Defenses for Penal Code Section 288 Lewd Acts with a Minor/ Child

Facing accusations under California Penal Code 288 for lewd acts with a minor can be a daunting experience. This statute addresses explicitly lewd or lascivious acts with children under 14 years of age carrying severe penalties. Understanding the possible defenses is crucial for anyone accused of such serious charges. Here, we will explore several defense strategies to help you guide through these challenging circumstances.

Understanding Penal Code 288

California Penal Code 288 makes it illegal to commit any lewd or lascivious act with a child under 14 years old. These acts involve any sexual or indecent behavior aimed at arousing, gratifying, or appealing to someone’s sexual desires. The law is stringent, and a conviction can result in severe consequences, including prison time and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Common Defenses Against Penal Code 288 Charges

When accused of violating Penal Code 288, work with an experienced attorney who can build a solid defense before the court. Here are some common defenses that can be used:

  1. False Accusations
    One of the most common defenses is that the accusations are false. In some cases, adults may manipulate children or fabricate stories for various reasons, such as attention-seeking or personal vendettas. An experienced attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances and gather evidence to prove the accusations are baseless.
  2. Lack of Intent
    For a conviction under Penal Code 288, the prosecution must prove that the defendant acted with the intent to arouse, gratify, or appeal to sexual desires. If the defense can show that the contact was accidental or innocent, without any sexual intent, it can be a strong argument for dismissal.
  3. Mistaken Identity
    In some situations, the accused might be a victim of mistaken identity. This defense is particularly relevant in cases where the child might not clearly remember the perpetrator or the evidence is circumstantial. Eyewitness testimony and alibi evidence can prove that the wrong person has been accused.
  4. Insufficient Evidence
    The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, who must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is weak, inconsistent, or lacks credibility, the defense can argue that the prosecution has not met its burden. This might involve challenging the reliability of the child’s testimony or pointing out inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.
  5. No Lewd Intent
    Accidentally bumping into a child or engaging in non-sexual conduct can sometimes be misinterpreted as lewd behavior. The defense can argue that there was no lewd intent behind the actions. For example, suppose an adult is accused of inappropriate touching but can demonstrate that the contact was inadvertent or part of a non-sexual activity. In that case, it can help in proving their innocence.

Examples of Defence Depicting Real Case Scenarios

Here are a couple of scenarios illustrating how these defenses might play out in real cases:

Example 1: False Accusation

A high school teacher, John, is accused by a student of rubbing her inner thigh. John’s defense team discovers that the student has a history of making false accusations against other teachers and was recently disciplined by John. They present evidence of the student’s motive to fabricate the story, leading to the charges being dropped.

Example 2: Lack of Intent

Sally is accused of making her grandson grope her breasts. However, the defense shows that Sally has a medical condition requiring physical therapy, and her grandson helps with her exercises. They provide medical records and testimony from a physical therapist to prove there was no sexual intent.

Understanding Different Penalties Related to Penal Code 288

Understanding the potential penalties is also crucial for anyone facing Penal Code 288. These can vary based on the specifics of the case:

  • PC 288(a): Felony charges can lead to 3, 6, or 8 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • PC 288(b): Involves acts committed with force, coercion, violence, or fear, carrying 5, 8, or 10 years in prison.
  • PC 288(c): For acts with a child aged 14 or 15 by someone at least 10 years older, punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
  • PC 288.5: Continuous sexual abuse over three or more incidents within three months, resulting in 6, 12, or 16 years in prison.

Facing charges under Penal Code 288 is a serious matter with potentially life-altering consequences. However, various defense strategies can be employed to fight these accusations. If you or someone you know is accused of committing lewd acts with a minor, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the complexities of these charges and work towards the best possible outcome.

Why Choose DCD LAW To Be On Your Defense Side?

Choosing us as your defense attorney is the right option because we believe in your innocence until proven guilty. We carefully gather evidence, conduct thorough interviews, and build a solid defense to ensure the burden of proof is high. By rigorously challenging the prosecution, we uphold the integrity of the legal system and take great pride in defending your rights. So, trust us if you are unjustly burdened with an accusation you haven’t committed!