Los Angeles Child Molestation Defense Attorney
Child molestation carries an enormous stigma in society. And in California, under PC 647.6, it is a crime to “annoy or molest” a child, that is, a person under the age of 18. Moreover, PC 288 says that most sex crimes, or other “lewd and lascivious acts” committed against a child who is under the age of 14, are felonies. Finally, it is a crime to commit any lewd acts with a child.
The first thing to be aware of is that it is not necessary, in order to violate the law, that you touch or have any physical contact with the child. It is possible to do so via telephone, the internet, or written communications. As a general matter, the offense consists of conduct with a minor, which conduct would irritate or annoy a reasonable person, and was motivated by an unnatural sexual interest in the minor. Second, the fact that the alleged victim is an adult posing as a child – for example, an undercover police officer – may not be a defense, since the law states specifically that it applies to molestation or annoyance of an adult whom the person believes to be under 18, where that conduct is motivated by an “abnormal sexual interest in children.”
“I felt like i was in nightmare. Chris literally saved my life.” – Jesus L.
Child Molestation – Misdemeanor or Felony?
The offense of child molestation under PC 647.6 is ordinarily a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. However, there are a number of factors that could result in a felony charge, including the following, among others:
- A second or subsequent conviction for child molestation will be charged as a felony.
- If you have a prior conviction for rape, or for various sexual acts with a child, child molestation will be charged as a felony.
- If the child is under the age of fourteen, it is a felony.
- Engaging in lewd acts with a child is a wobbler is a wobbler, chargeable as either a misdemeanor or a felony (PC 288.2).
As with many offenses, your prior criminal history can significantly increase the seriousness and the consequences of a criminal offense. In addition, there are related offenses, such as solicitation of prostitution, continuous sexual abuse of a child, and others, which, if proven, could lead to even greater penalties. It is important to note, in addition, that a conviction under PC 288 or PC 647.6 will require registration as a sex offender under California law.
Defending Child Molestation Charges
The defense of a child molestation charge is obviously of major importance, given the consequences of a conviction. And a successful defense usually involves attacking the prosecution’s case on a number of levels. These include:
- Belief that the alleged victim is an adult. Under the statute, the age of the alleged victim is not necessarily determinative of the result in the case. The statute speaks about a person whom the adult “believes” is under 18 (or the particular age referenced in the statute). If the defendant thinks the person is an adult, and that fact is accepted by the jury, this element of the crime has not been proven.
- Challenging the alleged victim’s story. Children often tell tales for a variety of reasons. And while some claims of child molestation are no doubt true, others are prompted by false accusations. Perhaps it is the child’s need for attention. Maybe other factors will come into play. Our expert will examine the situation and help demonstrate that the account by the child is false.
- Expert Testimony. The testimony of an expert can provide assistance in challenging the child’s account of the events, and to rebut claims by the prosecution’s expert.
- Character Witnesses. Do not underestimate the power of character witnesses to support the claim that the defendant would never molest a child.
- Bad character of alleged victim. If, for example, we can show that the child should not be believed – bad character, history of lying, drug or alcohol use, etc. – this likely will be a serious blow to the prosecution’s case.
- You may be able to show that you were with other people, in another area, or doing other things at the time of the alleged molestation.
These are just some of the potential defenses that may be available if you are charged with child molestation.
Child Molestation Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles
At CBS Law, we understand the gravity of being charged with a sex crime involving a child. We have also been successful, however, in having those types of charges reduced, and in some cases dismissed. We understand that some jurors will sympathize with the child. But we can show that children are also easily manipulated, even by the experts employed by the prosecution.
Our experience defending these types of cases provides us with an advantage that only comes with years of dealing successfully with similar charges. If you have been accused of child molestation, you need the help of an experienced sex crimes lawyer. Call us for a free consultation at (213) 800-8005.
Do NOT speak to law enforcement or investigators about your molestation charges, as that information can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Christopher J. Bou Saeed Founding Attorney of CBS Law