A lewd act is an indecent act that is usually meant to create or satisfy sexual pleasures. However, a lewd act can also be public intoxication, indecent exposure, peeping through windows, loitering, begging, and obstructing public walkways. Lewd acts are acts that are going against what is considered to be the common norm. Behavior that is meant to cause arousal to yourself or to another person or that aims to cause an annoyance or disrespect to others, is considered a lewd act. For the purpose of this document, lewd acts will be defined as touching that aims to create arousal or sexual pleasure.

A lewd act is considered a crime by the United States courts that can be punished as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. If and when a child is present or involved in a lewd act with an adult, the consequences almost always warrant a felony. A felony for lewd acts with a child will contribute to a strike under California’s three strike rule.

In the state of California, in order to be convicted of Lewd Acts with a Minor, a violation of Penal Code 288, the prosecuting party must establish that 1) the violator willingly (knowingly) touched a minor under the age of 18 (higher consequences apply if it is a child under the age of 14), 2) if the touching was meant to arouse either the violator or the child.

Penal Code 288 requires the prosecutor to prove that the actions were done so with the purpose of creating arousal or sexual pleasure. Proving that the touching or other actions were done so with the purpose to satisfy a sexual pleasure can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. There are a number of steps that the prosecutor may take in order to prove that the there was a violation of PC 288. Because the consequences are harsh, the prosecutor must be able to provide enough evidence in order to convict an individual of lewd acts with a child.

Unfortunately, there are times when certain individuals can be falsely accused of committing a lewd act with a child. There are times that if you are a stepparent you can be falsely accused by a child that does not like you. In other cases, physician, teachers, and other professionals that are in contact with children may be falsely accused by a child for a variety of reasons. Any accusation is treated very seriously and will be thoroughly investigated in order to come to a just conclusion. The law aims to protect the rights of a child and punish those who violate the PC 288, but it also acknowledges that individuals can be wrongly convicted. Individuals who are wrongly convicted can face severe punishments that can reduce their overall freedoms.

If you are being charged with Lewd acts with a child under PC 288, you should contact a local state attorney today. Lewd acts with a child can result in long jail/prison sentences and high fines. On top of facing jail time and fines, a person convicted of lewd acts with a child, whether the case resulted in a misdemeanor or a felony, the violator will be required to register a sex offender. If you are in need of legal guidance, you may contact the Orange County Criminal Attorney at 714-831-1858 to discuss the specifics of your case. Upon reviewing your case, we can provide a clear game plan in order contest the accusation in a courtroom. An experienced attorney may be capable of dismissing the case and/or reducing the sentence terms for individuals that are charged with lewd acts with a child.

If you are a parent, teacher, or a mandated reporter, it is important to keep in mind that if a child accuses another person of lewd conduct, the accusation should be seriously considered and reported immediately to local authorities. Not all children accuse others with the intent of getting them in trouble with the law. In some cases, it may even be difficult for a child to open up about any type of abuse which is why every accusation should be never be ignored.

To learn more about the specific language behind California Penal Code 288, you may visit the following government website at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=288.&lawCode=PEN


What Are Actions Are Considered Unlawful With A Child?

There are a number of actions that involve a child that can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies in the state of California. Some actions hold higher consequences than others, but whatever the case may be, if you are caught committing an indecent act with a child, you will be required to register as a sex offender for a lifetime. Registering as a sex offender is never a fun thing. You will be required to live certain distances from schools, libraries, parks, and other public places where children may be found. On top of dealing with a restricted living situation, you will find that some companies will refuse to hire a person that is registered as a sex offender.

For the reasons mentioned above, it is usually a good idea to stay as far away as possible from children under the age of 18 unless you have a reason or legitimate purpose to talk to and/or engage with a young adult or child. As a rule of thumb, you will want to avoid any of the following actions:

Soliciting For Sexual Favors

Soliciting for sexual favors means asking a person to either group or touch your genitalia, asking a person to perform oral sex, asking a person to take their clothes off, and/or asking a person to have sex with you. In the state of California, soliciting sex is the same as soliciting for prostitution. The crime is usually punished with a misdemeanor and will not require that the offender register as a sex offender. However, if the any of the above-mentioned requests are directed to a child, the individual may be charged with a misdemeanor and be required to register as a sex offender.

