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Los Angeles Child Molestation Defense Attorneys

Beating a Lewd and Lascivious Behavior Charge in Los Angeles

If you are charged with a sex crime, you face several different penalties under California law. These penalties become worse if the crime allegedly involved a minor. But these charges can be beat if you understand how molestation is defined in California and launch a thorough defense.

At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, we can leverage our in-depth knowledge of Los Angeles’s court system and more than 25 years of experience to fight on your behalf. We understand just how prosecutors think in these cases and how to counter each of their tactics. Let us start preparing your defense today. Call (213) 688-0460 to get a free case evaluation.

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How Is Child Molestation Defined in California?

Under Penal Code 288 PC, the crime commonly known as “child molestation” is formally referred to as “lewd and lascivious acts with a child.” Under this statute, it is a felony crime to touch a child under the age of 14 for sexual purposes, or to cause a child to touch himself or herself or someone else for sexual purposes.

“Lewd” means crude or offensive in a sexual way. “Lascivious” means feeling or revealing an overt and often offensive sexual desire. To be considered lewd and lascivious, an act does not need to involve physical penetration. This sex crime is often charged as a felony.

Examples of lewd acts with a child include:

  • Groping a young girl’s breasts through her clothing.
  • Kissing the inner thighs of a child for purposes of sexual self-arousal.
  • Placing a child’s hands on the crotch of a man’s pants.
  • Indecently exposing one’s genitals to a child.

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What Are the Criminal Penalties for Lewd Acts With a Child?

Penalties for child molestation can depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The child’s age
  • The defendant’s age
  • Whether the lewd act was accomplished through duress, threats, or force
  • Whether there was a pattern of lewd acts

The penalties can vary depending on the circumstances in which the act was committed, but these cases are almost always charged as felonies. For example, if the crime involved a child under 14 but no force was used, it carries three, six, or eight years in state prison. If force was used on a child younger than 14, the prison term could be five, eight, or ten years. When this crime involves bodily harm inflicted on a child under the age 14, a conviction can mean up to life in prison. If the victim is 14 or 15, a lewd act with a child carries one, two, or three years in state prison.

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Can You Be Convicted of Lewd Acts With a Minor if He or She Consented?

The legal age of consent in California is 18. This means that no person under the age of 18 has a legal right to consent to a sexual act. Consent cannot be a valid defense, as a minor child is legally incapable of giving it.

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What Are the Defenses Against Child Molestation Charges?

Legal defenses against this felony sex crime will depend on the circumstances of the case. Possible defenses may include:

  • Alibi: The accused can prove he was somewhere else and had no access to the minor child on the date of the alleged offense.
  • No touching: If the accused did not actually touch the alleged victim or vice versa, he cannot be convicted of a crime.
  • Accidental touching: If the accused touched the child accidentally, it may be a legal defense. To get a conviction, the prosecution must prove the touching was intentionally performed.
  • No intent to sexually gratify oneself or the alleged victim: If the prosecution is unable to prove that touching was performed to sexually gratify the accused or the alleged victim, a valid defense may exist.

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Prepare Your Defense With a High-Profile Legal Team

Our Los Angeles sex crime defense lawyers at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP are committed to providing clients with superior criminal defense. When you contact us, you are not just getting the skills of a single lawyer, but the strength and experience of a full defense team. Each of our attorneys brings something different to the table that may be instrumental in your defense. If you are facing charges of lewd and lascivious behavior in California, call us as soon as possible at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation.

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Additional Information

Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

Recent Case Results

  • Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
    Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
  • Decision Set Aside
    Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
  • Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
    Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.
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