What most people refer to as child molesting is actually charged as lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 according to California law. You can also be charged if the child is 15 or under and you are more than ten years older than him or her. These lewd acts need not be explicitly sexual, must be for the purpose of sexually gratifying at least one of the people involved with the activity. If you are accused of performing a lewd act with a child, immediately ask to speak with a Vista child molestation defense lawyer as soon as possible. Remember, what you say can be used against you and even things you say to defend yourself may still be turned around to harm your defense later on.
Note: For the sake of clarity, this article will be using versions of the phrase “child molest” rather than lewd acts with a child under age 14 or 15 and under if the victim was ten years younger than the defendant, as most people are more familiar with the terms “child molesting” and “child molestation,” but it is important to recognize that this is the formal charge used by the police and courts.
If you have been accused of child molesting, contact a Vista sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible -even if charges have not been formally filed yet. Your lawyer can help protect you against false accusations that may ruin your reputation as well as improper and illegal search and seizure methods when the police do get involved. Additionally, if formal charges are filed, your attorney can help keep the publicity around the case so your privacy and reputation can be protected from the damaging title of “child molester.”
There are a lot of aspects of child molestation that most people do not understand, which is yet another reason it is so important to speak with a Vista child molestation lawyer. For example, the touching need not be in a sexual area or on bare skin. In fact, there need not be any touching between the participants at all. If you are accused of getting a child to touch their own body -even through clothing, you can still be charged with child molesting. The most important aspects of the crime are that the act was committed with “the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of yourself or of the child” and that the child was 14 or under at the time. Lastly, sexual arousal or pleasure need not to have occurred as long as the person accused of child molesting intended the act to cause sexual arousal or gratification.
For example, if a person was accused of getting a twelve year old to massage their feet, it could be considered child molestation if the adult involved had a sexual interest in the activity. On the other hand, if a doctor rubbed a child’s bare buttocks for the purpose of applying a topical cream to a rash, it would not be child molestation.
Unlike statutory rape charges, it does not matter if you believed the child was over 18 at the time. In fact, if you attempt to defend yourself by saying this, it will likely be used as evidence against you later on. Additionally, even if the child consented to or even suggested the idea, you can still be convicted of child molestation. This is why it is imperative you do not speak to the police until you contact your Vista defense attorney. Child molest cases are complex and require experience and tact. Peter M. Liss has over 30 years of experience defending people from sex crimes such as these.
This crime is a felony, punishable by up to eight years imprisonment, and it counts as a strike under California’s three strikes law. Additionally, once you are convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Do not take chances with your defense when handling a case this serious. Call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with a top Vista child molestation defense lawyer.
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