At Dudek & Cintean, a large number of our cases are sex crimes, including child molestation. In California, the penalties for a sexual offense conviction can sometimes be heavier than those for murder, and can include substantial time in prison, as well as lifetime registration as a sex offender. Because this list is so easily accessible, registration there can affect both employment and housing. If you have been accused of this kind of offense, it is important to understand what “child molestation” is under California law, and how the related criminal prosecution process works from start to finish. We are experienced criminal defense lawyers, two of whom previously worked for the prosecution and therefore have an exceptional understanding of how child molestation charges are handled from the investigation stage, through arrest, settlement discussions, and trial.
What is child molestation?
Under California Penal Code section 288, child molestation or, as it is sometimes described, “lewd and lascivious conduct,” has a very broad definition. It means that the prosecution must prove that (1) you willfully touched a child somewhere on his or her body or else caused him to touch himself, herself or you, and (2) you did this for sexual purposes. Although cases typically involve accusations that the child was touched or fondled on a sex organ, you can be charged if the touching was done over a child’s clothes and not on a sex organ (such as the stomach or thighs), if the purpose of the touching was sexual.
- What happens if you are accused?
- Your Potential Defenses
Whether there was an absence of intent, accidental touching, or third party coaching, the courts or even the prosecution dismiss many child molestation cases. We want to know your side of the story and help you move on with your life. Call our San Francisco office at (415) 946-4020 for a confidential consultation.