Penal Code 288.7 PC | Sexual Acts with a Child Under 10

Understanding California Penal Code 288.7: Sexual Acts with a Child Under 10

California Penal Code 288.7 is a law that makes it illegal for adults age 18 or older to engage in certain sexual acts with children under age 10. This law is meant to protect young children from sexual abuse and exploitation. Violating it can lead to severe penalties, including years or even life in prison.

This article will explain what the law covers, penalties for breaking it, and possible defenses. It also discusses related crimes and sex offender registration requirements.

What Does California Penal Code 288.7 Prohibit?

Penal Code 288.7 has two main sections:

  • Section 288.7(a) makes it a felony for a person 18 or older to engage in sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 or younger. This is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
  • Section 288.7(b) makes it a felony for a person 18 or older to engage in oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 or younger. This is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.

Let’s break these down further:

Sexual Intercourse and Sodomy

Under 288.7(a), it is illegal for an adult to have vaginal or anal intercourse with a child 10 or under. This includes:

  • Vaginal intercourse – an adult penetrating a child’s vagina with their penis
  • Anal intercourse – an adult penetrating a child’s anus with their penis (sodomy)

Oral Copulation and Sexual Penetration

Under 288.7(b), it is illegal for an adult to engage in oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 or under. This includes:

  • Oral copulation – mouth or tongue making contact with the child’s genitals or anus
  • Sexual penetration – penetrating the child’s genital or anal opening with a foreign object, like a finger, sex toy, etc.

No Legal Consent for Children

Importantly, a child under 10 can never legally consent to sexual activity with an adult under this law. Any sexual contact falls under 288.7, even if the child seemingly consented.

Penalties for Violating PC 288.7

Breaking this law leads to severe felony penalties:

  • Violating 288.7(a) – sodomy/intercourse with a child 10 or under – is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
  • Violating 288.7(b) – oral copulation/penetration with a child 10 or under – is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.

Courts have no discretion to reduce these sentences. Anyone convicted under 288.7 will face years or life behind bars.

In addition, they will have to register as a sex offender in California for life under Penal Code 290.

Related Offenses

Penal Code 288.7 is not the only law dealing with sex crimes against minors. Related offenses include:

  • PC 288 – Lewd acts with a child under 14 – This covers lewd touching of children 14 or under, even over clothing, with sexual intent.
  • PC 288a – Oral copulation with a minor – It is illegal for an adult to engage in oral sex with any minor under 18.
  • PC 261.5 – Unlawful sexual intercourse – This covers vaginal sex between an adult and a minor no more than 3 years younger than the adult.
  • PC 288.5 – Continuous sexual abuse – Committing 3 or more lewd acts with a child under 14 over at least a 3 month period.

If you violate multiple laws, prosecutors may charge you with all applicable offenses. This can add up to longer sentences.

Sex Offender Registration

Anyone convicted under PC 288.7 will have to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement. This lasts for life and involves:

  • Providing your name, address, employer, school, and vehicle information
  • Updating the above information annually and whenever it changes
  • Allowing the collection of DNA samples and fingerprints
  • Restrictions on where you can live, work, or volunteer

Failing to register can lead to new criminal charges. Registered sex offenders also face social stigma and limited job opportunities.

Get Legal Help Fighting These Allegations

Facing charges under Penal Code 288.7 can feel overwhelming. But an experienced sex crimes lawyer can thoroughly analyze the accusations and build the strongest defense to protect your rights.

Do not hesitate to seek legal help. An attorney can advise you on constructing the most strategic defense and avoiding the life-changing penalties these charges carry.