Law enforcement in Los Angeles is fierce in pursuing child molestation charges. However, unlike some other criminal charges, the public is unanimous in how it views child molestation. 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. Instead, you need to talk to a child molestation lawyer in Los Angeles with Simmrin Law Group.
What Counts As Child Molestation in California?
California does not have just one law against child molestation. There are two main ones under California Penal Code (CPC) § 288 and CPC § 647.6. 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 wide that you can get charged even if you never physically touched the 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 pornography to a child
- A hug or touch that does not involve the genitalia but comes across as being sexually motivated
- Saying “dirty” things to a child
The law makes it very easy to charge an adult with a crime or act related to child molestation. Therefore, if you’ve been arrested and charged for any of the above, you should always keep silent and get legal representation as fast as possible.
For a free legal consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
What Should I Do if I’m Investigated for Child Molestation in Los Angeles?
The best thing you can do is say nothing to the police. Do not answer questions and do not give any statement, verbal or written. This is true even if the police are friendly and understanding. Remember, once police start 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.
The police 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 always remember that you have the right to say nothing. By having a sex crimes lawyer in Los Angeles present for any interrogation, you can protect yourself from saying anything incriminating.
Los Angeles Child Molestation Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
What if I Spoke to the Police or Gave a Statement?
You can still 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 child molestation lawyer in Los Angeles can also get your statements suppressed so they can’t get used as evidence against you.
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What Are the Penalties for Child Molestation in California?
Child molestation penalties in California depend on exactly what you get charged with. The penalties for “annoying or molesting a child” include:
- Up to one year in county jail if charged as a misdemeanor
- Up to three 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 with a Los Angeles child molestation attorney.
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A Child Molestation Charge Can Ruin Your Life
If you get convicted of child molestation, you will have to do time in prison guaranteed. Judges and prosecutors are hardly ever lenient towards convicted child sex offenders. This is why it’s imperative that you prove your innocence strongly in court.
A child molestation charge on your permanent record can continue to negatively impact you even after you’ve done your time and paid all your fines:
- Rejection to university or college
- Inability to get a loan or live in certain areas
- Disqualification from serving in the armed forces
- Lifetime registration as a sex offender can leave a huge social stigma
The chances of removing any type of sex crime from your record is extremely difficult and virtually impossible in certain circumstances. As you can see, it’s better not to get convicted altogether instead of dealing with the penalties and fallout of a conviction. To do this, you’ll need to have a strong defense for your case.
What if I’m Offered a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain can sometimes mean an admission of guilt. So, you need to be careful about blindly accepting any offer the prosecution makes. More often than not, they’re trying to mask their plea bargain as beneficial when in reality, it yields essentially the same results—a conviction for them and punishment for you.
Accepting a plea bargain should be the last choice after you’ve exhausted all your legal options. The Los Angeles child molestation attorneys at Simmrin Law Group will review the terms of the offer and ensure that you get the best results for your case.
How Can I Defend Against a Child Molestation Charge?
Successful defenses against child molestation can include:
- You had no sexual intent
- What happened was an accident such as accidental touching, a child accidentally walking in on you, etc.
- Mistaken identity
- The “molesting” never happened (if the child or a parent is making it up)
- Lack of evidence 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
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. Unfortunately, we see many cases where children or parents misinterpret what happened.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me?
If you have zero legal experience or knowledge of the law, then you need a lawyer to represent your best interests in court. The worst thing you can do is fight for your innocence on your own. The prosecution will do everything in its power to exploit your lack of legal representation and convict you.
Don’t take a chance on defending yourself when you have everything to lose with a child molestation conviction. Retaining one of our Los Angeles child molestation lawyers is the best investment you can make to ensure that you don’t have to endure a lifetime of stress and shame. We will help you fight against your charges.
Talk to a Los Angeles Child Molestation Lawyer for Free
We all agree that protecting children is essential. 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 Los Angeles child molestation attorneys at the Simmrin Law Group give you a free consultation and fight for you.