It is a crime to touch a child somewhere on their for the purpose of sexual arousal. There are several California laws that are often lumped into a general description of "lewd acts on a minor under 14" or "acts of lewd and lascivious conduct." These cases, the defendant is facing accusations that he/she touched or fondled a sexual organ, or that some act of molestation took place. It's important to note also that one can be charged with lewd acts even if the touching was not on a sexual organ, and if the touching occurred over clothing and not on bare skin.
There are numerous Penal Code allegations regarding sex with a minor:
· 261.5 PC "Statutory Rape" or "Unlawful Sex with a Minor" applied when the defendant engages in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of eighteen.
· 288 PC "Lewd Acts on a minor under 14", which does not necessarily include sexual intercourse
· 289 PC "Forcible Penetration with a Foreign Object" with provisions if the victim is under the age of 14, or between 14 and 17.
The penalties for any of these charges vary depending upon the circumstances of the case. Note also that each charge can compound the total penalty charged against the defendant (they add up), and all charges are considered felonies (a California "three-strikes" law). For instance, if the defendant is charged with PC 288 and the minor is under 14, then the penalty will be up to 8 years of California State Prison. If there was force, then the penalty will be up to 10 years in prison. If there is a pattern - for instance, if there are three or more similar acts - then the defendant can expect up to 16 years of incarceration.
Penalties lessen to up to 3 years in prison if the minor is 14 or 15 years old and the defendant is 10 years older. And it may lessen more if the minor is 16 or 17 years old, in which case the charges would be Statutory Rape or Sexual Battery.
In any case, conviction as a result from any of these charges requires lifetime sex offender registration under Penal Code Section 290. If required to register under this section, you will likely end up on the Internet indicating you as a registered offender.
Your first step should be to call our office to set an appointment so we may educate you regarding sex offender laws and assist you in preparing a defense.
There are several defenses to this charge, including your belief that the minor was not a minor. If you have any reasonable belief that the victim was over 18 years of age, it could be used as a valid defense. All such charges in California will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you are charged with the crime, we advise you not to give any statements either in person or over the telephone to the police, the victim or anyone else, other than your attorney. Personal and telephonic conversations can be recorded and used as evidence against a suspected individual.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull are very experienced in defending sex-related cases, and you should call us if you were or are alleged to have been involved in this offense. These cases are winnable however require a tremendous amount of preparation. Only an active and meaningful investigation by the defense will uncover mitigating circumstances that could significantly change the outcome.
Adam Stull is a former deputy district attorney. He has experience consulting with police officers and opposing counsel. He has spent considerable amount of time prosecuting misdemeanor and felony offenses involving a full range of charges. He can plan a defense and prepare your case in the best way possible, endeavoring to avoid sex offender registration, as well as other serious penalties, that can be imposed by the court.
If you are serious about obtaining a case dismissal or receiving a substantial reduction for your charges, then your next move is obtaining experienced and aggressive legal counsel that will provide you with the best possible outcome.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull has more than 45 years of combined criminal trial experience in Orange County as well as Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Ventura counties. The Law Office of Stull & Stull is based in Laguna Beach, California.