Child Molestation Attorneys Explain California PC 647.6
Our child molestation attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 35 years of experience successfully defending clients charged with sex crimes involving minors. If you have been arrested for committing a registerable sex offense, such as child molestation, we will provide you with the best defense available and help you overcome this life-altering challenge.
Under California Penal Code Section 647.6 (PC 647.6), it is a crime to annoy or molest a minor if your conduct was motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor.[i]
You need to understand that a violation of this law can be broadly defined to include a variety of unlawful behavior directed toward a minor. For example, simply making crude sexual comments to a child could lead to serious consequences for you if you are prosecuted for child molestation under PC 647.6.
Sentencing and Punishment for Child Annoyance or Molestation Under PC 647.6
You face harsh consequences if you are convicted of annoying or molesting a child. The facts of your case will determine how you are punished.
If you are charged with a first offense for violating PC 647.6, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of misdemeanor child molestation, you can be sentenced to serve up to 364 days in county jail, fined up to $5,000, or both. You also can receive probation under specific terms and conditions as ordered by the court.
A second or subsequent conviction for violating Penal Code Section 647.6 may be charged as a felony. Felony child molestation carries a punishment of 16 months, or two or three years in state prison.
If you have already been convicted of a felony sex offense involving a minor, a violation of PC 647.6 will most likely be charged as a felony. In this case, you could face two, four or six years in prison. In addition, you can be charged with felony child molestation or annoyance if it is alleged that you entered, without consent, an inhabited dwelling house, or trailer coach, or an inhabited portion of a dwelling building with the intent to annoy or molest a child.
Do I Have to Register as a Sex Offender for a PC 647.6 Conviction?
Regardless of whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony violation of PC 647.6, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life while residing, working or attending school in California, according to California Penal Code Section 290.[ii] You are also subject to being publicly identified on the California Megan’s Law website.[iii]
Your picture, name, community of residence (zip code) and offense may all be made available for your neighbors and anyone with access to the internet to view.
However, exemption from the Megan’s Law website may be available to you if you were only convicted of a PC 647.6 misdemeanor violation and you apply for exclusion with the California Department of Justice. Speak to one of our child molestation attorneys today if you want help applying for exclusion from the Megan’s Law website.
Sex Offender Registration for PC 647.6
Although the state legislature has declared California’s Sex Offender Registration Act to be “regulatory” and civil in nature — therefore not a punishment — most registered sex offenders, particularly those publicly listed on Megan’s Law, find it difficult to maintain a meaningful job and a residence. Employers and landlords are especially frightened by the prospect of hiring or renting to sex offenders for fear that they will be characterized as being associated with a “pedophile” or child molester.
Additionally, the social stigma of the status as a registered sex offender often follows from parent to child. Your children may face bullying from classmates and other children when they learn you are on the sex offender registry. Speak to one of our experienced child molestation attorneys to find out how we may be able to help you end your requirement to register as a sex offender.
Can I Be Removed from Registration under PC 290 if I Have Been Convicted of PC 647.6?
Our law firm may be able to help you stop your requirement to register as a sex offender. However, you must be eligible for certain post-conviction relief methods in order to stop sex offender registration. If and when you may qualify depends upon the specific facts of your case.
Please contact our law firm and we can set up a consultation with you to review the facts of your conviction to determine when and if you qualify to file for a Certificate of Rehabilitation pursuant to California Penal Code Section 4852.
Will I Be Subject to Additional Restrictions If I’m Convicted of Violating PC 647.6 and Required to Register as a Sex Offender?
Depending on where you live and whether you are required to serve a parole period, you may face additional restrictions if you are convicted of child molestation and required to register as a sex offender.
