The California Penal Code Section 288 is committed when an individual touches a child on their body for sexual purposes. In essence, the case involves having a child was touched or fondled on their sexual private parts or some other overt act of child molestation occurred.

The following acts are included in the purview of this crime:

• Lewd acts with a minor;
• Lewd acts performed by a caretaker upon a dependent;

The operative act in this crime is touching the child on any part of the body if the touch had “the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of the individual upon a child.”

In order to be convicted of the crime, the following elements need to be proven:

• The accused willfully touched any part of a child’s body or the individual caused a child to touch their body, the accused or another person’s body;
• That such act had the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust, passion or sexual desires of the accused or the child.

There have been instances that individuals have been falsely accused of committing lewd acts with a child. There are many defenses to such charges and in order to do so, there must be investigations conducted into the credibility of the witnesses. Other defenses include:

• Touch was accidental in nature;
• There was no criminal intent in the act;
• The minor is older than fifteen years of age and is less than ten years younger than the accused.

If convicted beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime in a court of law by a jury of peers, then the imposable penalties for this crime is dependent on the following factors:

• The child’s age and the possible age difference between you and the minor;
• The specific facts of the case, such as the employment of force or violence on the child;
• The accused’s criminal history;

The crime can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. For misdemeanor child molestation charges, the penalty is a one year sentence in county jail and a maximum of $1,000 as a fine. If the crime is a felony, then the maximum penalty is eight years in state prison and a maximum of $10,000 fine. Also included as accessory penalties is the registration of the individual as a sex offender under Penal Code 290 PC, medical and psychological treatment, an additional and consecutive five year state prison sentences if bodily injury results from the commission of the offense.

The commission of the crime of lewd acts with a child is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.