In the State of California, Penal Code 288 makes it a crime to touch a child for sexual purposes. This offense typically is referred to as “lewd acts with a minor.” Most cases involve the touching or fondling of a minor’s sexual organ, and this is known as “child molestation.”
The Elements of Penal Code 288
The crime of lewd acts with a minor (child molestation) requires elements of proof. These elements are defined in California Penal Code 288. To be convicted of lewd acts with a minor in California, all the elements listed in Penal Code 288 must be proven.
The elements that must be proven are:
- The defendant touched, on purpose, a child’s body either on the bare skin or through the clothing; or
- The defendant caused, on purpose, the child to touch his/her own body, your body, or someone else’s body, either on the bare skin or through clothing; and
- The defendant committed the act with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of him or herself or of the child; and
- The victim was under the age of 14 years at the time of the touching.
Penalties for Child Molestation in California
If someone is convicted of the felony of child molestation (lewd acts with a minor) in California, under Penal Code 288, he or she could face up to eight years in a California State Prison, if the victim was under the age of 14. If the lewd act was done through the use of force, and this is proven, then the defendant could face up to 10 years in prison. Furthermore, under Penal Code 288, someone who has molested a child three or more times could spend 16 years in prison. It is important to note, any conviction under Penal Code 288 requires a lifetime registry as a sex offender.
Defending a Lewd Acts with a Minor Charge
Sadly, people can be accused falsely of lewd acts with a child in the State of California. Unfortunately, these false accusations can ruin an individual’s life, in every aspect. It is important to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, after being charged with child molestation under California Penal Code 288. A skilled defense lawyer knows how to expose false accusations and to get justice for his or her client. There are several common defenses for a Penal Code 288 charge. One is that the accuser is lying or made a mistake. Perhaps, another adult actually committed the lewd act, and the minor blamed the wrong individual. Sometimes, the alleged victim was encouraged by another party to bring forth the allegation of child molestation. Even still, a person can be charged under Penal Code 288 and the touching occurred accidentally and without intent to cause sexual arousal.