The state of California harshly prosecutes individuals convicted of sexually molesting a child. Penal Code 288 is one example of a child sex crime charge. It is used to prosecute lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.
Bear in mind that a lewd act does not always require blatant sexual contact. Any act that involves touching a child with sexual intent can lead to a PC 288 accusation. Our team of attorneys at the Simmrin Law Group can help you fight this serious charge.
Lewd Acts With a Child Under 14 Charges
Lewd conduct is always against the law in California. Basic lewd conduct charges are prosecuted under Penal Code 647(a). This charge defines lewd acts as:
- Touching someone for the purposes of sexual arousal
- Making someone touch themselves for sexual arousal
- Making someone touch another person for sexual arousal
PC 288 deals specifically with lewd conduct involving minors under age 14. Lewd conduct does not always involve explicitly sexual acts. In fact, this charge can be levied even if the accused does not touch a sexual organ or touch a minor under their clothes.
Encouraging a minor to perform sexual touching is against the law. Generating your own sexual arousal by touching a minor is also against the law. Attempting to generate arousal in a minor is a crime, even if the accused did not become aroused.
For a free legal consultation with a lewd and lascivious acts with a minor child lawyer serving California, call (310) 928-9347
PC 288 is an example of a child molestation charge in California. Performing a sex act with someone under age 18 is prosecuted as child molestation. Examples of other child molestation charges include:
- Performing oral copulation on a minor
- Sending a minor explicit or obscene material
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child
- Unlawful sex with a minor
All of these are serious offenses in the state of California. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you fight these criminal charges.
California Lewd and Lascivious Acts With a Minor Child Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Penalties for a Conviction Under Penal Code 288
A standard conviction under PC 288 can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to eight years.
However, individuals may face up to 10 years in prison if they use force to commit a lewd act. Individuals who inflict bodily harm could end up spending life in prison. Additionally, all PC 288 violations require an individual to register as a sex offender.
Individuals convicted of a PC 288 violation can also face:
- Consequences affecting immigration
- The removal of any professional licenses they held
- The revocation of their right to own or buy firearms
- A “strike” on their record
California’s Three Strikes Law
California has a “Three Strikes” law. Individuals who have a “strike” on their record face higher penalties if convicted of additional felonies. Individuals convicted of three “strike” felonies face life in prison in California.
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Defenses Against a PC 288 Charge
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you defend your case if you are accused of committing lewd acts with a child. Your lawyer can work to show that:
- Any perceived “lewd” contact was accidental
- You did not intend to create sexual arousal
- You were mistakenly accused of molestation
Contact Was Accidental
Intent is an important factor in convicting someone of a violation of PC 288. If contact with the private areas of a minor was accidental, and not done in an attempt to arouse either party, then the defendant should not be convicted of a criminal offense.
No Intent to Create Sexual Arousal
Even if a defendant does touch the sexual organ of a minor, it does not necessarily mean they are guilty of a violation of PC 288. Sometimes a family member may notice a rash or other irritation on a small child and examine it. While they may touch the sexual organ of the child, it is done for the purpose of evaluating a medical condition rather than for sexual arousal.
Falsely Accused of Molestation
Sometimes, for various reasons, a child may be mistaken about the person who touched them in a sexual manner. This mistake is especially common if the perpetrator was unknown to the child or if the molestation occurred somewhere dark.
In these situations, your sex crimes lawyer can defend your case in court and possibly reduce the charges against you.
Civil Lawsuits for Lewd and Lascivious Acts With a Minor Child
When a person faces a charge under Penal Code Section 288, there is a strong chance they will also face a civil lawsuit. A conviction under PC 288 is not necessary for a victim to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit may be filed even if the defendant was found not guilty of criminal charges or if no charges were ever filed.
The burden of proof for a civil lawsuit is lower than that of a criminal case. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff must only show that the defendant is more likely guilty of the offense than not.
Let Us Help You Fight a Penal Code 288 Charge
Penal Code 288 is a sex crime in California. This charge is used to prosecute lewd acts with a child under 14. This is an example of child molestation. The Simmrin Law Group can help you if you are charged with a sex crime. Find out more by contacting us for a free consultation. You can also complete our online contact form.