering the prosecutor’s arguments requires you to have sufficient evidence to contradict them, including your exact location at the alleged time of committing the crime. If you can successfully prove the important points, you increase your chances of an acquittal.
No Contact Was Made Between the Victim’s Mouth and Your Sexual Organ
You can also raise a defense based on technicalities to challenge the elements of the crime that the prosecutor presents. By arguing that you did not make contact with the victim’s mouth, you will technically not have committed oral copulation, making the entire case void.
However, if you present this defense in court, you must provide clear and persuasive evidence of your actions with the victim. In doing so, you clear any doubts the presiding judge or jury may have regarding your case.
Additionally, you can present evidence to demonstrate the unlikelihood of having committed forced oral copulation based on the location that you and the alleged victim were in. For example, if you were in public, it would be very unlikely that the action occurred because third parties can identify and stop any perceived sexual abuse.
The defense requires you to have strong arguing points that do not contradict any other defense you may have presented while still proving that you did not engage the victim in oral copulation.
Penalties for Committing Oral Copulation by Force or Fear
After you present your defenses, the presiding judge and jury should establish whether your arguments cast reasonable doubt on the prosecutor’s case. Since the prosecutor’s goal is to prove your involvement in the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge should establish whether all elements were well proven.
If the prosecutor’s argument meets all requirements, you will face criminal penalties that may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Oral copulation using force or fear attracts felony penalties depending on the targeted victim. Some variations include:
Committing Oral Copulation With a Minor
If the victim in your case were a minor, the judge would likely issue a prison sentence ranging between six, eight, and ten years if the minor was fourteen or older. However, if the minor is below fourteen, the sentence is harsher and may attract an eight-, ten-, or twelve-year prison sentence.
Committing Oral Copulation With a Disabled Person
If your offender targeted a disabled person, you also risk attracting a lengthy sentence, ranging between three, six, and eight years in state prison. The judge may also order you to pay a $10,000 fine on top of the prison sentence, but they can vary the orders based on your case circumstances.
Committing Oral Copulation to an Adult
Further, if your case circumstances reveal that you used force or fear against your victim, the judge can adjust your sentence depending on the victim. If your victim is above eighteen, you will face five, seven, or nine years in state prison.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Oral copulation by force or fear is a serious sexual offense that may attract felony penalties unless your defense argument is persuasive enough to result in an acquittal. Therefore, working with a criminal defense attorney is the best alternative to equipping you with the necessary legal assistance.
Your criminal defense attorney should have sufficient information on the case they are about to handle to ensure you receive quality services that promote your chances of a successful case outcome. Further, your attorney will help you conduct more in-depth research and analysis on the evidential sources you find to establish what is best to present in court.
At Chula Vista Criminal Attorney, we work towards providing legal advice and representation as you face oral copulation by force or fear charges. Regardless of the case outcome, we aim to walk you through the entire trial process. Throughout the procedures, your legal representative will update you on the progress of the case to ensure you can anticipate the various court demands and outcomes.
By partnering with us, you also have round-the-clock access to your attorney for support beyond court representation as we develop and improve criminal defenses. If you or a loved one requires criminal defense services in Chula Vista, California, contact us at 619-877-6894.