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San Diego Child Molestation Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of child molestation or lewd acts with a child in California state court, you need proper defense from an experienced and aggressive attorney. Child molestation is one of the most grievous criminal offenses in our society, and is taken very seriously by prosecutors and courts. Mary Frances Prévost is an aggressive child molestation defense lawyer who represents defendants in San Diego and the surrounding areas. For a free and confidential consultation about your case, call the Law Offices of Mary Frances Prévost at (888) 909-7896 today.

Lewd Acts with a Child under California Law

California Penal Code § 288 makes it a felony for any person to willfully and lewdly commit any lewd or lascivious act, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child.

This crime is sometimes referred to as “lewd acts on a minor under 14” or “acts of lewd and lascivious conduct.”

Typically, charges brought under California Penal Code § 288 involve allegations that a child was touched or fondled on a sexual organ, or that some other form of molestation took place. It is important to understand that you can be charged with committing lewd acts even if you didn’t touch a child on a sexual organ. California courts have upheld convictions for lewd acts with a child even where the touching was done over a child’s clothing (rather than on bare skin or on private areas).

Penalties for Lewd Acts with a Child

If you are convicted with lewd acts with a child in California, you will face harsh criminal penalties. It is important to understand that any conviction under California Penal Code § 288 triggers a lifetime duty to register as a sex offender. This is in addition to the penalties discussed below.

If the child/victim was under 14 years old at the time the acts took place, you could be sentenced to:

  • Up to eight years in California state prison; or
  • Up to 10 years in California state prison if force was used; or
  • Up to 16 years in California state prison if there was a pattern of abuse; and
  • A “strike” under California’s three-strikes law.

If the child/victim was 14 to 15 years old, and you were at least 10 years older than the child, you could be sentenced to:

  • Up to three years in California state prison.

If the child/victim was 16 or 17 years old, you may be prosecuted for statutory rape or sexual battery.

Defenses to Lewd Acts with a Child under California Law

There are many defenses to lewd acts with a child under California law. The information in this section is not a substitute for legal advice. Only an experienced child molestation defense attorney can tell you which defenses are available to you in your case. Defenses to lewd acts with a child include, but are not limited to:

  • Fourth Amendment violations render evidence inadmissible;
  • Fifth Amendment violations render evidence inadmissible;
  • The accuser is lying or mistaken as to your identity;
  • A third party coached the child into making allegations of abuse;
  • The contact that occurred between you and the child was accidental;
  • There was no intent to cause sexual arousal in you or the child; and/or
  • Expert testimony renders DNA or other evidence unreliable.

San Diego Child Molestation Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges in California court for lewd acts with a child, Mary Frances Prévost can help. She is dedicated to the zealous representation and defense of her clients in San Diego and the surrounding areas. To discuss your case, call the Law Offices of Mary Frances Prévost at (888) 909-7896 today.

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