More than 50 years ago, you were asked to babysit your 6-year-old niece. You gladly said okay. Now, your niece is 56 years old and she went to the local police department to report that you molested her that day 50 years ago. Believe it or not, you could be arrested and brought to trial for charges of child molestation 50 years after the alleged child molest occurred.
How can this be legal? Under Penal Code 803f, it is entirely legal. People in California are being prosecuted every year based on allegations of sexual misconduct that is being claimed to have happened 20, 30 or even 50 years ago. The accused are having their lives destroyed by these horrific allegations.
Statute of Limitations for Child Molestation in Orange County (Penal Code Section 801.1)
If you are being charged with child molestation that occurred decades ago, it is likely that you and any witnesses will not be able to recall the exact events of that day. A statute of limitations exists to protect your constitutional rights and prevent you from living in fear of being charged with a crime.
According to the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor violation of child molestation under Penal Code Section 288(c), you must be prosecuted within one year from the date of the offense.
In order to be charged with felony child molestation in California pursuant to Penal Code Section 801.1, you must be prosecuted prior to the alleged victim’s 28th birthday or within 10 years of the alleged offense, whichever is later.
How the Statute of Limitations for Child Molestation Never Expires (Penal Code Section 803f)
Pursuant to Penal Code Section 803f, you could be legally prosecuted for felony child molestation in California at any time for the rest of your life under certain circumstances. For you to be prosecuted for a felony violation of child molestation that allegedly occurred decades ago:
- The alleged victim must file a police report alleging that he or she was the victim of child molestation as a minor with any California law enforcement agency;
- All other statutes of limitation have expired;
- The crime involved “substantial sexual conduct” as defined in Penal Code Section 1203.066, other than non-mutual masturbation; and
- There is independent evidence that corroborates the allegation. This evidence must be “clear and convincing” if the reporting person is 21 years old or older.
After the report is made, a criminal complaint must be filed within one year in order for you to be prosecuted.
In addition, the “DNA exception rule” under Penal Code Section 803(g) allows for prosecution of child molestation within one year of the date of which the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing, provided that the evidence is analyzed no later than two years from the date of the offense.
Call the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you are being charged with child molestation, it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending persons accused of child molestation for over 30 years. At Wallin & Klarich, we will help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We may be able to have the charges against you completely dismissed.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney near you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.