In order to convict you of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under California Penal Code Section 288, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements:
- You willfully and lewdly touched any part of a child’s body, or you willfully caused the child to touch your body or the body of someone else
- You committed the act with the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying your lust, passions or sexual desires, or the lust passions or sexual desires of the child, AND
- The child was under the age of 14 at the time of the act
These elements of PC 288 leave room for interpretation, which causes some people to form misconceptions about the crime. Let’s examine three of the most common misconceptions about lewd acts with a minor and explain the truth about them:
The act must have involved penetration to be convicted
The most common misconception regarding the crime of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a minor is that penetration must have occurred to be convicted of this crime. The truth is that you can be convicted under PC 288 regardless if there was penetration.
An element of PC 288 that must be proven in order to convict you is that you touched any part of a child’s body or caused the child to touch your body or someone else’s body. This could include touching the minor’s bare skin or over the clothes.
You had to be sexually aroused by the touching to be convicted under PC 288
One element of PC 288 requires that you committed the act with the intent of sexual arousing or gratifying yourself or the alleged victim. Many people assume this to mean that you or the alleged victim must have been sexually aroused as a result of the incident in order to be convicted. This is not true.
What matters in a PC 288 case is your intent. It does not matter if you or the alleged victim were actually aroused; as long as your intent was sexual arousal or gratification, you could be convicted of committing lewd acts with a minor.
Intent is difficult to prove. Thus, your sex crimes defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich may be able to argue that the touching was accidental and not committed with the intent to satisfy your sexual desires or passions.
You can’t be charged with this crime if 10 years have passed since the alleged incident
Felony sex crimes in California previously had a 10-year statute of limitations. This meant that you could not be charged with an offense if 10 years had passed since the alleged victim’s 18th birthday. However, there are two important exceptions to this prior rule which are now the law in California. These two new laws can extend the 10-year statute of limitations:
- An exception to the statute of limitations allows charges to be filed within one year of when the crime was reported to law enforcement if substantial sexual conduct was involved and there is independent evidence to support the alleged victim’s claims
- A California law that took effect on January 1, 2017 eliminated the statute of limitations. The law applies to crimes committed after that date, as well as crimes where the statute of limitations was in effect prior to Jan. 1, 2017 and had not expired before that date. What this means is that for allegation of violations of Penal Code Section 288 that occurred on or after January 1, 2017 there is no statute of limitations.
Speak to an Experienced Child Molestation Attorney Now
If you or someone you love has been accused of committing lewd or lascivious acts involving a minor, you should contact an experienced child molestation attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled sex crimes defense lawyers have developed a track record of success in sex crimes cases. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich child molestation attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.