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Sex Crimes - Lewd Acts with a Minor

Experienced California Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers

Sex crimes with a minor are among the most devastating of all criminal charges. In addition to lengthy prison sentences, sex offender registration, and court fines and fees, defendants face the social stigma associated with a sexual offense against a child. This stigma can result in significant non-legal consequences, including the following:

  • Difficulty securing employment
  • Problems getting financing
  • Damage to your reputation in the community
  • The loss of personal relationships
  • Restrictions on where you can live and work
  • Disqualification from certain types of jobs

An experienced California criminal defense lawyer can begin protecting a person’s constitutional rights even before formal criminal charges are filed in court. Law enforcement investigators, members of the news media, and others can impair a defendant's right to a fair trial. With the advice of a Los Angeles defense attorney, defendants will be in the best possible position to protect their legal rights.

The guidance of a defense attorney in California can protect defendants from false accusations, unfair portrayals in the media, illegal investigation techniques, abuse of a prosecutor's discretion in charging, unfair trial procedures, or abuse of judicial discretion in sentencing. There are many steps in the prosecution of a sex crime. An experienced defense lawyer in Los Angeles be able to anticipate and effectively counteract unfairness throughout the case process. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer, call the Law Offices of David S. Chesley today at 800-755-5174 or contact us online.

The Legal Consequences of a Lewd Acts Conviction

Lewd or lascivious acts are prohibited by Section 288(a) of the California Penal Code. A lewd or lascivious act is one which arouses, appeals to, or gratifies the lust, passion or sexual desires of either the perpetrator or the child. This broad definition covers a wide variety of behaviors, including

  • Molestation
  • Sexual touching
  • Masturbation
  • Similar acts

Such acts committed on a child under the age of fourteen years will subject a defendant to a prison term of three, six, or eight years. If the victim is aged fourteen or fifteen and the defendant is at least ten years older than the child, the prison term is one to three years. Longer prison terms are provided when the acts are committed by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate bodily injury. These circumstances can expose a defendant to a sentence of five, eight, or ten years in prison. These lewd and lascivious acts against children are felony offenses.

A Lewd Acts Conviction Will result in Sex Offender Status

In addition to the prison sentences imposed for lewd acts convictions, defendants also face mandatory sex offender registration. Section 290 of the California Penal Code requires those convicted under Section 288 to register as sex offenders. Unlike some states, which leave sex offender registration to the discretion of a criminal court judge, the California Legislature has elected to require sex offender registration of all persons convicted of lewd and lascivious acts. Sex offender registrations records are public.

This means that neighbors, friends, co-workers, and anyone else can learn the details of a conviction for a lewd or lascivious act. It also means that a registrant may be required to attend group therapy sessions, court hearings, or even distribute notices in the neighborhood where he or she lives. For many persons convicted of sex crimes, sex offender registration is an even more painful consequence than prison.

How a CA Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Defendants Mitigate the Damage of a Lewd Acts Conviction

There are many ways in which a California defense attorney can help to mitigate the consequences of allegations of sex crimes. When false allegations are made, it is important to vigorously defend against them and help a jury to see inconsistencies in the alleged victim's testimony or to point out weaknesses in the prosecutor's case. Some common defense tactics include:

  • Impeaching the credibility of the accuser
  • Impeaching the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses
  • Presenting evidence that indicates that the offense was committed by someone other than the defendant
    • In many cases, the defense focuses less on denying the allegations made, but rather finding ways to keep particularly damaging evidence from being used in court. Typically, this involves determining whether the police violated the defendant’s constitutional rights during the investigation. If they did, it can result in the evidence they gathered being suppressed.

      When a prosecutor has strong evidence against a defendant, an effective defense of the case will focus on getting a fair plea offer, rather than attempting to discredit evidence which is persuasive to a jury. Under these circumstances, an attorney will know how to solicit a fair plea offer from a prosecutor.

      For example, many perpetrators of sexual crimes were victimized themselves. This is a mitigating factor which indicates the need for mental health treatment - not a lengthy prison sentence. In other circumstances, an LA defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea offer on lesser charges which do not require mandatory sex offender registration. The defendant must still plead guilty to an offense, but by doing so, he or she has the opportunity to avoid the devastating collateral consequences of registering as a sex offender. A plea offer can also thus be used to mitigate the consequences of a conviction, rather than avoiding the conviction altogether.

      Mitigation can also be an important strategy at the sentencing phase of a criminal case. Many convictions or plea agreements result in a prison sentence whose length is determined by the judge. In these situations, a defense attorney has the opportunity to make a case for a shorter sentence. Here, again, the lawyer can mitigate the consequences of a conviction by fighting for a shorter prison sentence, rather than allowing the prosecutor to overwhelm a judge or jury with strong evidence against the defendant. This also allows a defense attorney to appeal to a third party who is more neutral than the prosecutor. While the prosecutor may want a long sentence, the opportunity to make a case for a shorter sentence to a judge allows the defendant to escape the prosecutor's drastic view of the case, and appeal directly to the court for fairness in sentencing.

      Finally, a defense attorney's mitigation strategy may also focus on appeals. Rather than attempting to overcome an unfair ruling from a judge (who is generally disinclined to admit that he or she was wrong), it is often a better strategy to challenge that ruling to an appellate court. This can be a risky strategy. Because it occurs so late in the case process, there is a chance that the defendant will be left without other options in the event the appellate court rules against him (or her). It can also present a defendant with the undesirable choice of losing a good plea agreement in order to challenge legal issues in sentencing. The decision to appeal is based on many different factors which are unique and specific to each individual case. Nonetheless, an appeal can be an effective legal strategy for protecting a defendant's constitutional rights. It can also help protect defendants from unfairness in the investigation, charging, litigation, and sentencing of the criminal charges against them.

      Call Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation with an LA Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

      The consequences of any sex crime conviction can change a defendant's life forever. It is absolutely vital that defendants have good legal representation as soon as any sex crime investigation is commenced against them. Even before charges are filed, constitutional rights can be invoked to protect a defendant from unlawful acts by investigators and prosecutors.

      Contact us online or call (800) 755-5174 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California sex crimes defense lawyer. Defendants have important rights under California and federal law. It is essential to have the advice of an experienced attorney who knows how to protect these rights.

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Prostitution

According to the Penal Code 647(b), any person who solicits accepts to engage in or engages in any act of prostitution in return to receive money or anything of value from the other person commits the crime of disorderly conduct.

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Lewd Acts

Soliciting or engaging in lewd acts in public place or a place in public view is a crime in California and the deviants are dealt harshly with punishments including jail time and monetary fines.

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Rape

Rape is one of the worst crime, and a citation for rape means that you are in the row for severe punishments. California has one of the strictest stances against rape and severely punishes the victim.

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Child Molestation

Child molestation laws are one of the strictest criminal laws in California and carry prison sentences for convicts.

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Sex Offender

If you have been convicted of a sex crime in California, you are required to register yourself as a sex offender even after completing your sentence.

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Sexual Battery

California Penal laws distinguish between the simple battery and sexual battery and have more severe punishments for the persons charged with sexual battery.

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Recent Results

  • Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

  • Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

  • Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

  • Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

  • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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