San Diego Child Molestation Defense Lawyer
In California, sexual activity with a minor can lead to allegations of child molestation. Child molestation charges are incredibly serious. These cases are often very complicated and are always emotionally charged. In San Diego, merely being accused of child molestation is enough to send your life into upheaval. The media and community can be quick to condemn and ostracize anyone accused of molesting a child, long before anything is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a courtroom. A conviction for child molestation will lead to lifetime consequences, including years in prison and registration as a sex offender. Acts subject to criminal prosecution can include:
- Touching, fondling, or groping a child or causing a child to do the same
- Sending text messages and images of sexual nature via phone, or “sexting”
- Exposing one’s self to a minor, or committing exhibitionist sexual acts
- Posting explicit images and messages to social media platforms
- Producing, sharing, or possessing child pornography
- Inducing a child or children under fourteen to commit sexual acts
- Discussing sexually-explicit material with a minor
- Participating in a sex trafficking operation involving minors
- Any potentially-sexual conduct suspected harmful to the welfare of a minor
Your job, reputation, freedom, and long-term financial wellbeing hang the balance. If you have been accused of child molestation, the clock is ticking until your (next) court appearance. You need to act fast, but wisely. Call an experienced child molestation defense attorney at the Law Office of David P. Shapiro today to learn how you can start regaining control of your future again.
PC 288: Lewd and Lascivious Charges in San Diego
Sexual activity involving a minor can lead to felony charges of child molestation. In the State of California, any person suspected of engaging in any lewd or lascivious act with a child under fourteen (14) may be charged with child molestation under PC 288. California Penal Code 288 is structured to allow the maximum number of accusations possible. In San Diego County, you can be charged with lewd and lascivious acts if there is evidence of:
- Touching any part of the child’s body, directly or indirectly, skin-to-skin or through clothing; or
- Causing a child to touch his/her own body, the accused’s body, or the body of someone else; and
- Committing the act with sexual intent.
In California, you can be accused of a lewd and lascivious act for touching a child through their clothing. Hugging, kissing, and other gestures performed with innocent intentions can lead to serious criminal charges if a prosecutor believes you acted with an unlawful sexual intent. You can also face charges for communicating sexual messages to an adult posing as a minor; think the “To Catch a Predator” series on MSNBC. California law also allows members of law enforcement to act as minors in chat rooms and elsewhere on the internet. In addition to charges of child molestation under PC 288, those accused of committing sex crimes against children may face additional criminal charges under:
- Penal Code 269: Aggravated sexual assault of a minor
- Penal Code 261.5: Statutory rape/unlawful intercourse
- Penal Code 264: Sexual battery and abduction of a minor
- Penal Code 647: Lewd conduct in view of minors
- Penal Code 289: Sex forced upon a minor
Depending on the charge or charges against you, the circumstances of the case, and the quality of your attorney(s) and their proactive defense strategy, child molestation accusations in San Diego may lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, or hopefully no charges at all.
Penalties for Child Molestation Charges in San Diego
The State of California has imposed severe minimum sentences for those convicted of child molestation charges. The penalties and punishments for child molestation charges increase in severity as the age of the minor(s) alleged to have been involved decreases. In San Diego County, even first-time offenders can face serious penalties for conviction of child molestation, including:
- Prison sentences starting at three (3) years all the way to life in prison
- Felony conviction and supervision following release from custody
- Registration as a sex offender per Meghan’s Law
- A fine up to $10,000, plus court fees and restitution
Sentences for child molestation in San Diego can increase due to aggravating circumstances particular to your case. These can include, but are not limited to, a position as the accuser’s caretaker, the use or threat of violence, the extent of acts alleged to have taken place. In some cases, aggravating circumstances can lead to life imprisonment. The prosecution will potentially aim for the maximum penalty available under PC 288, and for any related California Penal Codes. Child molestation is considered a crime of moral turpitude and is both a serious and violent strike felony. Conviction for child molestation will likely end your professional career. It is imperative you retain a defense lawyer experienced in approaching cases of this magnitude and one who has a track record of success. Do not bury your head in the sand. Learn what you are up against. Call the Law Office of David P. Shapiro for an honest, and confidential, case evaluation.
Defending Against Child Molestation Charges in San Diego
In most criminal cases, the accused is offered the benefit of being presume innocent until proven guilty. In most cases of child molestation, the accused must effectively fight to prove their innocence to the public from the outset. Child molestation cases can lead to unpredictable and irrational behavior from the people involved. Resist any urge to communicate with the child, their family, and anyone involved with the accusations, whether truthful or not. Beware that law enforcement will use various tactics to get suspects to speak or make statements that can be interpreted as admissions. Neither speak to the police nor agree to any interviews with the media unless advised to do so by a quality, locally experienced, criminal defense attorney.
Those facing accusations of child molestation may be subject to abuse in their personal and professional lives, even if completely innocent of the charges. If you have been accused of child molestation, virtually all eyes are on you. Before you make another move, reach out to a reputable, locally experienced, criminal defense law firm. In cases of child molestation, potential defenses can include:
- False allegations, whether through legitimate mistake or malignant intent
- Illegal search and seizure of evidence related to the case
- The prosecution utilizing improper interviewing techniques to “spin” child testimony
- The contact in question was accidental or non-sexual in nature
We have well over a decade of experience defending good people who find themselves in difficult situations. Learn more about how you can regain control of your future, and best defend against child molestation allegations. Call our firm today!
Real Clients Share Their Experience
“David Shapiro got me the best possible outcome for my case. He kept me informed on everything which made me confident when I was in court. I highly recommend him.”
—Alex N. – Yelp Review