California Child Molestation Defense Attorney – Penal Code 647.6 PC
Are You Being Falsely Accused of Child Molestation?
If you face child molestation charges in California, you need to immediately connect with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Although all criminal convictions result in consequences of one degree of severity or another, a child molestation conviction could result in fines, jail time, the loss of child custody, and even a lifelong branding as a sex offender. As child molestation charges can result in particularly severe conviction-related consequences, it is imperative that you begin building your defense with the aid of an experienced attorney as soon as you possibly can. Contact a sex crimes lawyer from My Rights Law by calling (888) 702-8882 or completing our secure web form for your free consultation today.
California’s Child Molestation Laws
Child molestation is a broad category of crimes. No single type of behavior can legally be described as “child molestation” in general. Instead, California law outlines several behaviors that can be described as different kinds of child molestation.
Generally speaking, California state law makes it illegal for anyone aged 18 or older to engage in sexual acts with an individual aged 17 or younger. This is the broadest definition of child molestation applied to specific acts. It is important to understand that sexual intercourse involving penetration with a minor of a specific age is generally prosecuted as an instance of child rape. This is the most extreme form of child molestation codified by California law. However, it is also essential to understand that “lesser” child molestation crimes may still be classified as felonies and carry the threat of significant prison time and sex offender registration status requirements.
The chances are that if someone is treating a minor in a sexualized manner, California law classifies this behavior as a crime. California’s age of consent is 18, making anyone under 18 a minor for child molestation laws. As previously noted, child rape is the most extreme form of child molestation prosecuted under California law. At the lesser end of the child molestation spectrum is the crime of “annoying a minor.” This crime makes it unlawful to harass a child if the motivation for harassment is sexual interest in that child.
The mid-range child molestation offenses include oral sex with a minor, either touching a child or making them touch themselves for the offender’s sexual gratification, and sending a minor any obscene media for the purpose of seduction or sexual arousal. Finally, some behaviors involving sexual language, interest, or effort directed towards a minor may be classified as misdemeanor criminal offenses under California law.
Child Molestation Offenses And The Question Of Consent
Generally speaking, it does not matter if a minor consents to a given behavior. If someone aged 18 or over directs certain sexual language, material, or behaviors towards a minor, any expression of consent on the part of the minor will be treated as irrelevant by the court. Until a young person reaches the age of consent—which is 18 in California but is lower in some other states—they are not deemed legally capable of consenting. Practically, this means that assent on the part of a minor does not rise to the level of legal consent.
California has some of the strictest child molestation laws in the nation. Notably, California state law does not recognize a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to these offenses. Roughly half of U.S. states employ Romeo and Juliet exceptions to criminal prosecution for certain sexual acts, provided that the alleged offender is also a teenager close in age to a younger teenage victim. For example, in Oklahoma—where the age of consent is 16—if a teen, aged 16, 17, or 18, engages in consensual, penetrating sexual relations with a teen, aged 14 or 15, the older teen cannot be convicted of rape. By contrast, in California, there is no Romeo and Juliet exception for teens who are close in age and choose to engage in sexual activity with one another. This approach underscores the reality that, in California, if you are under the age of 18, you will not be treated as capable of consent for sexual activities unless you are married.
Possible Consequences Tied To Child Molestation Charges
Some child molestation crimes are classified as misdemeanors under California law, although these instances are rare. Most child molestation offenses are prosecuted as felonies. The primary difference between classification as a misdemeanor is that punishment for these lesser crimes cannot be a sentence of imprisonment that exceeds one year. Felony convictions may result in prison sentences from one year to life imprisonment.
You will need to adjust your mindset if you are tempted to treat the allegations against you less seriously because you have been charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Even though a misdemeanor conviction cannot result in a lengthy prison sentence, you’ll want to treat the process of defending against the charges against you every bit as seriously as you would if you were facing felony charges. The consequences associated with a sex crime conviction can be lifelong—whether that crime is a misdemeanor or a felony.
Child molestation convictions can be punished by imprisonment, fines, community service mandates, probation, and other criminal consequences. However, the impact of a child molestation conviction doesn’t end when a judge hands down the sentence. You may be required to register as a sex offender and prohibited from living in certain places and participating in certain activities—like, volunteering at your child’s school—for the rest of your life. Once you have a criminal record, you’ll be required to disclose your conviction history when asked about your record on job applications, housing applications, and applications for higher learning. Depending on the nature of your alleged crime, you may have your parental rights called into question and may be prohibited from maintaining custody of your children. In short, you could be affected by a conviction long after you’ve paid your debt to society. As a result, the time for building a solid defense against the charges you’re facing is right now.
California Child Molestation Lawyers
Accusations of child molestation, child sexual abuse, child sexual assault, continuous sexual abuse, or other forms of child abuse are most serious. If you are accused, you’ll need help from a Los Angeles child molestation lawyer. My Rights Law criminal defense lawyers are here to protect your rights and help you beat the child molestation charge.
Contact A California Sex Crimes Attorney If Charged With A Child Molestation Offense
If you’re facing child molestation charges, you need an experienced, committed, focused legal team representing your interests. My Rights Law – Criminal & DUI Attorneys have substantial experience aggressively pursuing the defense of alleged sex offenders. We pride ourselves on maintaining our firm’s core values as the bedrock of our approach to representation. These core values are integrity, quality, collaboration, and empathy.
To begin building a solid defense to the charges against you and learn more about our approach to criminal defense representation, connect with My Rights Law today by calling (888) 702-8882 or contacting us through our secure web form. We look forward to evaluating your case, assisting you in protecting your legal rights, and defending your interests. Don’t wait. Call today.