Juvenile Sex Crimes and Juvenile Sex Offenders in California
Convicted Juvenile Sex Offenders Face Very Harsh Penalties in California
If your child is being accused of a sexual offense in Southern California, you should speak to one of our Wallin & Klarich attorneys experienced in juvenile sex crimes. For over 30 years, our attorneys have successfully represented thousands of young individuals accused of sexual offenses in Southern California. Convicted juvenile sex offenders face very harsh penalties under California law, and your family does not have to face these challenges alone; you can place your trust in our team of professionals.
It is a simple fact of life that teens under the age of 18 are having sex and younger children are curious about “experimenting.” There is also a growing trend among law enforcement to aggressively prosecute these behaviors because of the tragic consequences sometimes associated with these acts. For example, an 18-year-old high school graduate committed suicide after a nude photo she had transmitted via her cell phone to her boyfriend also was sent to hundreds of teenagers in her school. Other students, who apparently continued to forward the image, allegedly harassed the girl.[i]
Children are Being Targeted as the Perpetrators of Sexual Assaults on Other Children
With today’s increasingly intolerant attitudes toward any sexual behavior directed at or between children, children themselves are being targeted as the perpetrator of sexual assaults on other children. The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency reports that minors account for 12% of all rape incidents and 19% of all other sex crimes against other minors. Often, a teen romance goes sour, feelings get hurt, and the aggrieved party seeks retribution against the other by alleging rape or some other type of sexual misconduct. This includes the parents of the “victim,” who often want to make an example out of the offending minor for causing harm to their child. Overwhelmingly, it is the boy in a heterosexual relationship or encounter, and the older boy or girl in a homosexual situation.[ii]
Additionally, largely due to modern technologies such as the internet and smart phones, more juveniles are being charged with sex crimes. Often times these crimes are not the same as adult sex offenses but if convicted the penalties can be equally as severe and life altering.
If your child has been accused of a sex crime in California, it is imperative that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney who is experienced in juvenile sex crime defense in order to protect their rights and spare them and your family a lifetime of devastation.
“Sexting” is a Sexual Offense in California
There is a growing trend among teenagers being charged with sex offenses such as sending, receiving, and distributing child pornography. Commonly known as “sexting,” teens take nude or provocative photos of themselves and text, forward, or email them to peers and friends. Many of these photos can also end up on social media and networking websites. Law enforcement has become increasingly aggressive in arresting teens and prosecuting them for child pornography sexting charges.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy[iii] has compiled statistics of teens who use cellphones to send or post nude or semi-nude photos and videos of themselves. The percentage of teens who are sexting are as follows:
- 20% of teens overall;
- 22% of teen girls
- 18% of teen boys
- 11% of young teen girls ages 13-16
71% of teen girls and 67% of teen boys who send or post sexually suggestive content say that they send/post to a boyfriend/girlfriend. 21% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have sent or posted such content to someone they wanted to date or “hook up” with.
But the most telling statistic is that 75% of all teens say sexting can have serious negative consequences.
The FBI reports that nearly one in six teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who own cell phones have received naked or nearly nude pictures via text message from someone they know.
Despite your child being a juvenile, there is a chance he or she may be tried as an adult for a sexting charge. If so, a conviction for a sexual offense likely will result in mandatory lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to Penal Code Section 290. Depending on the age of the “victim(s),” there is a very good chance that your teenager’s picture and your home address may end up on the Megan’s Law website.[iv]
Most sex offenders who are publicly listed on the registry report that it is virtually impossible to maintain any gainful employment. Additionally, many apartment communities refuse to rent to a sex offender and doors to educational opportunities often close forever. Although such discrimination is illegal, it is a reality most sex offenders typically face.
Juvenile Sex Crimes Requiring Lifetime Sex Offender Registration
If probation is granted for a minor convicted of a sex crime, sex offender registration under California Penal Code section 290 does not apply. If probation is denied, and the minor is sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice on a sex crime, registration will be a requirement upon his or her release from custody (Penal Code Section 290 (d)(1)-(3)).
Based upon the age of the minor and the crime allegedly committed, the prosecution can charge a minor and try that minor as an adult if he or she is 14 years old or older. Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b) outline what crimes qualify as serious enough to warrant adult treatment and punishment. The following sex offenses, if the prosecutor alleges that the minor personally committed the offense and other extenuating circumstances, may be prosecuted in Superior Court and will require mandatory juvenile sex offender registration upon a conviction:
- Kidnapping with the intent to violate sexual assault laws (PC 207- PC 209)
- Assault to commit rape, sodomy, or oral copulation (PC 220)
- Rape, generally (PC 261)
- Spousal rape with force, violence or threat of great bodily harm (PC 262)
- Forcible sex in concert with another (PC 264.1)
- Induce intercourse/sex acts by false representation with intent to create fear (PC 266(c))
- Abduction of a minor for prostitution (PC 267)
- Sodomy with a child under 14 years old (PC 286(c); (c)(1))
- Sodomy with a person under 18 years old (PC 286(b)(1))
- Sodomy or oral copulation by force, violence or threat of great bodily injury or retaliation (PC 286(c)(2); (c)(3))
- Lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 (PC 288 – PC 288a(c)(1))
- Forced oral copulation (PC 288a (c)(2) – (d))
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5(a))
- Forcible sexual penetration (PC 289, et seq.)
- Annoying or molesting a child (PC 647(a), PC 647.6)
Please visit our sections on these offenses for more information about how they can be prosecuted, possible defenses, and most importantly, the penalties and other consequences if your child is adjudicated or convicted.
Public Disclosure of Juvenile Sex Offenders on the Megan’s Law Website
Unless the minor is being charged as an adult under 707(b) of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC), that minor will not have to register as a sex offender if that crime was admitted by the minor or sustained by the Court. However, if the sentence includes a commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice, the minor will have a duty to register as a juvenile sex offender.
Juveniles adjudicated of certain offenses are required to register as sex offenders upon release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice (Pen. Code § 290.008.).[v] However, juvenile registrants whose offenses were adjudicated in juvenile court cannot be publicly disclosed on the Internet web site. Local law enforcement agencies may, in their discretion, notify the public about juvenile registrants who are posing a risk to the public (Penal Code Section 290.45.).[vi]
However, if an adult is convicted of a registerable sex offense in the future, and that person has a juvenile adjudication on their record resulting in sex offender registration, not only can the adult conviction be publicly listed on Megan’s Law, but so can the adjudicated registerable offense(s) previously not listed. Penal Code Section 290.46(b)(1)[vii] allows the Department of Justice to list on Megan’s Law “…any other information that the Department of Justice deems relevant.”
Wallin & Klarich Can Help Your Child Avoid Sex Offender Registration
If your child has been accused of an unlawful sexual offense, or if you are a minor facing a sex crime allegation, sex offender registration can be avoided. To protect your future or your child’s future, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully representing our juvenile clients charged with a sex crime.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, and Victorville, the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can keep your child’s case in juvenile court where he or she stands a better chance of a favorable outcome.
We may be able to challenge all the evidence against your child and help you to win your case. Or, we may be able to negotiate options allowing your child to have his or her case dismissed upon successful completion of probation and/or counseling. Not all juvenile sex offenses result in conviction. Let us help protect your child’s rights so he or she can look forward to a bright and prosperous future.
Call us today at (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.
[i] FBI Bulletin on Sexting retrieved
[v] California Penal Code Section 290.08 retrieved from http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/290.008.html
[vi] California Penal Code Section 290.45 retrieved from http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/290.45.html
[vii] California Penal Code Section 290.46 retrieved from http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/290.46.html