A single charge of child sexual abuse can be enough to ruin a life. Whether you are merely facing the accusation or have already gotten arrested, you need to understand the legal penalties you face and what you can do to defend yourself. You need to speak to a Los Angeles child sexual abuse defense attorney.
The Simmrin Law Group knows how to help you. We built our firm on the simple belief that you are innocent until proven guilty. We will listen to your story, take your side, and fight for you and your freedom. Even though the law isn’t on your side, we can help you fight back against your charges.
What Constitutes Child Sexual Abuse in California?
Many people think that only touching a child’s genitals or having sex with a minor counts as sexual abuse. But California law sees it differently. A wide range of actions can count as sex crimes depending on the circumstances, and they all fall under the label of child sexual abuse. This can include:
- Touching your genitals, even through clothing, in the presence of a minor
- Exposing yourself to a minor
- Showing erotic or pornographic materials to a minor
- Intimate contact with a minor that does not necessarily involve the genitals
- Touching a minor’s genitals or having them touch your own genitals
- Any kind of sex act with a minor
This creates a wide net that prosecutors use to convict as many people as possible. For example, even a long hug given by the wrong person under the wrong circumstances can get charged as a form of sexual contact.
For a free legal consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
What Are the Charges for Child Sexual Abuse in Los Angeles?
There are four primary criminal offenses prosecutors use for child sexual abuse cases. They are:
- California Penal Code (CPC) § 288(a), lewd acts with a minor: This is used for a wide range of acts or touching anytime the minor is under the age of 14 or up to 15 if you are at least ten years older.
- CPC § 288.5(a), continuous abuse of a child: This is applied when you get accused of engaging in three or more separate acts of lewd conduct with a minor. The three instances do not have to be previous convictions; any three allegations over the course of three or more months can count. As with lewd acts, this mainly applies to children under 14.
- CPC § 243.4, sexual battery: This charge has no age requirement. In child sex abuse cases, it’s most often used when the minor is a teenager above 14 or older. If there was forced sexual contact but not full intercourse, it is likely to be charged as sexual battery.
- CPC § 647.6, misdemeanor child molestation: This is California’s broadest child sexual abuse law. It applies to any individual who molests or “annoys” a minor if you are motivated by an unusual sexual interest in the minor.
It is possible to get charged with multiple crimes, including other offenses not listed here, or multiple counts of the same offense. But you don’t want to face any of them alone without a child sexual abuse defense lawyer in Los Angeles on your side.
Los Angeles Child Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if Convicted?
Yes. Unfortunately, all the offenses listed above require you to register. Listing yourself on the California sex offender registry can carry serious life-long consequences, especially for crimes related to children. You will find that many of the conveniences and privileges you once had will get revoked after registering.
There’s almost no way to get out of registering as a sex offender unless you successfully defend yourself, pleading to a lesser offense, or through appeal. In general, the best way to avoid getting put on the registry is to show your innocence and fight against the charges brought against you. A Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer can help you beat the charges and avoid registration.
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What Are the Penalties for Child Sexual Abuse in Los Angeles?
The penalties for child sexual abuse in Los Angeles are different for each charge:
- Penalties for lewd acts with a minor carry up to eight years in prison
- Penalties for continuous abuse of a child can result in up to 16 years in a California state prison
- Penalties for sexual battery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony
- Misdemeanor child sexual abuse charges can lead to six months in jail or one year if you used force or abused your authority over the minor
- Felony child sexual abuse charges can result in up to four years in state prison
- Child molestation typically results in one year in county jail
Depending on the severity of your charges, you could face one or a combination of these penalties. Our child sexual abuse defense attorneys in Los Angeles can help you learn about all the legal options available to you for your defense.
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What Other Penalties Can Result From a Child Sexual Abuse Conviction?
Aside from legal penalties and getting put onto the sex offender registry, you could face additional penalties due to your conviction.
Getting convicted as a sexual abuser of children can cause those around you to look at you with disdain and discomfort. You should expect a general level of mistrust from the people you disclose your conviction to.
The social aspect of a child sexual abuse conviction shouldn’t be underestimated. It can be hard to make friends or generally live life properly when you have the weight of a severe crime like child sexual abuse on your permanent record.
Fewer Career Opportunities
Getting convicted with child sexual abuse charges can bar you from many jobs and career opportunities. You won’t be able to:
- Join the military
- Become a teacher or work in a profession involving children
- Become a police officer or work for the government
Your conviction can also result in the termination of your current job. This can lead to a constant state of financial strain and hardship.
No Higher Education
Colleges and universities don’t accept potential students that have sexual crimes on their permanent record. If you’re trying to obtain higher education, a child sexual abuse conviction will make it next to impossible to do so.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Sexual Abuse Charges?
A good child sexual abuse defense lawyer in Los Angeles can use a variety of defenses to fight your case. The right defense will depend on the details of what happened, but some of the strongest ones include:
- False accusation: A parent or teacher can easily misinterpret innocent actions, and children sometimes make mistakes or exaggerate when explaining things that happened. We may be able to build a case that you never abused the child at all.
- No sexual intent: In some of these offenses, intent matters. For example, exposing yourself to a minor because of sexual interest in them counts as molestation, but exposing yourself by accident because they walked in on your changing is not illegal.
- Believed the minor was 18 or older: When the minor is a teenager, you may have a strong defense if you can show evidence that you reasonably thought they were actually a legal adult.
- Violation of rights: If authorities violated your rights in any way, including illegal search or not reading your Miranda rights, some of the evidence against you may be inadmissible.
These are not the only defenses. We start each case with a thorough investigation and use the facts to build the strongest defense possible. Remember, felony sex crimes cannot get expunged from your record. Even misdemeanor sex crimes can stay for a long time and are hard to strike off. A strong defense is the best way to avoid these penalties.
How Can a Child Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles Help Me?
Simmrin Law Group’s Los Angeles child sexual abuse defense lawyers have years of experience defending even the toughest of cases. When we dedicate ourselves to our clients, we help them in many different ways, including:
- Gathering as much information and evidence as possible surrounding the case.
- Talking to witnesses and referring to experts to provide supporting testimony.
- Handling all the communication between you and other parties.
- Representing your best interests in and out of court.
- Looking over all plea bargains and deals to ensure they’re fair to you.
Even if you think you can fight your case on your own, you should still get the help of one of our defense attorneys. The potential penalties you can face aren’t worth the risk. Getting professional legal counsel is more than worth it.
Talk to a Los Angeles Child Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer for Free
A conviction for child sexual abuse can ruin your life, but a good lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed, reduced to a less serious charge, or even win it outright. The Simmrin Law Group is here to help. Let us give you a free consultation. Fill out our online form today or call us to schedule an appointment.