The Differences Between Child Molestation and Lewd Acts with a Minor
The term “child molestation” could refer to a few different crimes, including sexual acts against children and acts that might not actually involve touching a child. How can you be accused of child molestation without touching a child? To understand the answer, let’s compare child annoyance under PC 647.6 and lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14 under PC 288(a).
Child Annoyance or Child Molestation (PC 647.6)
Under 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.
The terms “annoy” and “molest” have the same meaning for the purposes of this law. The terms mean any conduct likely to disturb, irritate or be observed by children that is motivated by a sexual interest in a child. This conduct does not require you to make physical contact with a child. You can violate this law through words or through acts you perform on yourself if your conduct occurs in a place where children might see or hear it.
Some potential violations of this law include:
- Making a verbal offer or request to engage in a sexual act with a child
- Talking about sexual acts with a child in order to entice the child into performing an act
- Performing a sexual act on yourself or with another person in a place that is likely to be seen by children
Punishment for Child Annoyance
Violations of PC 647.6 are “wobblers,” which means they can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the circumstances of your case. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you face up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of $5,000. If you are charged with a felony, you could be sentenced to one year in state prison and the same fine.
Lewd Acts with a Minor Under Age 14 (PC 288(a))
“Child molestation” also refers to lewd acts with a child. If you are charged under PC 288(a), the prosecutor must prove all of the following elements:
- You willfully touched a child’s body either on the bare skin or through the clothing; OR
- You willfully caused a child to touch his or her own body, your body or someone else’s body, either on the bare skin or through clothing; and
- You did so with the intent to arouse, appeal to or gratify the lust, passions or sexual desires of yourself or of the other child; and
- The child was under the age of 14 years at the time of the touching
Notice that the words “genitals,” “buttocks” or “breasts” are not in the elements of the crime. The prosecution need only prove you touched any part of the child’s body, or that you caused the child to touch you, himself/herself or another person’s body.
Punishment for Lewd Acts with a Minor under 14
The punishment you face if you are convicted of this crime depends upon the circumstances of your case. You could face up to eight years in state prison and fines of up to $10,000 if you are convicted under PC 288(a).
Contact the Child Molestation Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are charged with a child molestation crime, are facing severe consequences. You should not face these serious charges without the help of an experienced child molestation attorney from Wallin & Klarich. Our skilled sex crimes lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients facing child molestation charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich child molestation attorney available to help 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.