The Bay Area child molestation defense lawyers of Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law are knowledgeable in protecting you against false accusations of lewd and lascivious conduct involving minors. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers include two former prosecutors and a California board-certified criminal law specialist who put their knowledge to work for you. We are proud to provide stellar representation to clients throughout the California Bay Area.
California Penal Code Section 288 defines child molestation as touching a victim younger than 14 with the intent to arouse the sexual desire of either the offender or the victim. The statute is especially broad because it does not name any specific part of the body. While a child’s private parts are most obvious, touching any part of a child’s body with the intent to arouse sexual gratification can lead to a conviction. Even an accidental touching on the head or arm of a minor can be turned into a child molestation charge in California.
Lewd Acts with a Child
Child molestation is referred to as any “lewd or lascivious” conduct with a minor. As stated above, the alleged fondling does not have to involve a sexual organ or bare skin; any touching done over the child’s clothes counts. In these cases, the child’s accusations are often the only evidence that the act was “lewd, lascivious” or performed with the intent to “sexually arouse.” To prove that an alleged perpetrator touched any part of a child, prosecutors will rely on the statements of the suspect and any witnesses, the circumstances surrounding the alleged molestation, and the number of times the alleged touching occurred.
Penalties for Crimes Involving Children
Criminal offenses involving minors are “statutory” crimes because consent is not a defense. The worst punishment for the accused is often the irreparable harm caused to his or her reputation. Even if baseless, a child molestation charge elicits scandal and can ruin a person’s life. The Penal Code also provides several types of punishment upon conviction, including:
- Maximum of 8 years in prison
- 10 years in prison if crime involves force
- Up to 16 years for repeat offenders (“pattern” of lewd acts)
- Lifetime duty to register as sex offender or sexually violent predator
- Potential prosecution as statutory rape or sexual battery for “annoying or molesting” a child under 18 years of age
- False Accusations and Common Defenses
Children rarely know what sexual touching or molestation is. Many of these cases involve a parent, social worker, or police investigator putting words in the child’s mouth. Children, in turn, often aim to please the adult by providing the “right” answers to leading questions. Meanwhile, the people accused of these crimes lose their careers, families, and freedom. At the first hint of trouble, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced advocate who can help you fight the charge. Common defenses to child molestation involve:
- Exposing the child’s lie or mistake
- Proving there was no contact or that it was accidental
- Showing the accused is being blamed for another adult’s behavior
- Prosecution’s failure to demonstrate required intent to cause arousal
- Revealing third-party manipulation to elicit a child molestation charge
- Consult a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
If you have been accused of child molestation, the Bay Area child molestation defense lawyers at Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law can help. We have successfully handled all types of sexual crimes involving children and will use our knowledge to defend you. Do not let false accusations, misplaced anger, and “restored” memories ruin your life. Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law has the experience necessary to quash these lies, restoring your name and reputation.
In these cases, we have often proven that the accuser was not credible, challenged polygraph examinations, and presented mitigating evidence in the client’s defense. Whether there was a lack of intent, accidental conduct, or third-party coaching, many of these cases are dismissed. We want to hear your side of the story and help you get on with your life. For a confidential consultation, call our San Francisco (415) 946-4020 or Contra Costa (925) 335-6444 office or contact us online.