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California Child Molestation Law & Defense

California Penal Code section 288 Lewd Acts

California  Child Molestation laws are found at California Penal Code section 288. The term Child Molestation is better known as Lewd Acts, or Lewd and Lascivious Acts, under California law.

There are many different lewd acts with which a defendant may be charged. The term Lewd is defined as inappropriate sexual conduct. The term minor means anyone under the age of 18.

As stated, there are many PC 288 crimes in California. The specific lewd act, and corresponding PC 288 subsection, with which a defendant may be charged depends on many factors, including the defendant's age, the child's age, the presence of any physical injury to the child, and the specific conduct that is alleged to have occurred.

For example, lewd acts on a minor under the age of 14 is charged differently than lewd acts on a minor under the age of 10. Also, two different lewd act charges would be filed even if the alleged victims were the same age but where the sex act itself is different. For example, a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 could be charged differently than a lewd act under the age 14 (same age) where the act itself is different, i.e. oral copulation on a child as opposed to merely touching a child in a lewd manner.

This is why there are dozens of subsections to California Penal Code section 288. Penal Code 288, along with its subsections, cover every particular situation. The possible penalties associated with lewd acts charges under penal code 288 change depending on which penal code subsection the defendant is facing. For example, penal code 288(a) [lewd act on a child under 14] carries up to an eight year prison sentence, whereas penal code 288a(b)(1) [oral copulation with a child] carries up to a ten year prison sentence.

The most common PC 288 criminal charges are listed at the right of this article and we have included a possible prison sentence associated with each type of lewd act criminal charge.

To commit a lewd act on a child means that the defendant committed some type of conduct towards or upon a child that was intended to arouse the defendant or the child. A lewd act can be merely touching a child inappropriately (even over the child's clothes) to actual sexual intercourse with child.

Child molestation convictions carry some of the longest criminal sentences and harshest punishments of any criminal charges. The allegation of child molestation alone, even if uncorroborated, can destroy a person's career, personal relationships, and reputation. A conviction of a child molestation certainly destroys the defendant's life.

The punishments for child molestation convictions include very long prison sentences, insurmountable fines, probation or parole requirements, sex offender registration for life, immigration consequences, CPS (Child Protective Service) investigations, civil lawsuits, choice of residency restrictions, and more.

Furthermore, child molestation charges are among the most difficult to defend in the entire criminal justice system. Reluctant and protected witnesses make favorable evidence gathering more difficult. Also, bails are usually set so high in child molestation cases that most defendants must fight their case from jail. Moreover, prosecutors are acutely aware of the public pressure to "Not make deals with child molesters." Finally, juries are biased and reluctantly mind-set about defendants who are merely charged with child molestation. All of this makes the child molestation case a difficult and highly emotional task.

One of the most difficult tasks for an attorney representing a defendant facing child molestation charges is the fact that there is practically no statute of limitations (a statute of limitations is a law that gives a time limit that prosecutors have to file criminal charges). The statute of limitations in most child molestation cases does not even begin to start until the child reports the allegation, even if many years have passed. This makes evidence collecting very difficult for a criminal defense attorney.

Facts about a typical child molestation defendant: 

1) Child molestation defendants usually have no prior criminal convictions,

2) child molestation allegations are usually made by a single witness to a single event,

3) many child molestation allegations are unsupported by any physical evidence, and

4) child molestation defendants are often times related to the child who is alleged to have been molested.

5) defendant's convicted of child molestation or lewd acts on a minor charges, where there are no physical injuries to the child, serve more prison time on average than defendants convicted of violent crimes which result in injury to adults, or children.

Common defenses to lewd acts charges: 

One of the many defenses to child molestation charges in California is to show that the child has been pressured into exaggerating facts either by police or adults or both, or that the children are simply adopting the accusations of the adults around them. Child psychologist are employed to demonstrate the how the conditions under which the child was interviewed lends itself to false reporting.

Criminal defense attorney Christopher Dorado is an experienced sex crimes defense trial lawyer with a proven track record of success (obtaining not guilty verdicts or hung juries in his last four consecutive sex crimes trials for serious and violent sex crimes [as of 6/7/2015).

Attorney Dorado has successfully settled hundred of sex crimes cases in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange County, including many PC 288 criminal charges. 

It is extremely important that if you or a loved one is facing child molestation charges, or lewd acts, under California Penal Code section 288, that you contact an experienced sex crimes criminal defense attorney without delay.

To learn more about the crime of child molestation or lewd acts on a minor, charged as PC 288, including defenses to PC 288 charges, contact a California Sex Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney today.

There is no charge for initial consultations and our office offers 24/7 emergency service. Attorney Dorado dedicates one hundred percent of his practice to criminal defense and consultation are always private. Call today!


Closely associated charges tCalifornia Penal Code section 288 PC include:

PC 288(a) Lewd Act on child under 14 [Possible eight year prison sentence]

PC 288(a) Lewd Act on Child under 14 with injury [Possible life sentence]

PC 288(b) Lewd Act on Child with force [Possible 8 year prison sentence]

PC 288(b)(1) Lewd Act on Child with force [Possible 10 year prison sentence]

PC 288(b)(2) Lewd Act by caretaker on dependent [Possible 10 prison sentence]

PC 288(c)(1) Lewd Act on child [Possible 3 year prison sentence]

PC 288(c)(2) Lewd Act by caretaker on dependent [Possible 3 year prison sentence]

PC 288(i) Lewd Act on child with injury [Possible life sentence]

PC 288a(b)(1) Oral Copulation with child [Possible 3 year prison sentence]

PC 288a(b)(2) Oral Copulation with child by force [Possible 3 year prison sentence]


Criminal Defense Attoney California Child Molestation & Lewd Acts Law PC 288


Christopher Dorado, Esq. 1030 Nevada Street Suite 105 Redlands, CA. 92374 Also see Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

California sex crimes attorney serving Redlands, YucaipaRialtoSan BernardinoFontanaRancho CucamongaOntarioVictorvilleRiversideHesperia & More