ventura criminal defense attorneyNo one ever wants to find themselves in a situation where they are accused of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, but it happens more often than you might think.

We often see normally law-abiding people who found themselves victims of misunderstandings or false accusations, and now they are forced to fight the criminal justice system. Accusations of aggravated sexual assault of a child are very serious, and if convicted, it could have ramifications on the rest of your life.

Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a felony, punishable by 15 years to life in California State Prison and mandatory lifetime registration as a Tier 3 sex offender. Even if you are not convicted, you’ll have to fight the stigma in your personal and professional life of being accused of abusing children.

There is good news: You don’t have to do it alone. If you or someone you love has been accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child, it’s critical to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will not only build your legal defense, but they will also fight to preserve your reputation in public life as well.

What is aggravated sexual assault of a child?

Anytime a criminal case makes it to court, the prosecutor has to prove to the jury that certain facts of the case were true. These are known as the “elements of the crime.” If the jury believes that all of the elements were true, the defendant can be convicted.

Aggravated sexual assault of a child has three elements:

  1. The defendant committed one of the following acts with the child. 
    1. Rape
    2. Sodomy
    3. Oral copulation
    4. Sexual penetration
  2. The child was under the age of 14 at the time of the act.
  3. The defendant is more than 7 years older than the child.

In other words, this charge only punishes sexual activity between an adult and child. Situations like kissing and touching fall under lesser penalties.

Penalties for aggravated sexual assault of a child

As we mentioned above, aggravated sexual assault of a child is a felony in California. It is punishable by:

  • 15 years to life in California State Prison. If there was more than one victim or more than one sexual act, you could be subject to consecutive prison terms. This means that if you are convicted for five counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, for example, you could be sentenced to 75 years to five life sentences in prison.
  • Mandatory registration as a “Tier 3” sex offender for the rest of your life. Appearing on the sex offender registry can have consequences in your professional life, preventing you from keeping professional licenses and getting jobs. It also restricts where you may live.

Defenses against aggravated sexual assault of a child charges

“Robert Helfend is one of the best criminal defense attorneys I’ve ever worked with. He was so knowledgeable, and always made sure I understood everything every step of the way. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who wants an understanding, caring, and truly helpful lawyer.” Pat, CA

Facing accusations for aggravated sexual assault of a child can be an anxious time, but there is good news. Depending on the facts and evidence in your case, there might be defenses available to you.

For example, the most common defense that we see is the age difference between the defendant and the victim. If it can be proven that the victim was older than 14 at the time or that the age difference was less than 7 years, then the defendant cannot be convicted of aggravated sexual assault.

As well, in cases like these, hearsay is rampant and evidence is slim. The prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual encounter took place between the defendant and victim. In many cases, it just isn’t possible.

Each case is different, and your defense attorney can carefully examine the evidence in your case to determine the best defense for you. Robert M. Helfend is a specialist in sex crimes cases, defending thousands of clients to favorable judgements since 1984. He is rated by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 and Lead Counsel.

Call today for your free case evaluation — 805-273-5611.