Law enforcement in Los Angeles is fierce in pursuing child molestation charges. Unlike some other criminal charges, the public is unanimous in how it views child molestation, and many officers and prosecutors view these investigations as a way to score big points. Unfortunately, the consequences of a conviction are harsh and can easily change your life forever. If you are facing any kind of child molestation charge, do not risk fighting it alone. You need to talk to a Los Angles child molestation lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group can help. We have assembled a hand-picked team of top defense lawyers. We understand how sex crime cases are investigated, and what weak points the prosecutor has to overcome. Our attorneys have a long history of challenging evidence, beating back the prosecutor, and winning cases for our clients. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as child molestation in Los Angeles?
California does not have just one law against child molestation. Instead, you could face a variety of charges depending on what supposedly happened. The most common charges are:
- Annoying or molesting a child
- Lewd acts with a minor
- Unlawful intercourse with a minor
The first of these, “annoying or molesting a child,” is the broadest and can apply to almost any sexually charged situation with a child. This law is so broad, in fact, that you can be charged even if you never physically touched the child.
Annoying or molesting is defined as:
- Any kind of behavior…
- …that is motivated by sexual interest (in a child)…
- …that’s likely to irritate, disturb, or even be observed by a child.
That means a staggering array of situations can count as child molestation in Los Angeles:
- Touching a child’s genitalia
- Exposing yourself or masturbating where a child could see
- Touching yourself through your clothing where a child could see
- Showing a child any kind of pornography
- A hug or touch that does not involve the genitalia but comes across as being sexually motivated
- Saying “dirty” things to a child
What should I do if I’m being investigated for child molestation in Los Angeles?
The best thing you can do is say nothing to police. Do not answer questions and do not give any statement, verbal or written.
This is true even if police are being friendly and understanding.
Remember: once police are asking you questions, they already believe you committed the crime. They are not trying to figure out if they should arrest you—they have already decided to arrest you. They are only talking to you to see if you will slip up and give them more evidence to work with.
In many investigations, detectives will come to ask you questions without any threat of arrest. They do this so they don’t have to read you your rights. And they hope that if they seem friendly, they will get you to open up and say something that makes you look bad.
Never talk to the police. Tell them you need to speak to a lawyer first. You should cooperate with their instructions, but you have the right to say nothing.
What if I’ve already spoken to police or given a statement?
You are still able to fight your case and you may be able to win it—but you need to get legal help immediately. Your lawyer can help you determine whether your statements are incriminating. In some cases, a good lawyer can also get your statements suppressed so that they cannot be used as evidence against you. If you already gave any statement to police, you need to talk to a lawyer immediately.
What are the penalties for child molestation in Los Angeles?
It depends on exactly what you’re charged with. The penalties for “annoying or molesting a child” include:
- Up to 1 year in county jail if charged as a misdemeanor
- Up to 3 years in state prison if charged as a felony
- You must register as a sex offender
The penalties get much more severe if you are accused of oral copulation (“lewd acts with a minor,”) unlawful intercourse or other sex acts. These offenses carry lengthy prison sentences. You need to fight the charge from the start.
How can I defend against a child molestation charge?
Remember that the legal definition of molestation is that the act is “motivated by sexual interest” and is “likely” to disturb the child. This means that, by its very nature, any child molestation charge is subjective. It’s possible that your behavior appeared sexual to others, but was not motivated by sexual interest at all. We see many cases where children—or parents—misinterpret what happened.
Successful defenses against child molestation can include:
- You had no sexual intent
- What happened was an accident (accidental touching, child accidentally walking in on you, etc)
- Mistaken identity (someone else performed the action in question)
- The “molesting” never happened (if the child or a parent is making it up)
- Lack of evidenced—or weak evidence that we can challenge in court and potentially get removed from your case
- Your civil rights were violated as part of the investigation
Talk to a Los Angeles Child Molestation Lawyer for Free
We all agree that protecting children is important. But molestation charges often tear apart the lives of adults, even if you didn’t intend any harm. Don’t take the risk of facing a sex crime charge without good legal counsel. Let the attorneys of the Simmrin Law Group give you a free consultation and fight for you. Remember: you are innocent until and unless you are proven guilty. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 for your FREE consultation today.