Mar 30, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
Oral copulation with a minor is a crime under California Penal Code 287. Minors are legally incapable of consenting to sexual acts, so sexual acts with a minor are always illegal. This means that consent is not a defense to oral copulation with a minor since the age of consent in California is 18 years old. These charges are very serious. California law requires any person convicted of a sex crime to register as a sex offender for life. Note that a criminal defense lawyer can potentially help you reduce or eliminate charges, so it’s crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in California as soon as possible. What Is Oral Copulation of a Minor? Penal code 287 defines oral copulation as “the act of copulating the mouth of one person with the sexual organ or anus of another person.” Even slight contact can count as oral copulation. The basic elements of the crime of oral copulation with a minor that the prosecutor must prove are: You engaged in oral copulation with another person, and The other person was under the age of 18. In most cases, the penalty will be based on the relative ages of the victim and the accused. If the victim is 16 or older or the accused is 21 or younger, then the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of up to one year in county jail. A felony conviction, on the other hand, carries a penalty of 16 months, two years, or three years in prison. If the victim is under 16 and the accused is over 21, then the crime is always a felony. This can carry a sentence of sixteen months, two years, or three years in prison. If the victim is under 14 years old and the accused is more than 10 years older than the victim, potential penalties increase to as many as eight years in prison. How Can I Defend Myself Against a Charge of Oral Copulation with a Minor? A criminal defense attorney can help you defend yourself against a charge for oral copulation with a minor. There are two common defenses that might apply in your case. False Accusation False accusations are common when it comes to sex crimes. For example, an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend may accuse you out of revenge or jealousy. A defense attorney may be able to help you prove that you were falsely accused. Your attorney will investigate the complaining witness’s claim and highlight inconsistencies in their story or their motivations to lie. Mistake of Fact If you actually believed the minor was over the age of 18 and that belief was reasonable, the prosecution cannot convict you of oral copulation with a minor under Penal Code 287. If the minor claimed to be over 18 or if their physical appearance made them look like an adult, this may support a claim that you reasonably believed they were over 18. Likewise, if you met the minor in a bar where you would have expected patrons to be over 21, you may have a reasonable belief that they were not a minor. Consult With a Sex Crimes Attorney If you have been accused, investigated, or charged with oral copulation with a minor, call the legal defense team at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, today. We understand the stress and stigma that can come with these kinds of accusations, and we are here to help. We provide compassionate, experienced legal defense for individuals accused of sex crimes in California. Call us or contact us online for a confidential and free consultation to learn what we can do for you.
Mar 26, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
Being accused of a child pornography crime is not something to take lightly. Child pornography crimes in California, which are governed by the Penal Code 311 series, can carry serious consequences, including being sentenced to prison and lifelong registration as a sex offender. If you have been accused of a Penal Code 311 child pornography crime, you need an experienced child pornography attorney on your side. With a strong defense, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. What Is Child Pornography? Child pornography includes any material—usually photographs or videos—depicting sexual conduct or simulated sexual conduct by someone under 18 years old. For some child pornography charges, the material must also be obscene. This means that, on the whole, it shows sexual conduct in a way that is “patently offensive” and has no “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Child Pornography Crimes in California There are several categories of child pornography crimes in California. Each of these carries serious potential consequences. It is important to have a knowledgeable child pornography attorney to help you protect your rights and determine what defenses might be available to you. Possession To be charged with possession of child pornography, the prosecutor must prove: You knowingly possessed child pornography, and You knew the material depicted a person under 18. A possession charge does not require proof that the material was obscene. For first-time offenders, a possession charge in state court carries a sentence of up to three years in state prison and a fine up to $2,500. (If probation is granted, the defendant can receive up to 365 days in the local jail.) A federal court conviction for the same conduct carries a sentence of up to ten years in federal prison followed by up to life on supervised release. Distribution There are several variations of child pornography distribution crimes in PC 311, but all require proof that: You distributed or offered to distribute child pornography to