A Brief on Sodomy 1st degree

what is sodomy 1st degree

In the United States, Sodomy laws, which banned a range of sexual behaviors, were acquired from colonial legislation in the 17th century. In contrast, many regulations targeted sexual actions between people of the same sex. Many used definitions that were wide enough to include sexual acts between people of different genders and, in some circumstances, even acts between married people.

There are three degrees of sodomy, out of which the first degree of sodomy is the most severe one.

Sodomy in the first degree is committed when one person participates in deviant sexual intercourse with another or causes another to indulge in such sexual intercourse if:

  • The victim cannot agree due to a mental disability, mental incapacity, or physical helplessness.
  • The victim is under the age of 16 and is the perpetrator’s full-blooded or half-blooded brother or sister, the perpetrator’s son or daughter, spouse’s son or daughter.
  • The victim is a child under the age of 12.
  • The victim is subjugated to the perpetrator’s coercive compulsion.

If a person is 16 years or older and engages in deviant sexual intercourse with another person who is less than 16 but more than 12 years old, he or she commits sodomy in the second degree. 

When a person is twenty-one years old or older and gets involved in deviant sexual activity with a person under 17 years old, he or she is convicted of sodomy in the third degree. 

Three ways in which sodomy first degree is committed

  1. The first way in which sodomy first degree is committed is Forcible Compulsion—a person is forced to participate in aberrant sexual intercourse with another person. 

Sodomy first degree also occurs when someone is forced to be involved in oral or anal sex due to an express or implied threat of impending death or serious physical injury to another person.

  1. The second way Sodomy is first degree is when the victim cannot consent since they are mentally or physically incapable.

So, the sodomy second way happens when someone participates in oral or anal intercourse with someone who is physically incapable or intellectually handicapped and thus unable to consent. A person in a wheelchair or bound would, for example, be physically incapable.

A person can get rendered mentally impaired if they were given a narcotic or stimulating substance without their consent, rendering them temporarily unable to control their actions. Many date rape medications result in both sodomy and rape accusations. 

Bill Cosby has been charged with date rape for reportedly slipping narcotic chemicals into the beverages of multiple women, which is the most classic example of date rape allegations.

  1. The third way in which Sodomy first degree is committed is when there is deviant sexual interaction with a person under the age of 12 years old and the perpetrator is 16 years old or older.

If a 17-year-old caretaker has oral sex with an 11-year-old boy she is taking care of; she has perpetrated sodomy. 

Similarly, if an 87-year-old man had oral sex with a child under 12, he would be charged with this offense.

Defenses to sodomy first degree?

The defense in any criminal case is based on a mix of indisputable facts, contentious problems, and legal issues.

There is a range of defenses that are frequently used in sodomy trials. The nature of the sodomy accusation often determines the defense plan.

Defense in cases of Forcible Sodomy

One of the most popular defenses in cases of forceful sodomy is that consent was given. The defendant may say that there was sexual behavior between the parties but that it was entirely voluntary. The charges of force are untrue and driven by revenge, the woman’s regret, or retribution if the man has been involved with another woman.

While identification can be a fair defensive strategy, it isn’t brought up very often. This defense is another way of saying, “I didn’t do it.” The accused, in this case, does not deny the crime; instead, they claim that they were not accountable for a crime that did occur. 

This argument is frequently used in conjunction with an alibi defense to show that the accused was in another location or was incapacitated from committing the crime. Sometimes the question of misidentification is invoked in this line of defense.

Defense in the case of physically or mentally helpless sodomy

A person’s physical or mental incapacitation can come up in cases of first-degree sodomy. 

For example, in a case, it was stated that a lady was inebriated and then involved in sexual behavior with a male. The question arose whether the woman was sufficiently inebriated that she couldn’t provide consent. The prosecutor stated that she was so inebriated that she couldn’t consent since she got unconscious. 

Even after waking up, the lady was unconscious, and based on her remarks at that time; it was found that she was freely engaged in sexual conduct. So, the charges against the male were later dropped.

Penalty and punishment for sodomy first degree

If the offense involves a child under the age of 12, the minimum term is 20 years in prison, and if the criminal was in the victim’s age group of six years, the minimum sentence is life without parole. A fine of up to $60,000 could be imposed for this crime.

Anyone convicted of this sex crime will get subjected to sexual offender registration and notification legislation. This legislation would make it mandatory for a person to be listed as a sexual offender and make their conviction public. A person subjected to this law must adhere to its provisions, and failure to do so may result in further costs.


If a person has deviant sexual intercourse with some other person who is disabled, incompetent of consent, or cannot consent, or by the use of coercive compulsion, he or she commits Sodomy in the First Degree. 

Sodomy in the First Degree is punishable by life in prison or not less than five years (unless the offense is an aggravated felony, in which case the minimum sentence is 20 years) if the defendant is a chronic or predatory sexual offender and the victim is under the age of 12 years.


What is meant by first sodomy?

Sodomy first happens when someone participates in oral or anal intercourse with someone who is physically incapable or mentally disabled and thus unable to consent.

What happens if you get charged with 1st degree of sodomy?

If you are convicted of first-degree sodomy, you will get sentenced to life in prison or a minimum of five years in jail. If the charges are more serious, you might face life in prison or a minimum of 10 years in prison.

What happens if you get charged with second-degree sodomy?

Second-degree sodomy carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison or one year in jail. Fines of up to $10,000 could get imposed on anyone found guilty.

What are the different degrees of Sodomy, and under what class of felony do they come in?

There are 3 degrees of sodomy which are:
1st-degree sodomy – Class A felony.
2nd-degree sodomy – Class C felony.
3rd-degree sodomy – Class D felony.