Beyond incarceration, fines and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration upon a conviction of child molestation under PC 647.6, you face the possibility of a variety of restrictions on where you can live and go, and what you can do, imposed by the state and local governments. Some of these restrictions include:
- Parole Condition Residency Restrictions: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will enforce a residency restriction on you as a special condition if you are on placed on parole. You will be prohibited from living in a residence within 2,000 feet of schools or parks where children regularly gather.[iv] Your parole may be revoked and you could be sent back into custody if you do not comply with this condition while being supervised by a parole agent.
- City and County Residency Restrictions: Some cities, including Alhambra, Cypress, Tustin and Fullerton, have enacted their own “residential exclusion zones” of up to 2,000 feet. These local laws apply to you if reside in the city and you register as a sex offender, regardless of whether or not you are on parole, probation or community supervision. A violation of these local laws is punishable as a misdemeanor, carrying up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- City and County “Presence” Restrictions: Many cities and counties have enacted what are known as “child safety zones.” If you are required to register as a sex offender, these local ordinances prohibit you from coming within 300 or 500 feet of places where children congregate, such as:
- Daycare centers
- Public libraries
- Public museums (when children are present)
- Public pools, and
- Bus stops (servicing Kindergarten through 12th grade students)
- Halloween Restrictions: Under Operation Boo, you may be prohibited from celebrating Halloween night festivities. This means you may not be allowed to pass out candy to children or decorate your home in any way. For example, the cities of Orange and Simi Valley, along with the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, prohibit sex offenders from decorating your home, answering your door to trick-or-treaters, or turning on your exterior lights for as long as you are required to register as a sex offender. A conviction for violating a local Halloween ordinance can result in your imprisonment in county jail for up to 364 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
A number of the city ordinances restricting sex offenders from residing or being within certain distances from parks, schools, etc. have been repealed (Lake Forest, Lancaster, Palmdale). Other local laws are being constitutionally challenged in the courts (Cypress). Others remain actively enforced and unchallenged (Fullerton).
Additionally, local laws that would have required a sex offender to places a sign on his or her door or in the front yard on Halloween stating “no candy or treats at this residence” have been deemed an unconstitutional violation of a registrant’s First Amendment rights by federal courts. The cities of Orange and Simi Valley have repealed these sign requirements as a result.
Because local and state laws affecting sex offenders are constantly changing, it is critical that you speak to one of our experienced child molestation defense attorneys if you are facing a charge of child molestation under PC 647.6.
An experienced sex crimes defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich can often make the difference between serious jail or prison time, mandatory sex offender registration, and a lifetime of severe restrictions and a dismissal or reduction of all of the charges pending against you.
Prosecution For Annoying or Molesting A Child Under PC 647.6
In order to convict you of a crime, the prosecution must prove certain elements of the crime are true. In a child molestation case under PC 647.6, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you:
- Your conduct was directed at a minor under 18 years old; and
- Your conduct was motived by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor; and
- A reasonable person would have been disturbed, irritated, offended, or injured by your conduct
The prosecutor must prove that you that your conduct with the child was done in an inappropriate, sexual manner to demonstrate your unlawful conduct. Even taking an unwanted photograph of a child may be sufficient enough to prove harassment.
You should exercise caution whenever you are around a minor to ensure that your conduct could not be misinterpreted as being offensive, especially sexually, if you want to avoid being charged criminally for child annoyance or molestation under PC 647.6.
Can I Be Convicted of Child Molestation if I’m Not Alleged to Have Touched the Minor?
How can you be convicted of child molestation if you never actually touched the alleged victim? Well, you could be convicted of violating PC 647.6 without ever touching a minor. As noted above, actual touching is not an element of this crime. If you committed an act based on your sexual interest in the minor, you could possibly be charged with this crime.
Our law firm has successfully defended several clients who were charged with child molestation despite the fact that they were not alleged to have touched the victim. Some of the types of conduct that could lead to a PC 647.6 charge include:
- A prior client was alleged to have told a teenage girl that she had a “nice set of tits.
- A prior client was alleged to have expressed an interest in engaging in “French kissing” to a 17-year-old minor.
