California implements a range of laws prohibiting a person from engaging in, or attempting to engage in, sexual acts with minors. Violating this law could lead to misdemeanor or felony penalties, as well as mandatory sex offender registration for as long as a lifetime. As a result, it is imperative that you consult a team of experienced and professional attorneys to defend you in court. At Thompson • Garcia Law, A Law Corporation, we have over 65 years of combined experience defending clients. We are confident trial attorneys who will strategize a multidimensional defense to protect your rights in the face of harsh accusations.
Unlawful Sex with a Minor
Recall that the age of consent in California is 18 years old. As such, it is a crime in California (under Penal Code 261.5) to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. A violation is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, though the maximum punishment is 4 years in state prison.
Lewd or Lascivious Acts on a Child Under 16
According to Penal Code 288, it is a crime for a person to commit a lewd or lascivious act on a child under 16 years old, such that a “lewd act” is:
- touching a child for sexual purposes; or
- causing a child to touch themselves or someone else for a sexual purpose (e.g., to gratify sexual desires).
A violation of the above could result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the situation. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, and a felony is punishable by up to life in state prison.
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Sending Explicit or Obscene Matter to a Minor
Penal Code 288.2 prohibits sending explicit or obscene matter to a minor under age 18 with the intent to sexually arouse the sender and/or the recipient and seduce the recipient. A violation of this law is a wobbler offense that may be penalized as a misdemeanor (up to 6 months in county jail) or a felony (up to 3 years in state prison).
Arranging a Meeting with a Minor
Under Penal Code 288.4 it is illegal for a person to arrange a meeting with a minor with the intent to engage in certain sexual conduct. Most violations of this statute are considered misdemeanors, and penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, as well as required registration as a Tier One sex offender. Tier One status is the lowest level of registration, though it does require a minimum of 10 years’ registration.
Sexual Acts with Children Under 10
Penal Code 288.7 states that it is a crime for an adult to engage in sexual acts with a child under 10 years old. Convicted individuals could face life in prison, even if it is a first-time offense.
Oral Copulation on a Minor
According to Penal Code 287, it is a crime for a person to perform oral copulation on a minor younger than 18 years old, where “oral copulation” refers to any contact between the mouth of one person and the sexual organ or anus of another. Like lewd or lascivious acts on a child, a violation of this law can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. If punished as a misdemeanor, the defendant could face up to 1 year in county jail; if punished as a felony, the defendant could face up to 8 years in state prison.
Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 14
It is also a crime for a person to engage in the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years old, according to California Penal Code 288.5. Note that “continuous” means 3 or more instances of abuse occurring over a period of 3 months or longer. Violations of this statute are felonies punishable by up to 16 years in state prison.
Seek an Experience Child Molestation Defense Lawyer Today
Child molestation accusations are taken very seriously in California’s criminal justice system. So, if you are facing harsh or unfair charges for some type of child molestation crime, contact an experienced attorney immediately for legal support. Our legal team at Thompson • Garcia Law, A Law Corporation have been defending clients in court for over 65 years, and we can fight assertively for you in court. We will explore all possible avenues of defense for your situation and put our professional experience to use as your Dublin, CA defenders.
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“They saved me years of prison time by proving that I was falsely accused of a crime.”- Becky H.
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