In California, it is not only illegal to engage in a sex act with a minor, but even to attempt to meet with one for the purpose of sex. In fact, the other person need not even be a minor for you to be charged with this crime. Because the laws concerning sexual acts with a juvenile are so complex, it is critical you speak with a Vista child molestation defense lawyer as soon as possible if you have been accused of any crime related to having sexual relations with someone under 18.
First, it’s important to recognize that you need not even touch a minor to be charged with a sex crime. Arranging to meet with a minor when your actions are “motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children,” for the purpose of “exposing your genitals or rectal area, having the child expose his or her genitals or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior” is a crime. Additionally, the person you made the arrangements with doesn’t even need to be under 18. If you believe the person to be a minor, you can still be charged and found guilty of soliciting sex with a minor. With so many aspects of the law relating to your intentions and beliefs, it’s easy to see why you should insist on speaking with a child molest defense attorney in Vista before you discuss the crime with the police. Remember, anything you say to the police can be used against you.
Most cases involving the solicitation of sex with a minor occur online, so it is important your Vista sex crimes lawyer also have experience handling computer crimes defense as well so he or she can protect you against illegal search and seizure of your property, including electronic devices. Your attorney should also understand the ins and outs of entrapment laws since many people charged with this crime are victims of police sting operations.
While arranging to meet with a minor for a lewd or lascivious purpose is sometimes charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, it is still a sex crime that can result in your being required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. If you actually arrived at the meeting place, then the crime will be charged as a felony and you will face an additional two to four years in prison. Arrival at the meeting place will also get you charged with attempted child molestation if you thought the minor was under 14 or if you thought they were 15 or under and you are at least 10 years older. If you solicited a minor prostitute for sex, you will face an additional $25,000 fine.
With such serious consequences at play, it is easy to see why you should always contact a Vista child molester defense attorney immediately. With over 30 years of experience, Peter M. Liss has a proven track record of helping people fight these types of charges and he can help you too. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.