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Lewd Act on a Minor

California Penal Code section 288 makes it a crime to touch a child somewhere on their body for sexual purposes. Specifically, the code defines the crime via two elements. First, that one willfully touched any part of a child’s body or willfully caused the child to touch his or her own body, your body or another person’s body. Second, that you did so with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passion or sexual desires of you or the child. Although charges typically stem from a child making an accusation that they were touched or fondled sexually, one can be charged even when no touching of a sexual organ occurred.

The Penalties

The penalties prescribed by section 288 depend on the age of the child and the manner the act occurred. For example, if the child is under the age of 14, one could face up to eight years in state prison, along with accumulating a strike in accordance to California’s "three strikes" law. When force was used, the prison term will increase to 10 years, and if there is a pattern of three or more incidents occurring, the prison sentence goes up to 16 years.

If the child is between the ages of 14 and 15 and when the accused is at least 10 years older than the child, the penalty could include up to three years in prison. When the child is between 16 and 17 years old, you could face charges of statutory rape or sexual battery, in addition to prison time.

It should also be noted that Penal Code section 288 will automatically trigger the duty to register as a sex offender. This registration last a lifetime with very limited options for having it lifted.

Your Legal Options

When accused of a California lewd act on a minor charge, you do have options to make a defense. For example, in many cases the accuser is simply lying or mistaken (in that another adult committed the abuse and the child is blaming the wrong person). Often times a third party, such as the child’s parent, will manipulate the child into making an unfounded allegation against you. There are also situations where the action was accidental or that there was no intent.

Your Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

In order to properly defend against your California lewd acts with a child charge and to protect your reputation, career and family, you need to seek the advice of an experienced California sex crimes defense attorney. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman specialize in defending California lewd acts with a child charges. If you or a loved one is facing a lewd act with a child charge, seek the support of an attorney practicing only in criminal defense.

Remember, when your future is on the line, call the Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman at 310.286.1218 for your free initial consultation.

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