CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 647.6 (a) - A CONVICTION OF ANNOYING OR MOLESTING A CHILD MAY ATTACH EVEN WHERE THERE ARE NO SPECIFIC VICTIMS –
A recent decision handed down by the California Courts of Appeal, 2nd District, has made it easier to be convicted of P.C. 647.6 (a), which punishes persons who annoy or molest children under the age of 18 years of age.
The defendant in the case argued that his conviction for annoying or molesting a child was not supported by sufficient evidence because it was never shown that he directed his conduct toward any particular child.
Although the language of P.C. 647.6 (a) seems to require that the molestation be directed toward a specific child, the appellate court rejected the argument. Instead, it found that evidence that the defendant masturbated in his car while parked outside of a high school as kids were going home for the day, sufficiently supported the conviction even without evidence that a specific victim was known by the defendant before the incident.
This decision has expanded the reach of P.C. 647.6, thus making it easier for a person to be charged and convicted of child molestation. The court in this case decided to broadly interpret the statute in an effort to protect all children from sexual predators. As a result, it appears that a person is extra susceptible to molestation allegations merely by being near a school campus.
Being accused of annoying or molesting a child is also no frivolous matter. As a misdemeanor offense in California, P.C. 647.6 is punishable by imprisonment in county jail for a period of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. With a conviction also comes the likely possibility of having to annually register as a sex offender pursuant to P.C. 290.
In light of the increased danger of facing possible child molestation charges, it is imperative that you seek the legal assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing such charges. At Wallin & Klarich, our Orange County attorneys have been helping people defend against child molestation charges for over 30 years. We will put our experience to work in protecting you rights and helping you raise the best possible defenses in your case. Call us today at 877-230-1528 or visit us online at www.wksexcrimes.com. We will be there for you when you call.