Annoying or Molesting a Child – PC 647.6
What is annoying or molesting a child?
Under California Penal Code section 647.6, it is illegal to annoy or molest any minor under the age of 18 while motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor. The sentencing and punishment for annoying or molesting a child can be severe in California. Thus, you need a strong defense team by your side during this difficult process.
In order to convict you of annoying or molesting a child, the prosecution must prove the following:
- You engaged in conduct directed at a minor AND
- A normal person, without hesitation, would have been disturbed, irritated, offended, or injured by your conduct AND
- Your conduct was motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor AND
- The minor was under the age of 18 years at the time of the conduct
There are a number of defenses that a California criminal defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf. Your attorney can argue:
- 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
- Your conduct would not have disturbed, irritated, offended or injured a normal person
Each of these defenses can be raised depending upon the facts of your individual case. Be sure to consult a California child sexual abuse attorney at Wallin & Klarich to learn more.
According to the California Penal Code section 647.6, annoying or molesting a child is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. However, this offense can also be charged as a felony, and you could face from 16 months to 3 years in prison in addition to a maximum $5,000 fine. There are several circumstances that can increase your sentence beyond this range:
- Prior misdemeanor annoying or molesting conviction: If you have a prior misdemeanor annoying or molesting conviction on your record, a subsequent conviction is punishable by up to a year in state prison rather than county jail
- Prior felony conviction for offense involving minor: If you have a prior felony conviction on your record for an any sex-offense involving a minor, annoying or molesting a child is a felony punishable by 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison
- Registration as a sex offender: If you are convicted of annoying or molesting a child, you will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to CA PC 290
Examples of Child Annoyance PC 647.6
- Peter enters a crowded supermarket and sees a 13-year-old girl with her family. As Peter passes her in the aisle, he grabs her buttocks over her clothes and then continues on his way. The girl screams and police are called. The officers obtain the market’s surveillance and it tends to show that Peter intentionally reaches for the girl’s body parts. The prosecution could charge Peter with child annoyance because the recording shows that Peter groped her body in a sexual manner and she was under 18 at the time.
- James sees a child on the playground at his local park and video records the child so that he may masturbate to it later. Parents spot him recording and call the police. Police ask him what he planned on doing with the video and he admits to being sexually turned on by the video and intended to masturbate to it later. The prosecution could charge James with child annoyance because James admitted to recording the child due to his sexual interests and the act would offend a reasonable person even though the child was unaware of the act.
- Mark approaches a 16-year-old girl leaving her high school and makes sexually suggestive comments and gestures about what he would like to do with her in private. The girl flees and calls the police. The prosecution could charge Mark with child annoyance because Mark’s comments qualify as sexually motivated which would offend a reasonable person and the victim was under 18 years old.
To help you understand the various aspects of an annoying or molesting a child charge, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions in our FAQ section. There, you can find answers to questions like:
- Can be convicted of annoying or molesting a child if the victim told me that she was 18 years of age or older?
Where can I find the most experienced California criminal defense attorneys?
If you are confronted with accusations of annoying or molesting a child under 18 in California, it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with such cases. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented clients facing annoying or molesting a child under 18 charges for over 38 years. We have the knowledge and the know-how to win your case.
Call us today at (714) 587-5749 or fill out our confidential form. We will be there when you call.