Incest Law & Defense
California Penal Code 285
Information on the crime of incest is found at California penal code section 285.
PC 285 Law
Persons being within the degrees of consanguinity within which marriages are declared by law to be incestuous and void, who intermarry with each other, or who being fourteen years of age or older commit fornication or adultery with each other, are guilty of incest.
The law is little confusing but what is basically means is that it is illegal to have marry, or have sexual intercourse with, persons with whom you are related. The degree of relationship is defined below.
To find the defendant guilty of incest pursuant to PC 285, the district attorney must prove all of the following:
- The defendant has sexual intercourse with another person
- When the defendant had sexual intercourse with another person, both the defendant and the other person were at least fourteen years old, and
- The defendant and the other person are related to each other within a certain degree of relationship
Sexual intercourse defined: Sexual intercourse means any penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or genitalia by the penis. Sexual intercourse does not include oral sex, mutual masturbation, sodomy, sexual penetration by foreign object, or sexual touching that does not include penetration by the penis into the vagina. However, crimes other than incest may be covered in these situations depending on the facts of the case.
Degree of blood relationship (consanguinity) proscribe by incest law.
- Blood relationship between a child and parent (father or mother)
- Blood relationship between full siblings (sister and brother)
- Blood relationship between grandparent and grandchild
- Blood relationship between great-grandparent and great-grandchild
- Blood relationship between aunt or uncle to niece or nephew
- Half-blood relationship between siblings (step-sister or step-brother)
- Half-blood relationship between aunt or uncle to niece or nephew
Note: Same sex relationships are also covered under incest law. For example, a sexual intercourse or same sex marriage between blood two full blood brothers is incest.
Non-Incestuous conduct: Sexual relationships or marriage between cousins, adopted siblings, or stepparent and stepchild are not prohibited under incest law in California.
Sentence and punishment for PC 285 (Incest)
PC 285 is classified as a felony. If found guilty of either having sexual intercourse with a related person, or marrying a related person, the defendant may face up to three years in prison.
Probation sentence: Probation, without having to serve a jail or prison sentence, may be available in some cases depending on the egregiousness of the case and the defendant's criminal history. A suspended sentence or a split sentence may also be available. A split sentence is a sentence where the defendant served some part of his or her sentence in custody and the other part out of custody, usually serving a work-release or electronic monitoring sentence.
Sex offender registration: Any conviction of incest pursuant to PC 285 will require the defendant to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life (PC 290).
Firearm Prohibition: If found guilty of PC 285 the defendant will lose his or her right to own or possess a firearm for the rest of his or her life.
Collateral Punishment: In addition to any jail or prison sentence, if found guilty of incest, the defendant may suffer harsh probation or parole terms, penalty fines, restraining orders (from brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.), Child Protection Services (CPS) consequences, immigration and professional licensing consequences, and more.
Defenses to PC 285 (Incest)
The most common defense to incest charges, include: demonstrating the defendant did not know of the relationship degree (mistake of fact), insufficient evidence to prove a sexual relationship occurred, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, police investigation misconduct, lack of jurisdiction to prove where the sexual intercourse took place, intoxication, insanity, and more.
If you or a loved one is charged with incest, or penal code 285, contact our sex crimes defense attorneys today. There is no charge for a consultation and we have successfully defended hundreds of sex crimes, including incest crimes. Call today!
Criminal Defense Attorneys
Incest Defense: PC 285
Free Consultations 24hrs / 7days
Se habla espanol / Abogados de defensa criminal
PC 285: Incest Crimes
- Criminal Threats
- Domestic Violence
- Drunk in Public
- DUI with Injury
- Elder Abuse
- False Personation
- Hit and Run
- Indecent Exposure
- Lewd Acts
- Sexual Battery
- Vehicle Theft
- Welfare Fraud
Criminal Defense Attorneys, Serving
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, Pomona, West Covina, San Dimas, Claremont, City of Industry
San Bernardino County
San Bernardino, Rialto, Colton, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Ontario, Upland, Montclair, Redlands, Victorville, Yucaipa, Hesperia, Highland, Wrightwood
Riverside, Corona, Hemet, Moreno Valley, Palm Springs, Norco, Eastvale, Banning, Beaumont, Perris, Jurupa Valley
Crimes that may be related to incest
- Sexual penetration by foreign object without consent PC 289
- Attempted incest PC 664/285
- Attempted rape PC 664/261
- Child molestation (lewd and lascivious acts on a minor over 14 years of age) PC 288(b)(1)
- Oral copulation without consent PC 288a
- Sodomy without consent PC 286