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California Penal Code 647.6 makes it unlawful to molest or annoy any child under the age of 18. The punishment of annoying or molesting a minor is severe, especially if the offender had an unnatural sexual interest in the child.
Charges for Los Angeles annoying or molesting a child under 18
For you to be convicted of child molestation, the prosecutor must prove that:
1. The child was under the age of 18
2. You indeed engaged in the act directed at the child
3. The act was motivated by abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in the child
You don’t have to make physical contact with the minor for you to be convicted of committing the offense. Criminal liability can also be brought about by non-physical conducts, such as taking a photograph or picture of the child, offensive body language, or verbal insults. Basically, almost any offensive conduct directed at a child under the age of 18, be it verbal or physical, can result in criminal charges.
Defending a charge of annoying or molesting a minor (under the age of 18)
There’s no one-size-fits-all defense for this criminal offense; the defense always depends on the particular circumstances under which the crime was committed. Here are some of the defenses a Los Angeles child molestation attorney could use to defend you:
1. Attacking the credibility of a key witness or the accuser— if the accuser is found to have a history of lying, the case could be dismissed.
2. Proving that your conduct wasn’t motivated by an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in the child—you cannot be convicted of violating Penal Code 647.6 PC if your conduct wasn’t motivated by sexual interest in the minor. Under this section, a conduct is not considered a crime if it is innocent, or if there was another motive.
3. Submitting private defense polygraph examination results—the defense may be allowed to carry out private polygraph examinations. The results can, therefore, be kept confidential. The person who conducts the private lie detector tests must be credible.
Although inadmissible in court, polygraph results showing you are telling the truth could persuade the prosecution to drop your case.
4. Proving that your conduct wasn’t directed at a child under the age of 18
5. Proving that the conduct wouldn’t have injured, irritated, offended, or disturbed a normal person
1. Misdemeanor violations: if the criminal offense is charged as a misdemeanor, the sentence will be a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in county jail.
2. Felony violations: if one has a prior Penal Code 647.6 PC conviction, the crime can be charged as a felony. The punishment is 3 to 6 years in state prison, depending on the circumstances.
3. Registration as a sex offender: if you are found guilty of violating Penal Code 647.6 PC, you will be subjected to mandatory sex offender registration.
In addition, your home address, picture, convictions, as well as other personal details will be made public on the Megan’s Law website. This may make both your personal and professional life to be miserable. Due to restricting laws, you’ll find it difficult to get a job or even affordable housing.
You may, however, request to be excluded from the website, if your case is charged as a misdemeanor. Nonetheless, you’ll still have to register as a sex offender, unless you are issued with a California certificate of rehabilitation.
Call us for assistance
If you are being investigated, or are accused of annoying or molesting a child under 18 in Los Angeles, you need to contact our law firm as soon as possible, so we can help you win your case. Our child molestation defense attorneys are experienced in handling such cases.