Example: Jerry is a 41-year-old teacher who has just asked a student of his (who is under the age of 15) to engage in a sexual favor. The child refuses and runs to the principal to tell him/her what happened. Jerry can be charged with a felony for soliciting sex with a person under the age of 15. Even though there was no touching involved, Jerry violated the law by requesting a sexual favor from a child. To learn more about soliciting and prostitution, you may visit the following page practice-areas/sex-crimes/prostitution-and-solicitation

Having Sex With A Child

The act of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under the age of consent will usually warrant a felony. Individuals who are convicted of having sex with a child under the age of 18, will be required to register as sex offender. In addition, they may be charged with statutory rape (sex with a minor) or sexual assault of a minor. If the child is over the age of 14, the case may be treated with a misdemeanor or as a lower level felony. Whatever the case may be, the crime will reflect on your criminal record and the incident will become public knowledge. Individuals who are charged with having sex with a child will be charged with statutory rape. You may visit the following page to learn more practice-areas/sex-crimes/statutory-rape

Asking The Child To Feature In A Pornography

Like with soliciting for sexual pleasures, in asking a child to feature in a pornography, no touching is involved, but the act of requesting the child to appear naked in front of a recording device is considered a crime. The felony can result in up to three years in state prison and a lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Videotaping Or Taking Pictures Of A Nude Child

If you use a recording device to take pictures or videotape of a child performing sexual activities or while nude, you may be charged with a felony.

Touching The Child With Or Without His/Her Permission

Even if a child gives you consent, the act of touching a child for sexual reasons is illegal. Under the law, the child has not reached the age of consent meaning that they are unable to lawfully consent to sexual intercourse or sexual acts. When you touch a child’s bare skin or clothing, the act is considered unlawful if it is done with the purpose of creating arousal or to satisfy a sexual pleasure.

Sending Nude Pictures To A Child

It is also illegal to send pictures of your genitals to a child under the age of 18 and it is even more penalized when the child is under the age of 14. Sending or receiving nude pics and engaging in a form of phone sex can be charged with a felony and will usually constitute lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Consequences Of A Sex Offender

When you commit one of the abovementioned crimes and you are convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, you will be required to register yourself as a sex offender. If you are in the state of California, you will be required to register with the California Sex Offender Register. The registry is open to public access meaning that your neighbors, your employer, and other members of society are capable of looking up your name. Having a red dot next to your name means that you will face some form of discrimination and in some cases, you may be targeted by your neighbors.

The registry should be kept up to date meaning that if you change the address you will need to update your registration information. The information that you must register is the following: 1) your full name, 2) your address, 3) your employers address, 4) if you are a student, you will need to include your school name and address. If you have more questions about a what it means to be a sex offender, you may visit the following government page https://www.smart.gov/faqs/faq_registration.htm

If you are a sex offender, you will have to follow certain procedures in order to stay on the good side of the law. In California, a sex offender:

  • Must register with the local sex offender registry
  • Must live in a designated area that is a certain distance away from where children may be found including schools, parks, libraries, amusement parks, retail stores, malls, and other areas that are open to the public.
  • Like felons, sex offenders may not own firearms and may not participate in the voting process.
  • May be required to live in a secured facility
  • May not be allowed to participate in Halloween related activities such as passing out candies or anything that involves children.

A sex offender may lose some of the civil rights that we enjoy and take for granted on the daily bases. A sex offender will have to consider a wide set of rules that dictate their every move and limits their freedoms.


Individuals who are charged with lewd acts with a child will usually be part of an investigation that aims to find proof of an indecent act with a child. The police will investigate all charges in attempts to find a violation of CA PC 288.

In general, an investigation goes as follows:

  • The incident is reported either to a school faculty member, to a police officer, and to an adult that later reports the incident to the local authorities.
  • A psychologist will interview and record an interview with the child
  • The child will undergo a medical exam to establish if the violator touched or hurt the child. In addition, the examiner will look for any evidence of saliva, hair follicle, and other matter that may be used to show that there was contact between the accused and the accuser.
  • The police will conduct an investigation of the accused criminal history. The police will try to find if the violator has past convictions of lewd acts with a child.
  • The police may then approach you to talk about the issue at hand. If a police approach you, you have the right to remain silent and speak with an attorney.
  • The police may also request that you take a lie detector test
  • If the police find enough evidence, you may be arrested and/or required to attend a court hearing.



If you are entering a courtroom with charges for lewd acts with a child, it is best to contact a lawyer who is capable of assessing your case and applying local state laws. If you would like to have your case assessed by a law professional, you may contact the Orange County Criminal Attorney at 714-831-1858.