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Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child Lawyer in West Covina

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Facing a charge for continuous sexual abuse of a child can be a frightening experience. A conviction carries with it a lengthy prison sentence and a requirement to register as a sex offender. These penalties can affect you for the rest of your life, damaging your reputation and making it difficult to get a job, find a home, or even qualify for government programs. Because the State seeks to ensure the safety of children, it harshly prosecutes these types of crimes and will fight hard to land a guilty verdict. If you were charged, having a skilled attorney on your side can level the playing field and could minimize the potential consequences of a conviction on your life.

At Coimbra Law Firm, we believe in and uphold the presumption of innocence, and we never pass judgment because of the charges you’re facing. Our attorney will learn the details of your circumstances from your perspective and conduct a thorough investigation to build a solid legal strategy. We are dedicated to our representation, and we will work toward a favorable outcome in your case. In our decade and a half of combined experience, we have obtained dismissals, reductions, and acquittals for past clients, and we are ready to put our knowledge and skills to work for you.

For the aggressive defense you need, call us at (626) 827-7222.

What Constitutes Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child?

Under California Penal Code Section 288.5, a person commits continuous sexual abuse of a child if they live with the minor or have recurring contact with them and engages in specific acts with them. For conduct to violate the law, it must have occurred a period of 3 or more months with a child under 14 years of age at the time of the offense.

The specific acts prohibited by California Penal Code Section 288.5 include:

  • Substantial sexual conduct: This includes oral copulation, masturbation, or sexual penetration of the vagina or rectum by the other’s penis or vagina or a foreign object. The act is illegal whether it is committed to the child or the alleged perpetrator.
  • Lewd or lascivious conduct: This is defined as willfully touching the child to sexually arouse them or the alleged perpetrator. Actual arousal does not need to occur, and the contact need not be on the child’s bare skin or private parts for the act to be considered unlawful. This conduct also includes acts instigated by the perpetrator that involve the child touching their own or someone else’s body.

What Are the Penalties for this Offense?

If your case goes to trial, the prosecutor must present evidence that convinces the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense. The jury must agree unanimously that you engaged in three or more prohibited acts for at least 3 months. However, they do not have to come to a consensus about the acts that occurred. In other words, it is enough for a jury to give a guilty verdict as long as they all agree that at least 3 acts occurred without agreeing on which specific conduct took place. The rationale for this is because it is not the acts that are criminalized; instead, the number of times they occur is unlawful.

Continuous sexual abuse of a child is a felony, and if you are found guilty, you could face 6, 12, or 16 years in state prison. Additionally, you must register as a Tier III sex offender, which means you would have to submit your information to law enforcement for life.

Possible Defenses for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child

Depending on the circumstances of each case, different defenses could apply to a violation of Penal Code § 288.5.

A few defenses that could be raised include, but are not limited to:

  • False allegations
  • Involuntary intoxication
  • Forced confessions

A child giving consent or agreeing to the sexual contact or lewd or lascivious conduct is never a defense for this crime.

For Professional Legal Counsel, Reach Out to Coimbra Law Firm

If you were accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child, the conviction penalties are not only severe but also life-ruining. Because of the possible ramifications, it is important to have an experienced and aggressive lawyer defend you. Our attorney in West Covina will provide personalized representation and work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected.

Speak with us during a free consultation by calling (626) 827-7222 or filling out an online contact form

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