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Sodomy Crimes (PC 286) in California- IE-Criminal Defense

I. California Penal Code 286(a): Sodomy of a minor


Legal Definition: Sodomy is sexual conduct consisting of contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another person. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime of sodomy. Sodomy by itself is not illegal in California. Only sodomy without consent, sodomy by force, or sodomy with a minor, is a crimes. Minors, or persons under the age of eighteen, do not have the legal capacity to consent.

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 286(a)(b)1, the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. You commit the act of sodomy with another person; AND
  2. The other person was under the age of 18 when the act was committed.

II. What does this mean?


This is the most basic form of the charge of Sodomy when it involves a minor. It simply means that a person who commits sexual penetration on a person who is under the age of 18, has committed the crime of sodomy.

III. Penalties


If you are convicted of a violation of PC 286(b)1, you could face anywhere up to one year in county jail (if convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this) or anywhere from sixteen months, two or three years in state prison. For any conviction under this section, you would serve 50% of your actual sentence. You would be required to register as a Sex Offender for 10 years as a Tier 1 Offender. This is one of the rare offenses under PC 286 where the crime is considered a “wobbler” offense. A wobbler offense is one that, based on certain mitigating or aggravating facts, can be charged as a misdemeanor offense, or a felony offense.

However, under PC 286(b)2, if you are over the age of 21 years old, and the other party is under the age of 16, then the crime is not a wobbler offense, but instead, a straight felony. Here, you could face up to sixteen months, two years, or three years in State Prison, in the addition to the above Registration requirements.

Further, under PC 286(c)(1), if the other party is under 14 years old, and you are 10 years or older than them, then you could be punished for upward of 3, 6, or 8 years in State Prison.

IV. Other relevant violations under this section


1. PC 286(c)(1)(A)

Legal Definition: If the act of sodomy is not done with a minor, but is done without consent from the other party, it would be considered a felony under this section. This section requires the act to be done with force or fear of the other party.

Penalties: If you are convicted of a violation of PC 288(c)(1)(A), you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 3, 6, or 8 years where you must serve 85% of that sentence in a State Prison, not a local county jail. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender for 30 years as a Tier III offender. This would also be considered a serious or violent felony in California, and count as a strike under California’s Three Strike Law.

2. PC 286(c)(2)(B)

Legal Definition: If the act of sodomy is done against a minor under the age of 14, and also done with force or fear, then you could be subject to a much more harsh penalty.

Penalties: If you are convicted of a violation of PC 286(c)(2)(B), you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 9, 11, or 13 years where you must serve 85% of that sentence in a State Prison, not a local county jail. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender for 30 years as a Tier III offender. This is also considered a serious and violent felony under California Law, and you would also receive a Strike on your record under the Three Strikes Law.

3. PC 286(c)(2)(C)

Legal Definition: If you perform an act of sodomy against a minor who is 14 years or older, and you do so with force or fear, you could also be dealing with a harsh penalty.

Penalties: If you are convicted of a violation of PC 286(c)(2)(C), you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 7, 9, or 11 years where you must serve 85% of that sentence in a State Prison, not a local county jail. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender for 30 years as a Tier III offender. This is also considered a serious and violent felony under California Law, and you would also receive a Strike on your record under the Three Strikes Law.

4.PC 286(f)

Legal Definition: If the act of sodomy is committed against an adult, but that adult is unconscious of the activity occurring, then you could also be convicted of a felony.

Penalties: If you are convicted of a violation of PC 286(f), you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 3, 6, or 8 years where you must serve 85% of that sentence in a State Prison, not a local county jail. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender for 10 years as a Tier I offender. This is also considered a serious and violent felony under California Law, and you would also receive a Strike on your record under the Three Strikes Law.

V. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Reasonable Mistake as to Age
  4. Violation of your Rights
  5. False Accusations
  6. Coerced Confessions

Using the common defense of a mistaken belief as to the victim’s age is important. Understand that the good faith belief must in fact be reasonable. If it is clear that you are speaking to a 12-year-old child. then you cannot later claim you did not know their age. Further, if age is ever discussed between you and the minor, then know that will come up, and you will be convicted of knowingly engaging in Sodomy with a minor. 

VI. Call Today


Violations of law under PC 286(a)  are very serious. As stated above, sodomy is not, by itself, a crime. Certain factors must be added to the act itself to vitiate a crime. Typically these cases involve an underage person, and an adult, engaging in the consensual act of sodomy. This only becomes a crime because of the age of the minor at the time of the act.

The one benefit to these types of charges is that they are not hopeless. Let’s say you meet a person on a dating site like Tinder, and they say they’re 19 years old, and in college. You, being 20, find interest in them, and you two decide to go out for a few dates together. At some point, the date progresses, and you have anal, as well as vaginal sex. Then, her parents find out who you are, and let you know that their daughter is only 17 and in high school. This would be a violation of the Sodomy crime, but if you have a good faith belief that she was actually 19 at the time of your act, which you can show through her dating profile, text messages, and what other words she said to you, then you can defend against this crime, and I have done this many times over the years. You need an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to fight for you, keep you out of jail, and to avoid your name appearing on Megan’s Law Website. I have helped hundreds of people accused of sex crimes throughout Southern California, and I will help you or your loved one too. Our PC 286 Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases and personally specializes in all Sex Crimes including PC 286. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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