someone else; The material was in California; and You knew the material depicted someone under 18. Sentences for distribution depend on the variant of the crime. Some factors that will determine which variation the prosecutor charges you with include: Whether the material was obscene; Whether you used the material for commercial consideration, i.e., in a way that would benefit you, financially or otherwise; and Whether the person you distributed the material to was an adult or a minor. For some variations, the prosecutor can elect whether to charge the crime as a felony or a misdemeanor, which will also affect the final sentence. Sentences can range from one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine all the way up to six years in state prison and a $100,000 fine. ‘Additionally, federal convictions for distribution carry much more potential time in prison, including life in prison. Additional Crimes Other child pornography crimes in California include: Sexual exploitation of a child, Employing a minor to perform sex acts, Using a minor to engage in child pornography, and Advertising child pornography. The penalties for these crimes vary but can include: Incarceration ranging from one year in county jail to six years in prison, and Fines ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. A child pornography attorney can give you more detailed information about these various crimes and potential penalties. Talk to a Child Pornography Attorney If the state or the federal government has investigated or charged you with a child pornography crime, talk to a child pornography attorney in California right away. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, have years of experience defending clients against child pornography charges. We understand the stigma that comes with these kinds of charges, and we will provide sensitive and compassionate representation. Give us a call or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation. We can help you decide what defense strategy makes the most sense for your case.
Mar 16, 2020
| Read Time: 3 minutes
In California, Penal Code 647(a) makes it illegal to solicit or perform lewd conduct in public. Lewd conduct is defined as touching someone’s genitals, buttocks, or female breast (your own or someone else’s) either for sexual gratification or to offend or annoy others. If the prosecution has charged you with lewd conduct, you need a strong legal defense. The criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, are nationally renowned and have tried well over 100 jury trials. We can help you protect your reputation and your rights. What Are the Penalties for Lewd Conduct? Lewd conduct in California is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, the court could sentence you to: Up to six months in county jail, or A fine up to $1,000, or Both. The judge can order probation instead of jail time. This means that you will be under court supervision for up to three years and required to comply with probation requirements like: Counseling, Community service, Paying restitution, or Complying with a restraining order. You do not have to register as a sex offender for a conviction under Penal Code 647(a). However, a lewd conduct conviction will go on your criminal record and may affect your ability to obtain housing or employment. How Can I Defend Against a Lewd Conduct Charge in California? The prosecutor has to prove several facts before the court can convict you of lewd conduct in California: You willfully touched your own or someone else’s genitals, buttocks, or female breast; You intended to gratify or arouse yourself or someone else OR to offend or annoy another person; You were in either a public place or a place open to public view; There was a third person who was likely to be offended by the conduct; and You knew or reasonably should have known that the third person was present. If any of these facts are missing from your case, you cannot be convicted of lewd conduct under Penal Code 647(a). With that in mind, there are a number of defenses that might apply to your case. You Didn’t Do It If the touching didn’t happen, then you aren’t guilty of a crime. Perhaps a complaining witness didn’t see what they thought they saw or they misinterpreted it. Touching Was Accidental You can’t be held responsible for accidental touching. Accidentally bumping into someone or brushing against them is not willful touching. Touching Was Not Intended to Gratify, Arouse, or Offend If the touching did occur, but you did not intend to gratify, arouse, or offend someone, you can’t be guilty of lewd conduct. For example, scratching yourself or rubbing a stain out of someone’s clothing would not satisfy the intent requirement. The Area Was Not Open to Public View If the conduct took place in an enclosed area not open to public view, it is not illegal. You Did Not Know Someone Could See You For the court to convict you of lewd conduct, someone has to see you. And even if someone did see you, you cannot be convicted of you if you had no reason to believe that you could be seen. For example, if you took steps to seclude yourself but someone was peaking at you, you cannot be found guilty. How Do I Fight My Lewd Conduct Charge? If you have a lewd conduct charge in California, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights. We have an excellent track record of exonerating our clients and getting charges dismissed. We offer a free and confidential initial consultation so you can learn how we can help with your defense. Call or contact us online today.