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Penal Code 286 PC | Sodomy

Sodomy Laws in California – Penal Code 286 PC

Sodomy, as defined legally in California, refers to a sexual act involving penetration between the penis of one person and the anus of another[1]. While consensual sodomy between adults is legal, California Penal Code 286 PC criminalizes sodomy under certain circumstances, such as when it occurs through the use of force or with a minor.

A sodomy conviction can have severe consequences, including years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration. However, the laws surrounding sodomy in California are complex, and there are defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can use to contest the charges.

What is Sodomy Under California Law?

California Penal Code 286 PC defines sodomy as “sexual conduct consisting of contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another person.” The statute further clarifies that “Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime of sodomy.”[1]

The key elements of sodomy under California law are:

  • Contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another
  • Any degree of anal penetration, no matter how slight

Sodomy does not require ejaculation. The length of time of the contact is also irrelevant. As long as there is evidence of penetration, the legal definition is met.

When is Sodomy a Crime in California?

Sodomy between consenting adults is legal in California. However, there are certain circumstances in which sodomy becomes a criminal offense[2]:

Sodomy with a Minor

  • Penal Code 286(b)(1) – Sodomy with a person under 18 years old
  • Penal Code 286(b)(2) – Sodomy with a person under 16 years old by a defendant over 21
  • Penal Code 286(c)(1) – Sodomy with a person under 14 years old by a defendant more than 10 years older

Minors under 18 are legally unable to consent to sexual activity. Therefore, sodomy with a minor constitutes a crime regardless of whether the minor seemingly consented.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
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Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
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Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
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2024-03-12
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Bee L
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2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
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divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Sodomy by Force or Fear

  • Penal Code 286(c)(2)(A) – Sodomy accomplished against the victim’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace or fear
  • Penal Code 286(c)(2)(B) – Sodomy with a minor under 14 against their will by force, violence, duress, menace or fear
  • Penal Code 286(c)(2)(C) – Sodomy with a minor 14 or 15 against their will by force, violence, duress, menace or fear

Any form of non-consensual sodomy through the use of force, threats, or placing the victim in fear constitutes a crime.

Sodomy of an Incapacitated Person

  • Penal Code 286(f) – Sodomy with a victim who is unconscious or otherwise unable to legally consent
  • Penal Code 286(i) – Sodomy where the victim is prevented from resisting due to intoxication

Engaging in sodomy with someone who is unable to resist or give legal consent due to being unconscious, heavily intoxicated, or mentally incapacitated is illegal.

Sodomy in Detention Facilities

  • Penal Code 286(e) – Any sodomy between inmates in prison or jail

Sodomy between inmates of detention facilities is prohibited, even if seemingly consensual.

Penalties for Sodomy in California

Sodomy laws in California classify the offense as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case[3].

Misdemeanor Sodomy

Sodomy with a minor when charged as a misdemeanor under Penal Code 286(b)(1) carries the following penalties:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000
  • Mandatory counseling
  • Sex offender registration for 10 years

Felony Sodomy

When charged as a felony, sodomy offenses carry stiffer penalties[4]:

  • Sodomy with a minor under 16 – up to 3 years in prison
  • Sodomy with a minor under 14 by a defendant over 10 years older – 3, 6 or 8 years in prison
  • Forcible sodomy – 3, 6 or 8 years in prison
  • Forcible sodomy with a minor under 14 – 9, 11 or 13 years in prison
  • Forcible sodomy with a minor 14 or 15 – 7, 9 or 11 years in prison
  • Sodomy of an unconscious or intoxicated victim – 3, 6 or 8 years in prison
  • Inmate sodomy – 16 months, 2 or 3 years in prison

All felony sodomy convictions require mandatory registration as a sex offender under Penal Code 290.

Defenses to Sodomy Charges

While sodomy charges should always be taken seriously, there are defenses that can be effective in fighting the charges[5]:

  • Lack of penetration – The prosecution must prove anal penetration occurred. A defense focusing on lack of evidence of penetration or contact can defeat a sodomy charge.
  • Consent – Consent is a valid defense to forcible sodomy charges. Evidence showing the alleged victim willingly participated can show lack of force or fear.
  • Mistake of age – For sodomy with a minor charges, the defendant can argue they had a good faith and reasonable belief that the minor was over 18 based on their appearance and/or false statements about their age.
  • False accusations – Especially in custody or divorce cases, false accusations of sodomy occur and can be challenged.
  • Mental incapacity – The defendant can argue they were so extremely intoxicated or mentally ill that they were unable to form the intent to commit sodomy.

Related Offenses

Other sex crimes related to unlawful sodomy include[3]:

  • Rape – Penal Code 261 PC
  • Lewd acts with a minor – Penal Code 288 PC
  • Oral copulation by force – Penal Code 288a PC
  • Sexual penetration by force – Penal Code 289 PC

Consulting an Experienced Sodomy Defense Attorney

Allegations of sodomy should never be ignored. The potential criminal penalties and lifelong stigma of being convicted are too severe. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you of your rights and work to get the charges reduced or dismissed. They can also represent you in court and build an aggressive legal defense to the charges if necessary.

With so much at stake, contacting a defense lawyer promptly for a free case evaluation is critical when facing sodomy ch.arges in California. An attorney may be able to get weak charges dropped early, saving you the stress and expense of a trial. For stronger cases that must go to trial, skilled legal advocacy can make the difference between conviction and exoneration

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RAJESH BARUA

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