California law defines lewd and lascivious conduct as sexual acts which are considered to be highly offensive and contrary to common standards of behavior. State law regarding these offenses are found in California Penal Code (PC) 288, and they can result in years of prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender. If you’re being accused of this conduct, it’s likely that you’re overwhelmed and confused.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime involving lewd and lascivious conduct, you need to speak with a Fresno sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible.To speak with an experienced attorney about your case, contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442.
Many Offenses Can Be Considered Lewd and Lascivious
In order to be found guilty of a crime under PC 288, it must be shown that you willfully touched a child, or made them touch themselves or someone else. Additionally, you must have acted in such a manner that you were seeking sexual arousal or gratification.
You can be found guilty of a lewd and lascivious act even in cases where force or threats of force were not a factor. While this conduct is often associated with overt physical molestation or rape of a child, you can be found guilty in many instances, including:
- The victim is the one touching themselves or another at the insistence of the offender
- The physical contact was done over the victim’s clothing and not on bare skin
- There was no contact with a sexual organ
Consequences for Lewd and Lascivious Conduct
If you are found guilty of a lewd and lascivious act as defined in PC 288, you will be facing a harsh penalty that may include years in prison. Punishments for these crimes will vary based on the specifics of your case. The many facts considered while sentencing someone for a sex crime include the extent of the injuries to the victim, the age of the victim, and if the offense was part of a habitual pattern of sex violations.
Penalties for convictions of lewd and lascivious acts are:
- In cases where the victim was under 14 years old and sustained bodily harm, or if the perpetrator is considered to be a habitual offender, you face up to life in prison.
- If you committed a lewd sexual act with force on a child under 14 years of age or when you were the caretaker of a dependent victim, then you face five, eight, or 10 years in prison.
- If your alleged victim was a child under 14 years of age, but you did not use force, then your potential sentence is three, six, or eight years in prison.
In addition to a lengthy prison sentence, those found guilty of a lewd and lascivious act must register as a sex offender for a term of life.
The life requirement will remain mandatory for all convicted offenders found guilty before January 2021, which is when California will begin a tiered registry for sex offenders. After that date, first-time offenders who do not use force or harm children under 14 may be able to fall into the Tier 2 category. This tier requires registration for at least 20 years.
Contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help Today
Convictions for sex offenses in California result in long prison sentences, and you will have to register as a sex offender if you are found guilty. It is important to call a sex offense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer, we understand how being charged with an offense related to lewd and lascivious conduct can turn your life upside down, and we know how to protect your rights and keep you out of prison. Do not wait to seek help during this difficult time.
Contact us today at (559) 443-7442 to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.