I was molested as a child
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What Are The Punishments and Best Defenses For a Conviction Under PC 288_

Child molestation is a severe crime to commit not only in the state of California but throughout the United States. That is why the penalties you can receive are serious and depend on several factors, including,, but not limited to:
  • The age of the child.
  • Whether the act was accomplished by violence, force, threats, or duress.
  • Whether there were multiple lewd acts.
  • The age of the defendant.

In this chart below, you will see the various penalties one can receive for lewd actions under Penal Code 288. 

Penal Code 288 Violation

Penal Code 288 Penalty 

A child is under 14, and no force is used.

Up to 8 years in state prison, felony probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.

A child is under 14, and force was used.

Up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000

A Child is 14 or 15 years old, and the defendant is ten or more years older.

Between 1 to 3 years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000 or up to a year in county jail, and a fine of up to $1,000.

A child is 16 or 17 years old.

Prosecuted under Penal Code 261.

Habitual sex offender.

25 years to life in prison.

The lewd act is done with force by a caretaker. 

Up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Registration as a California Sex Offender 

If convicted under Penal Code 288, the defendant is required to register as a California sex offender. As of January 2021, sex offenders get divided into three tiers based on the severity of the crime they committed: 

Sex Offender Tier

Minimum Registration Period

Tier 1

10 years

Tier 2

20 years

Tier 3


Under the new rules, a first-time offender will be placed in Tier 1. Tier 2 sex offenders will be required to register as sex offenders for at least 20 years. Lifetime registration (tier 3) as for as follows: 

  • Two or multiple sex offender convictions that fall under Penal Code 288.
  • Any conviction under Penal Code 288 (b),(i). 
Possible Legal Defenses 

There are a lot of legal defense strategies against charges of lewd and lascivious acts against a child in California. Some of the most popular ones are as follows: 

  • There was contact, but no sexual arousal occurred or was intended.
  • The contact was entirely accidental.
  • The child blames the wrong person.
  • The child is lying or is mistaken.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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