Sex with a Child Under 10
California Penal Code 288.7 a & b PC

California Penal Code 288.7 PC addresses situations where an adult (someone 18 years of age or older) engages in certain sexual acts with a child less than 10 years old.

Although child molestation in general is treated as a very serious crime in California, this section addresses the most serious and most extreme instances of child sexual abuse.Sometimes called a "one strike and you're out" law, a conviction under this section triggers life in prison, even upon a first offense.

We're a criminal defense firm of former cops and former prosecutors dedicated to defending people who have been wrongly accused of this sort of crime. Based on our experience, we've prepared this article.

Penal Code 288.7 (a) - Sodomy or Sexual Intercourse with a Child Under 10
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Penal Code 288.7 section (a) applies to cases where the adult engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy on a child under 10 years of age.

Any sexual penetration of the vagina by the penis, however slight, constitutes "sexual intercourse."

"Sodomy" in California law (defined in Penal Code 286) is sexual conduct consisting of contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another person.1

In neither case is any proof of ejaculation required.2

A conviction under section (a) triggers a sentence of 25 years to life in
state prison. That is, the person must serve 25 years and afterwards would be eligible for parole consideration at a California Board of Parole (Lifer) hearing.

Penal Code 288.7 (b) - Oral Copulation or Penetration on a Child Under 10

Penal Code 288.7 section (a) applies to cases where the adult engages in oral copulation, or sexual penetration with a foreign object, on a child under 10 years of age.

Defined in Penal Code 288a, "Oral copulation" is the act of copulating the mouth of one person with the sexual organ or anus of another person. Any contact, however slight, between the mouth of one person and the sexual organ or anus of another person constitutes oral copulation. Penetration of the mouth, sexual organ or anus is not required, nor is proof of ejaculation is required.3

Defined in Penal Code 289, "Sexual penetration" is the act of causing the penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of any person or causing another person to so penetrate the defendant's or another person's genital or anal opening for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse by any foreign object, substance, instrument, or device, or by any unknown object. The words "foreign object, substance, instrument or device" include any part of the human body, except a sexual organ.4

A conviction under section (b) triggers a sentence of 15 years to life in
state prison. That is, the person must serve 15 years and afterwards would be eligible for parole consideration at a California Board of Parole (Lifer) hearing.

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What to Do If You're Accused...

As you can see, Penal Code 288.7 is one of the most serious-and harshly punished-crimes on the books. Most people convicted of this offense will never see freedom again.

But as with all child sexual abuse statutes, this is an area of criminal law prone to false allegations and wrongful convictions.

Child accusers make false accusations all the time. Sometimes this stems from confusion, or from anger towards the accused, or from manipulation and "coaching" by other adults with their own ulterior motives.

Whatever the situation, a good criminal defense lawyer and private investigator should get working on the case immediately.

Call us for help.
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If you or loved one is charged with Penal Code 288.7 a & b PC sex with a child under 10 and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

For general information about Nevada child sex crimes, see our article on Nevada child sex crimes.


1See Penal Code 286 "(a) 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."

2 See Penal Code 288.7 (a); CALJIC jury instruction 10.59.5

3 See Penal Code 288a; CALJIC Jury Instruction 10.59.6.

4 See Penal Code 289 "forcible acts of sexual penetration with a foreign object"; CALJIC Jury Instruction 10.59.6.

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