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PC 288(a)

Lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under 14

Information on the crime of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under 14 is found at California penal code section 288(a).

PC 288(a) Law (Abbr.)

PC 288(a): Any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of PC 288(a).

If the defendant personally inflicted bodily harm upon the victim the defendant shall be imprisoned in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole. “Bodily harm” means any substantial physical injury resulting from the use of force that is more than the force necessary to commit the offense (PC 288(i)(1)) .

lewd and lascivious act means an inappropriate sexual touching anywhere on the body of the defendant or the minor. The touching can be either when the minor is touched by the defendant or when the defendant is touched by the minor if the touching is directed or forced by the defendant. The touching does not have to be skin to skin contact or on the genitals of either the defendant or the victim.

Touching a minor, even in a minor's sexual areas, is not a lewd and lascivious act, unless the touching is made by the defendant with the specific intent to sexually arouse the defendant or the minor. On the other hand, if the defendant touches a minor, or causes a minor to touch the defendant, for the purpose of sexually arousing the defendant or the minor, then the touching is a lewd and lascivious act no matter where on the body of either the defendant or the minor that the touching occurred.

PC 288(a) Sentence & Punishment

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is period of supervision instead of a prison sentence. Probation sentences carry conditions of probation, or terms of probation, that must be followed in order to avoid further punishment, including an actual prison sentence. A probation sentence for PC 288(a) is called felony probation and is supervised and monitored by a felony probation officer. Probation sentences are allowed for PC 288(a) crimes but only in special circumstances. Whether or not a probation sentence is available in any particular PC 288(a) case depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Suspended & Split Prison Sentences: New California law allows for some prison sentences to be suspended or split so long as the defendant successfully completes a felony probationary period. A suspended sentence is a predetermined prison term length that is stayed (not served) unless and until the defendant violates a term of his or her felony probation. A split prison sentence is a prison sentence that is served partially in prison and partially out of prison on work release. A suspended or split prison sentence (commonly called a joint suspended sentence) is ordered as a term of probation in some felony cases where probation is allowed (see probation above). However, a suspended or split prison sentence does not necessarily have to be included in any felony probation sentence. Usually, a suspended or split prison is ordered as a probation term as part of a negotiated settlement between the district attorney and the defense attorney.

Note: Suspended and split prison sentences are not available in lewd and lascivious acts on a minor (PC 288(a)) cases. However, in PC 288(a) cases, it is not unheard of for the attorneys to negotiate a settlement, whereby the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a crime different than PC 288(a), so as to allow a suspended or split sentence.

Sex Offender Registration: If found guilty of lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under 14 (PC 288(a)), the defendant will be ordered to register as a sex offender pursuant to PC 290. For more information please see sex offender registration requirements.

(e) Upon the conviction of any person for a violation of subdivision (a) or (b), the court may, in addition to any other penalty or fine imposed, order the defendant to pay an additional fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). In setting the amount of the fine, the court shall consider any relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the seriousness and gravity of the offense, the circumstances of its commission, whether the defendant derived any economic gain as a result of the crime, and the extent to which the victim suffered economic losses as a result of the crime. Every fine imposed and collected under this section shall be deposited in the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund to be available for appropriation to fund child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse victim counseling centers and prevention programs pursuant to Section 13837.

If you have been charged with PC 288(a), or lewd and lascivious acts on a minor, contact our sex crimes attorneys today, or visit PC 288(a) for more information. 


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