Under California Penal Code section 288, a charge of committing a lewd act upon a minor (commonly known as child molestation) is a serious offense. California has a strong public policy to protect children from such lewd acts. As a result, a lewd act upon a minor conviction can have severe consequences. Your potential punishment depends upon the circumstances surrounding your case. However, all forms of punishment for a PC 288 conviction are harsh. Therefore, if you are facing child molestation charges, it is in your best interest to contact a child molestation defense attorney immediately.
Prosecution of child molestation under PC 288
To convict you of committing a lewd act upon a child under PC 288(a), the prosecutor must prove the following three 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.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with the more serious crime of committing a lewd act upon a minor using force, threat, or duress under PC 288(b). To convict you under PC 288(b), the prosecutor must prove the following in addition to all PC 288(a) elements:
- • You committed the act by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of unlawful bodily injury to the child or someone else.
If you were at least 10 years older than the minor at the time of the alleged lewd act, then you face a more serious charge under PC 288(c). In this situation, the prosecutor must prove all of the PC 288(a) elements to convict you and also show that you were at least 10 years older than the 14 or 15 year old minor at the time you committed the alleged lewd act.
Punishment if convicted for child molestation
If you are convicted under PC 288(a), your crime is a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison for up to 8 years.
If you are convicted of using force, threat, or duress to commit a lewd act upon a minor, the sentence is even more severe because a violation under PC 288(b) is a felony. This felony is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for up to 10 years.
A PC 288(c) conviction of committing a lewd act upon a 14 or 15 year old minor when you are at least 10 years older than the minor is a “wobbler,” which means that the prosecutor can charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail. If you are convicted of a felony, you face imprisonment in state prison for up to three years.
Why you should retain Wallin & Klarich
The law firm of Wallin & Klarich has been successfully defending our clients facing serious child molestation charges for over 30 years. Through our tireless efforts we have helped many clients get their charges reduced or dismissed.
We will aggressively defend you from the moment you retain us and help you avoid a lengthy jail sentence. We will also conduct extensive discovery on your case. We will do everything in our power to find and interview all witnesses that could potentially be beneficial to your case.
When you are accused of child molestation in California, your freedom is at stake. Therefore, you should contact a child molestation attorney from Wallin & Klarich to fight for your rights.
Wallin & Klarich has the skill and experience to help you win your case. Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. Call us today at (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.