- A prior client who was a high school coach was alleged to have told one of the members of his volleyball team that he would like to do “crazy things” to her that would pleasure her while driving in his car.
In all of the above cases, no touching was alleged. However, the above fact patterns can lead to a conviction for violating Penal Code Section 647.6
In order to successfully defend the above clients, our experienced child molestation lawyers employed various strategies to attempt to convince the prosecution to dismiss the charges. If the charges are not dismissed by the prosecutor, our attorneys demand that our clients receive a jury trial.
Wallin & Klarich’s Child Molestation Attorneys Can Help You Now
Some of the defenses that our experienced sex crimes defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf include:
- You held a good faith belief that the victim was 18 years of age or older
- Your conduct was not directed at a minor
- Your conduct was not motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor, and
- Your conduct would not have disturbed, irritated, offended or injured a normal person
Specific Defenses to Child Annoyance or Child Molestation Charges
There are numerous legal defenses that our experienced sex crimes defense lawyers can raise on your behalf if you find yourself accused of this serious crime. Here are some of the valid legal defenses to PC 647.6 charges:
1. Your conduct was not “motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor.”
To be guilty of the crime of annoying or molesting a minor pursuant to Penal Code Section 647.6, the prosecution must prove that your conduct was “motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor.” This means that you did the specific acts alleged in the criminal complaint with a “specific sexual intent.” If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the required specific sexual intent, you cannot be found guilty of this crime.
2. The alleged victim is lying.
A primary tool that our law firm utilizes to successfully defend our clients is that the alleged victim is lying. We seek out all possible motives or reasons why the alleged victim would want to tell the police an untruth. We often find that the minor has some sort of “grudge” against our client or other reason to report a violation of Penal Code Section 647.6 to the police, and this could be critical in defending you against these charges.
3. The alleged victim is mistaken as to what they heard.
In today’s climate, students are trained to suspect sexual misconduct when in fact often that is not the intent of the adult they are accusing. We are often able to show that our client did not say the words that the student thought that he or she said, or that he or she said them in a non-sexual manner.
4. Our client is not the type of person who has a sexual interest in minors.
Our sex crimes lawyers have relationships with medical experts who could be important in building your defense. We often have our clients undergo a battery of psychological tests conducted by leading forensic experts. We then receive a report from the medical expert that the accused does not fit the profile of someone who has a sexual interest in minors.
We can present that evidence to the prosecutor and/or the jury to illustrate that our client did not have a sexual intent when they spoke to the minor.
5. Prior conduct
Another possible way to raise doubt that you would commit this type of crime is by bringing up your prior conduct. Our lawyers present evidence from character witnesses to show that you have been alone with other minors over the years and you have never been accused of speaking to or touching them in a sexual manner.
If we have to take a case to trial, showing the jurors that our client has no prior criminal record and no prior allegations of sexual conduct can raise a reasonable doubt of our client’s guilt, which then can result in a not guilty verdict.
6. The age of the minor
In some cases, our clients will tell us that the alleged victim told them that they were at least 18 years old. Often, the minor will have a fake ID that they may show to our client or indicate in other ways that they are an adult (by stating they are a college student, live on their own, etc). It is a valid defense to the crime of child molestation that you had a good faith belief that the alleged victim was in fact of legal age.
If You Have Been Charged With Violation of PC 647.6 Call Us Now
Child molestation or child annoyance is a serious crime in California that could impact you for the rest of your life if you are convicted. That is why if you or someone you love has been charged with child annoyance or molestation under PC 647.6, your best chance to defeat the charge is to contact the law firm of Wallin & Klarich and speak to one of our skilled child molestation attorneys. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing the serious consequences associated with child molestation. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Tustin, Los Angeles, Torrance, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, West Covina and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich will give you the personal attention you deserve so that your constitutional rights are protected. Our child molestation attorneys will spend the time and effort necessary to develop a defense that gives you the best chance to win 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.