California Penal Code 288(i) PC
A lewd act with a minor causing bodily harm involves an individual touching a child under the age of 14 for sexual purposes or making a child touch themselves or someone else for a sexual purpose.
California Penal Code 288(i) PC makes it a serious felony offense for someone to commit a lewd act on a minor under 14 to inflict bodily harm on them in the commission of the crime. If you are convicted of this sex offense, you face a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Readers should note that this crime requires that the victim is physically harmed in some way during the encounter. Some examples of lewd acts with a minor causing harm include:
- A physical strike to a 12-year old's face after the perpetrator grabbed the minor's buttocks;
- An adult forcefully pinching the breasts of a 13-year-old girl;
- An adult squeezing a young boy's genitals, causing pain.
The primary statute for lewd acts with a minor is defined under Penal Code 288(a) PC. Lewd and lascivious acts include willful touching of a child for sexual purposes on the body of a minor under 14. In the context of lewd acts, “willfully” means it was on purpose and not an accident touching.
The “touching” must be made to arouse or gratify the lust of the perpetrator, the minor child, or someone else.
The bodily harm required for a conviction for lewd acts with a minor causing harm involves any substantial injury connected to the encounter where the lewd act allegedly took place. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will examine this topic in more detail below.
What are the Penalties for a PC 288(i) Conviction?
Being convicted of 288(i) PC, lewd acts with a minor causing injury will result in the following:
- felony on your public criminal record,
- life in state prison with parole,
- mandatory sex registry.
There is the possibility of parole with this charge, and a judge can order probation if they deem it appropriate. An individual convicted of this charge also must register as a sex offender for life.
Can this Crime Be Expunged?
No. Felony convictions in California cannot be expunged, so a conviction for a lewd act with a minor causing harm cannot be expunged under state law.
The best way to prevent a conviction from resulting in a lifetime criminal is to avoid being convicted in the first place with the best defense possible. Sex offense crimes that involve children in every state, including California.
What are the Related Sex Offenses?
In California, there are several state offenses related to lewd acts with a minor causing harm; they include lewd acts with a minor child without force, lewd acts with a minor using force, and lewd acts with force by a caretaker, and statutory rape. They are defined under their respective sections of the California Penal Code at:
Penal Code 288(a) PC - lewd acts with a minor child without force. This involves a willfully committing an indecent act with a child under 14 for the sexual gratification of the adult or minor. This is a felony charge that carries up to three, six, or eight years in a California state prison upon conviction. It also results in sex offender registration for 20 years.
Penal Code 288(b)(1) PC - lewd acts with a minor using force. This involves a willfully committing a lewd act with a child under 14 for the sexual gratification of the adult or minor, and force or violence was used to accomplish the act. This is a felony charge that carries up to five, eight, or ten years in a California state prison upon conviction. It also results in lifetime sex offender registration.
Penal Code 288(b)(2) PC - lewd acts with force by a caretaker. This involves a caretaker of a dependent or impaired person committing a lewd act on the impaired person. This is a felony charge that carries up to five, eight, or ten years in a California state prison upon conviction. This also results in lifetime sex offender registration.
Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation with a minor. This felony crime also applies to oral copulation with any person when it's accomplished using force, violence, duress, menace, or fear. If convicted, you are facing up to 8 years in state prison.
Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape. It would be a crime to engage in sexual intercourse without anyone under 18 years old, even if there were consent. Minors can't legally give consent to sexual activity. This crime is a wobbler that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
What Are the Best Legal Defenses?
There are several defenses for a lewd act charge with a minor causing harm. The most common defenses to this charge include:
False allegation. This involves attacking the honesty of the child accuser and providing reasons why the accusations are untrue and may be fabricated. There are many motivations why someone would not tell the truth about actions such as these. Perhaps the child was coached to lie by an adult with other motives, such as jealousy or anger. Maybe we could find evidence that proves the allegations are false or overly exaggerated.
No injury. This involves attacking the main element of this charge as physical evidence of an injury should have been present and is not.
Accidental touching. A conviction for this charge requires a willful touching or lewd act. The prosecutor must prove that the touching or lewd act was on purpose and not an accident.
Confession was coerced. If you confessed to police to committing lewd acts with a minor child, perhaps we could make a reasonable argument that overzealous police detectives used unlawful coercive techniques to obtain the confession.
If we can prove the police coerced you to confess to a crime you didn't commit, the judge has the option to exclude the confession from being used against you, or they could dismiss the case. Another defense includes Constitutional violations by law enforcement which can lead to the suppression of any evidence retrieved illegally.
If you have been charged with Penal Code 288(i) lewd act with a minor causing bodily harm, perhaps we could negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or even a case dismissal. Further, prefiling negotiation with law enforcement and the District Attorney's Office might be possible to persuade them from filing formal criminal charges being filed in the first place, commonly called a “DA reject.”
Eisner Gorin LLP is based in Los Angeles County, and we serve people throughout Southern California. You can reach us for an initial case review by calling (877) 781-1570 or filling out the contact form.