June 17, 2015 By Stephen Klarich

Is it a Crime for an 18-Year-Old to Hug and Kiss a 17-year-old? — California Penal Code section 647.6

Most people probably believe that in this scenario if there was no intercourse then no crime was committed. This is false. Under section 647.6 of the California Penal Code it is a crime for any person to “annoy or molest any child under 18 years of age.”

Consequences of a Penal Code 647.6 PC Conviction

Consequences if you kiss a 17-year-old
Do you know the consequences if you kiss a 17-year-old when you are a legal adult?

111his offense, with few exceptions, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail, a fine not exceeding $5,000, or by both. Each subsequent conviction under this section is punishable as a felony. You can even be prosecuted under this section if the supposed minor was actually a decoy cop who was 18 years of age or older, so long as you believed the decoy to be under 18 years old and you were motivated by an “unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children.” To make matters worse, this offense is a registerable offense under Penal Code section 290, meaning if you are convicted of this offense you can be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

If the conduct moves from hugging and kissing to sexual intercourse, then the offense becomes more serious and can instead be prosecuted under Penal Code section 261.5. Penal Code section 261.5 is violated by “any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor….”

The crime is a misdemeanor when the minor is “not more than three years older or three years younger than the perpetrator….” The crime is a wobbler when the minor is “more than three years younger than the perpetrator….” When an offense is a wobbler it means that the crime can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, if you are 19 and you have intercourse with a 17-year-old, then it would be a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 261.5. If you are 21 and have sex with a 17-year-old, then that is a wobbler under Penal Code section 261.5. Generally, the closer in age the two parties are the less likely that criminal charges will be filed.

Wallin & Klarich Can Help

Wallin & Klarich criminal defense lawyers
The criminal process may be complex, let us guide you through it.

In short, California’s laws with regard to sex offenses are complex and unforgiving, and the punishments can be severe, including lifetime registration as a sex offender on top of any jail or prison sentence. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have years of experience handling misdemeanor and felony sex cases and sex offender registration issues.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich elder abuse attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call Wallin & Klarich today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Stephen Klarich

Stephen Klarich is a partner at Wallin & Klarich and expert in the field of sex crimes. For over thirty years, Stephen Klarich has been handling criminal cases and matters involving sex offenses. With an unparalleled knowledge of sex crimes defense, Stephen Klarich protects his clients’ rights. Stephen Klarich has experienced significant success in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governor’s Pardon for his clients. Thousands of clients have put their trust in Stephen Klarich and the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich in their time of legal need.

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