Facing Lewd Acts on a Minor Charges?
About Child Molestation Criminal Charges in South Carolina
Committing lewd acts on a minor is a serious child molestation charge in South Carolina. It is a felony prosecuted in the court of general sessions. It may be prosecuted by either the solicitor's office or the State Attorney General's Office. It is codified in S.C. Code §16-15-140. Contact us if you are being investigated for child molestation.
Those convicted of a lewd act face a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, as well as being classified as a sex offender. Upon release they will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to S.C. Code §23-3-430. This is a public database of individuals who have been convicted of a sexually related offense, and it is broadly available online.
A lewd act on a minor is the criminal offense of intentionally touching the body of a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desires of either the child or the defendant. No sexual penetration is required. Cases where penetration is alleged are usually charged under the Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) statute. There is no requirement that an allegation of a lewd act be corroborated by medical testimony or any other witness other than the child. Consent of the minor is also not a defense.
As an attorney experienced in representing clients on sex crime charges, James Snell understands that individuals can be falsely accused and wrongly arrested by law enforcement. Many times the arrest comes as a result of a personal conflict involving one of the children's parents, such as a pending divorce or a child custody dispute. He is able to assist South Carolina residents, including those in Lexington and Columbia, among other areas.
Defending Against Lewd Act Charges
There are many potential defenses to a lewd act charge. Examples include:
- A delay in reporting the allegation to law enforcement
- No corroborating evidence
- Inconsistent statements
- Coaching by a parent or guardian
These cases are among the most serious charges a defendant can face. Unlike most other crimes there doesn't have to be any related physical act or evidence. For example every murder requires a death, every burglary a building and every theft some property. But a lewd act charge doesn't require anything other than an accusation.
Take Action to Defend Your Future in Lexington, SC
To defend clients charged with a lewd act, we recommend a thorough and complete investigation into the facts of the case. Private investigators are employed to locate and interview witnesses. Polygraph examinations are regularly scheduled for our clients to refute the charges. Psychological evaluations can demonstrate that a defendant doesn't fit the profile of a sex offender. Experts on forensically evaluating child sex abuse investigators can be used to show shortcuts or errors committed by law enforcement. There are many ways to fight the charges, but the key to success is to take action now. Contact a Lexington criminal lawyer for a free consultation today.