When people hear the term child molestation, they often think of an older adult sexually assaulting a very young child. However, California law proscribes several ways a person can be arrested for child molestation.
Anyone, including a minor, who is sexually involved with a child under the age of 18 may be charged with child molestation. In some instances, physical contact with a minor is not required to violate California law.
A child molestation conviction can mean a jail or prison sentence, heavy fines and years of GPS-enforced community supervision by a probation officer or parole agent. However, the most devastating consequence of a child molestation conviction is the requirement that you register as a sex offender for the rest of your life, regardless of whether your case involved a felony or misdemeanor violation of California’s child molestation laws.
District Attorney’s Office Aggressively Prosecutes Child Molestation in Orange County Cases
Child molestation and other sexual assault crimes are prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Sexual Assault Unit. In Orange County sexual assault cases, one deputy district attorney is assigned to the case for all criminal proceedings from beginning to end.
The Orange County Sexual Assault Unit files approximately 350 cases annually and boasts a 90% conviction rate. Between 2011 and 2012, the unit conducted over 140 jury trials with over 75 verdicts resulting in a life sentence. Half of the jury trials for sexual assault involved child victims under the age of 141.
Child Molestation in Orange County under Penal Code Section 647.6
Penal Code Section 647.6 (PC 647.6) is referred to as “molesting or annoying a child.” This law prohibits harassing or annoying anyone under the age of 18 while motivated by an unnatural sexual interest in children.
California child annoyance law is broadly written to cover a wide variety of unwanted behavior and does not require that your offense involved physically touching a child in a sexual manner. Simply telling crude sexual jokes to a child may be enough to get you pursued for a violation of PC 647.6.
Typically charged as a misdemeanor, a child annoyance/molestation conviction may be punished by up to one year in jail and/or by a fine of up to $5,000. If you have a prior PC 647.6 conviction, or a prior felony sex offense conviction involving a minor, a PC 647.6 violation can be charged as a felony and carries a prison sentence of up to six years.
Child Molestation in Orange County under Penal Code Section 288(a)
Penal Code Section 288(a) is the crime of lewd and lascivious conduct involving a minor under the age of 14. Physical contact with a child with the intent to appeal to, arouse or sexually gratify either yourself or the child is considered lewd conduct. It does not matter if intimate body parts are involved, or whether touching occurred over or under any clothing.
Child molestation under PC 288(a) is always a felony and is considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law. If you are convicted, you can be sentenced to serve up to eight years in prison, fined up to $10,000, or both.
Child Molestation in Orange County under Penal Code Section 288(c)
Penal Code Section 288(c) makes it unlawful to engage in lewd and lascivious conduct with a 14 or 15 year old minor when the offender is 10 years or more older than the victim. If you are charged with child molestation under PC 288(c), you face prosecution for what is referred to as a “wobbler” offense – meaning you can be prosecuted for either a misdemeanor or a felony. A conviction carries up to one year in jail as a misdemeanor or up to three years in prison as a felony.
Aggravated Child Molestation under Penal Code Section 288(b)
Aggravated child molestation is the felony crime of lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child under the age of 14 committed using force or fear of immediate bodily injury to the child or someone else.
A conviction for aggravated child molestation under Penal Code Section 288(b) is also a strike and is punishable by 5, 8 or 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Client of Wallin & Klarich Successfully Defend Accused Client
To read about Wallin & Klarich’s successful defense of Orange County “Hockey Mom” accused of lewd acts with minors in Orange County, pursuant to Penal Code Section 288, as well as Penal Code Section 647.6,
Call the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of violating one of Orange County’s several child molestation laws, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. The Orange County sex crimes attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing child molestation charges.
Child molestation cases are aggressively prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Often, innocent people are falsely accused of this serious crime. You need the experienced legal representation Wallin & Klarich attorneys can provide to help you defeat a charge for a registerable sex offense such as child molestation.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will work tirelessly to make certain all of your constitutional rights are protected. We are dedicated to getting you the best result possible in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. “DA Attorney 2013 Biennial Report Office” http://www.orangecountyda.com/docs/2013_report_12_21.pdf”↩