6 Common Defenses For Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

For anyone facing potential charges for continuous sexual assault of a child, good legal protection is essential. This is one of the most serious charges a person can be convicted of, and it incurs some of the harshest penalties. It’s in your best interest to hire a qualified continuous sexual assault of a child defense lawyer in California.

Lawyers with experience defending against these severe charges will be able to protect you much more effectively than others. They can also provide a thorough legal plan for dealing with the allegations. 

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child in California

Continuous sexual assault of a child is a severe felony charge, and it’s essential to understand how it differs from other sexual abuse charges.

The specifics differ between states, but in California, it is defined as three or more acts of sexual conduct against a child under the age of 14 for at least three months. Additionally, the perpetrator must live in the same house as the child or has regular access to the victim, such as a teacher or coach.

The prosecution must prove that all of these elements are present: 

  • Child under the age of 14
  • Acts taking place over three or more months
  • Substantial sexual conduct
  • At least three instances of sexual conduct

Because of these conditions, continuous sexual assault can be challenging to prove. The specificity of the charge creates the potential for defense arguments. 

If convicted, the consequences may include up to 16 years in state prison. The perpetrator will also have to register as a sex offender. For non-citizens, it’s considered a deportable crime. 

What Are the Most Common Defenses?

It’s possible to argue against a charge using a tactical legal defense. The type of defense a lawyer uses will depend on the unique circumstances of each case.

A lawyer will review the case and the evidence to determine the best course of action for the defense. An experienced attorney will provide the attention each case needs and create a legal plan that fits the situation perfectly.

Experienced attorneys understand how to investigate allegations and find discrepancies between the accusations and the criteria for continuous sexual assault of a child.

These are some of the defenses used most frequently in cases concerning the continuous sexual assault of a child.

1. Lack of Credibility in Accusations

One of the first lines of defense is arguing that the child sex abuse allegations are false. In some cases, children can get confused about what happened. They may even be coached by an adult to repeat a made-up story.

Your attorney can refer to the accuser’s statement to CPS or police. They can also look at biases and other reasons behind false allegations, such as discipline, psychological issues, a messy divorce, and more.

2. Romeo and Juliet Defense

The Romeo and Juliet defense is a classic defense employed to protect young people who are involved in a sexual relationship.

This defense applies only to situations where the accused is less than five years older than the victim. It can protect high schoolers and other young people who get involved in a relationship with their peers. 

3. No Access to the Child

Another avenue of argument is that the accused did not have recurring, consistent access to the child. To fit under this charge, the defendant must have access to the child on a regular basis. This includes people who live in the same household, neighbors, teachers, and other fixtures in a child’s life.

An attorney may choose to argue that the defendant did not have frequent access to the child and that they did not meet regularly.  If that’s the case, the offense can’t be considered continuous sexual assault of a child. This option is best suited for those who do not have a teacher role or community leadership role.

4. No Child Involved

The lawyer may choose to pursue the angle that no child was involved in the incident. Under the terms set forth by the California penal code, a child is a person under 14 years of age.

The defense attorney can focus on proving that the other party in the incident was over 14 and therefore, not considered a child in this context. If this is the case, a lawyer can get the charges dropped.

5. No Sexual Conduct

The attorney may choose to argue that no sexual conduct was involved. If there was no sexual motivation behind the act, and it was not substantially sexual in nature, then it does not fit the criteria for this charge.

The law outlines what constitutes sexual conduct, and any gesture that falls outside that description can potentially be considered innocent and therefore nonsexual. 

6. Law Enforcement Misconduct

If law enforcement doesn’t follow strict rules during an investigation, any evidence or confessions obtained can be thrown out. A coerced confession, for example, is inadmissible in court. Similarly, if they obtained evidence illegally, a lawyer may be able to argue against its use.

These are only a few of the potential defenses attorneys use. Experienced lawyers will look at every aspect of a case and find an angle that provides their clients with the highest chance of a successful outcome.

Finding a Trusted Defense Lawyer for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

When facing serious charges, defendants need to get proper legal protection. The best way to deal with being charged with a crime is by facing the issue head-on. The best defense lawyers have years of experience defending their clients and finding ways to get the most favorable results.

Contact LibertyBell Law Group to learn more about your legal options. Our attorneys work hard and leave no stone unturned for your defense case. We offer free consultations to see if your case is a good fit for our team!

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