Teachers, coaches, and caregivers have direct contact with children on a regular basis. They may help them tie their shoes, fix their jackets, and even change their clothes. Yet there are times when even innocent contact can be construed as something more sinister. If you or someone you love has been accused of molesting or touching a child, it is imperative that you contact an experienced San Jose child molestation lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will need to build a swift and aggressive defense against these serious charges—and must do so before your reputation is tarnished further.
Even an accusation of child molestation is enough to damage your career, your personal relationships, and your reputation in the community. Those who are accused of child molestation will not only face aggressive prosecution, but also public scorn and damaging publicity. Your future depends largely on your child molestation lawyer's ability to expose the weaknesses in the prosecution's case and establish your innocence.
What is Child Molestation in California?
In the State of California, child molestation is legally referred to as “lewd acts with a child under 14” and it is addressed in Penal Code section 288. In order to be convicted of child molestation or lewd acts with a child, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- You touched the child's body in some way or you required the child to touch your body or his/her own body
- You did so with the intent to sexually arouse yourself or the child
- The child was under the age of 14 at the time of the encounter.
It is important to note that for the purposes of child molestation, touching a child can be done through clothing and it does not have to be to the child's private areas or genitals.
Ron was coaching 10-year-old softball league. While he was helping a little girl with her swing, he rubbed his crotch against the girl's leg. He did so to arouse himself. Even though he did not touch the girl's skin or genitals, and even though he was fully clothed, he would still be guilty of child molestation.
But I Didn't Know She was Under 14!
Not being aware of a child's age is not a legal defense against child molestation charges. Even if the child reasonably looked over the age of 18, if he or she was not, then you could still be convicted of child molestation.
In addition, even if the child consented to the touching or sexual contact, you will still be charged with child molestation. PC 288 is very clear that no child under the age of 14 can consent to sexual activity or sexual touching. As such, it cannot be used as a valid defense.
Penalties and Consequences for Child Molestation
If you are convicted of child molestation or lewd acts with a child under 14, then you will face severe penalties and consequences, including:
- Felony convictions
- Strike on your criminal record
- 3 years, 6 years, or 8 years in California State Prison
- Up to life in prison if you face multiple charges of child molestation
- Registration as a sex offender for the remainder of your life
Defenses Against Child Molestation Charges
When you are facing child molestation or child pornography charges, you want these charges to disappear as quickly as possible. After all, the longer these charges remain, the more damage is done to your life, your career, and your relationships. As such, you need a criminal defense attorney who knows how to build an aggressive defense that is designed to get these charges dismissed or reduced as quickly as possible.
To do this, your San Jose child molestation attorney may use numerous defenses, including:
- That you were not the one who committed the crime
- That the child was not actually touched
- That you did not touch the child with any intent to arouse yourself or the child
- That the child was not under 14 at the time
Building the right defense may involve detailed investigating of the incident, interviewing eyewitnesses, obtaining character witnesses, reviewing forensic evidence, and more.
San Jose Child Molestation Lawyer
At Ahmed & Sukaram, our San Jose child molestation lawyers have successfully defended individuals who have been accused of child molestation in California. If you have been arrested and charged with child molestation in San Jose, Palo Alto, or anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact the dynamic legal team of Ahmed & Sukaram immediately. You are not alone—call Ahmed & Sukaram today at 1-408-217-8818.