Intent: The Key Element in a Lewd Acts with a Minor Case (PC 288)
In many criminal cases, whether someone is guilty often comes down to intent – not whether the person intentionally committed an act, but what that person’s intentions were when he or she committed the act.
One crime that requires the prosecution to show intent is lewd or lascivious acts with a minor. Under California Penal Code Section 288, you could be convicted of lewd acts with a minor if the prosecution proves the following elements:
- You touched, on purpose, a child’s body either on the bare skin or through the clothing; OR
- You 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
- You committed the act with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of yourself or of the child; AND
- The child was under the age of 14 years at the time of the touching
The Element of Intent in a PC 288 Case
Let’s focus on the third element in that list above. The prosecutor must prove to the jury that when you touched the child, you did so with the intention to arouse, appeal to or gratify the sexual passions, lust or desires of yourself or the child.
This is an important element because it protects you from punishment for touches that were innocent or accidental. This is also typically a very difficult element for the prosecutor to prove.
So, can the fact that you lacked the intent to sexually arouse yourself or the victim as a valid defense to PC 288 charges? Your first move should be to hire an experienced sex crimes defense attorney. An experienced sex crimes attorney can present evidence that shows you did not have the intent to sexually gratify yourself or the alleged victim.
How does an attorney show this? First, the best sex crimes lawyers will work with psychologists and medical experts to help you show that you do not fit the sexual profile of someone who would commit this type of crime. Additionally, your lawyer may be able to show that your act was accidental.
Your attorney may also be able to prove that the touch was for some other purpose. For example, if you were helping the child get into a car seat and in so doing, you placed your hand on the child’s bottom to boost them into the seat, you likely did not have the intent to sexually gratify yourself when you performed the act.
Let the Sex Crimes Defenses Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Help You
Having the right attorney at your side can make a tremendous difference if you are charged with lewd acts with a minor. That is why you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully defending clients in serious sex crime cases for over 35 years. Let our knowledgeable attorneys help you, now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will get through this together.