The quick answer is misdemeanor child molestation in Los Angeles is called misdemeanor annoying or molesting a child. The more detailed answer to what is considered misdemeanor child molestation is found under California penal code section 647.6 (a)(1). Child molestation is touching a child. You do not have to engage in sexual intercourse with a child to be charged with child molestation. Child molestation is a serious charge and should be met with an aggressive legal defense led by an experienced criminal defense attorney in LA.
Sexual Language or Behavior
In Los Angeles, annoying or molesting a child refers to directing sexual behavior or language towards a minor. It does not matter if the adult’s language or behavior is done with or without the child’s permission.
PC 647.6 (a)(1) requires the child to be a minor. However, PC 647.6 (a)(2) also is also the crime of annoying or molesting a child. The difference is the latter allows you to be charged if a police officer poses as a minor and you are accused of annoying or molesting them.
Abnormal Sexual Interest in Children
It is illegal to engage in sexual conduct with a child under 18 years old. It is also illegal to have an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in any child. You can be charged with misdemeanor child molestation if you enter a house without consent to annoy or have sexual contact with a child. The definition of a “house” includes:
- An apartment.
- A trailer.
- Any inhabited area of a building.
Examples of Annoying or Molesting a Child
Misdemeanor child molestation is a “catch-all” molestation crime, which means you are accused of touching a child but not in a way that violates other child molestation charges. Some conduct considered annoying or molesting a child includes, but is not limited to:
- Secretly videotaping a minor in the bathroom.
- Sending sexual message via texts or social media to a minor.
- Fondling a teenager in an apartment with their consent.
- Using sexual language in an abnormal manner to a child or teenager via telephone, in person or through a third person. The third person must be directed to deliver these sexual messages from you to the minor.
- Kissing a child in a house with or without their consent.
- Touching a child’s butt in a store without their permission.
Prosecutors Must Prove Four Things to Convict
If you are accused of annoying or molesting a child, a prosecutor must prove four elements. These elements are:
- You engage in conduct that you directed towards a minor.
- A normal individual would be irritated, disturbed, offended or injured by your sexual behavior.
- Your conduct toward the minor was motivated by an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in the child.
- At the time of the act, the minor was 18 years old or younger.
Punishment for Misdemeanor Child Molestation
A first offense of annoying or molesting a child is county jail time. You may spend one year in county jail. You may pay a $5,000 fine.
If you have a prior sex offense conviction, your misdemeanor annoying or molesting of a child offense may increase to a felony. The felony is punishable by two to six years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.
Other penalty options for an annoying or molesting a child punishment are:
- Probation and time in county jail.
- Formal probation only. You will be assigned a probation officer.
- Probation and no county jail time. Probation may include community service, participating in a work release program and/or attending therapy.
- Require you to register as a sex offender in California.
Registering as a Sex Offender in Los Angeles
If you are convicted of misdemeanor child molestation in Los Angeles, the court may require you register as a sex offender. You must update your registration with your local law enforcement each year as long as you live, go to school or work in the state. If you fail to register or update your registration, you face additional criminal punishment.
Receiving Probation Only for Misdemeanor Child Molestation in Los Angeles
If you are placed on formal probation for annoying or molesting a child, you must follow certain conditions. These conditions include:
- Visiting your probation officer as indicated.
- Staying out of criminal trouble.
- Attending rehabilitation or sexual addiction therapy.
- Completing random drug testing
- Allowing random searches of your home and/or person.
- Performing community service
Seeking Legal Representation
Have you been charged with misdemeanor child molestation in Los Angeles? Contact Simmrin Law Group immediately for assistance with your case (310) 997-4688 or fill out our contact form on this page. In cases as sensitive as child molestation, you want to get ahead of the prosecution as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation.