Crimes against children are among the most vigorously prosecuted sex crimes in California, and carry severe penalties, which include lifetime incarceration and mandatory registration as a sex offender, pursuant to Penal Code 290. They encompass a variety of charges and all elicit highly-charged emotions from judges and juries, which is why it is critical that an individual accused of one of these offenses hires a skilled California criminal attorney who specializes in sex crime defense and who knows the most effective ways to defend against the devastating and life-changing consequences that such a conviction carries.
When an individual commits certain sex acts against a child who is younger than 14 years of age and who is seven or more years younger than the accused, a felony aggravated sexual assault charge will be filed, subjecting the offender to fifteen years to life in prison. These acts include rape (when committed using force, violence or threats to kidnap, falsely imprison, or inflict extreme bodily injury or death upon the victim or another, or when the accused acted in concert with another), sodomy (when committed under the same circumstances), oral copulation (when committed under the same circumstances) and sexual penetration (when committed against the victim's will by means of force, violence or intimidation). The court will impose a consecutive sentence for each offense that results in a conviction under these circumstances if the crime involves separate victims or involves the same victim on separate occasions.
A prison sentence of 25 years to life will be imposed upon conviction for of an individual who is over the age of 18 and engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child who is 10 years of age or younger. Fifteen years to life will be imposed in conjunction with a conviction for orally copulating or sexually penetrating a minor 10 years of age or under by an individual 18 years of age or older.
Continuous sexual child abuse will be charged against an individual who either lives with the abused child under the age of 14 or who has recurring access to the child and engages in three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct (which means oral copulation, masturbation or sexual penetration) or three or more acts of lewd or lascivious conduct (which means any act done with the intent to arouse, appeal to or gratify the lust, passions or sexual desires of the accused or victim) over a minimum three-month period. A conviction for this offense carries a six, twelve or sixteen-year prison sentence. A defendant may be charged with only one count under this section unless the other charged offense occurred under a different time period or more than one victim was involved.
The least serious sex crimes against children involve situations where an individual knowingly distributes, sends or exhibits any harmful matter (that is, sexual material that lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors) to a child with the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of him or herself or the minor, with the intent or purpose of seducing the minor. Upon a first conviction, the accused faces either a misdemeanor or a felony, punishable by up to one year in jail or prison, and upon a second or subsequent conviction, the crime will automatically be classified as a felony. Distributing, sending or exhibiting these materials in aid of legitimate sex education or scientific educational purposes will serve as a defense to this crime.
It should be noted that a person convicted of committing any of the above acts against a child under 14 years of age shall not have his or her sentence suspended until the court obtains a report from a reputable psychiatrist or psychologist as to the mental condition of the accused.
The outstanding criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of Brian Michaels have mastered the defenses that are pertinent to these crimes and the ways in which they are most successfully applied. To secure an unparalleled defense and the most trusted legal advice from a firm that is dedicated to protecting their clients' rights, contact them today for a free consultation.