California law prohibits sexual contact with a minor. Pursuant to Penal Code Section 288, whenever you willfully commit any sexual or “lewd and lascivious act” upon a child who is under 14 years old, you can be prosecuted for what is commonly referred to as “child molestation.”
A violation of PC 288(a) where the victim is less than 14 years old is always a felony and considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law. If convicted of this crime, you face up to eight years in prison. If you forcibly molest a child in violation of PC 288(b), your sentence increases to up to 10 years in prison.
If convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life regardless if you are found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony.
What Does Lewd and Lascivious Mean?
“Lewd and lascivious” is legal jargon for conduct indicating immoral sexual intent or actions. It is often used in the legal description of crimes in which some sort of sexual activity is prohibited.
The legal term “lewd and lascivious” typically refers to a crime which occurs when an adult has sexual contact with an underage child. However, under California law, anyone involved in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 may be prosecuted, including another minor. In California, minors can never legally consent to sexual activity.
How Does California Law Define Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor?
Under California Penal Code Section 288, the legal definition of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor consists of two elements of the crime that a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You willfully touched any part of a child’s body or that you willfully caused a child to touch his/her own body, your body, or another person’s body; and
- You did so with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passion, or sexual desires of yourself or the child.
How you are charged will depend on the following conditions:
- The age of the minor;
- The age difference between you and the minor; and
- Whether you used force, fear or threat of immediate or future harm to the victim or another person.
What if the Child Was Wearing Clothes?
For the purposes of a violation of PC 288, the required element in order to prosecute you is your specific intent to satisfy sexual arousal or desire. Whether you touched a child’s naked body (or he or she touched yours) or clothing was being worn is irrelevant.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter whether the sexual conduct involved intimate body parts provided that the purpose of the lewd conduct was sexually motivated.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you care about has been accused of an unlawful sex crime such as lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, you should contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully representing our clients facing charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.
We will thoroughly examine all of the evidence in the case to determine the best strategy to defend you. We may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Or we will fight to get you a sentence that avoids sending you to prison whenever possible.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the skilled and aggressive sex crimes defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been able to help our clients successfully defend against serious criminal charges. We can help you get the best possible result in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.