Annoying or Molesting Child
Penal Code 647.6(a) Law & Defense
The law on the crime of annoying or molesting a child is found at California penal code section 647.6(a) (PC 647.6).
PC 647.6 Law (Abbr.)
Every person who annoys or molests a child under 18 years of age is guilty of PC 647.6(a)(1), a misdemeanor.
Every person who, motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, engages in conduct with an adult whom he or she believes to be a child under 18 years of age, which conduct, if directed toward a child under 18 years of age, is guilty of PC 647.6(a)(2), a misdemeanor.
Every person who annoys or molest a child under 18 after having entered, without consent, an inhabited dwelling house, or trailer coach, or the inhabited portion of any other building, is guilty of PC 647.6(b), a felony or a misdemeanor.
In order for the district attorney to prove that the defendant is guilty of PC 647.6(a)(1), the district attorney must prove that:
- The defendant was motivated by an unnatural sexual interest in children (under 18)
- When the defendant was motivated by unnatural an unnatural sexual interest in children he or she annoyed a child in a sexual manner
- The defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the child that the defendant sexually annoyed or molested was under the age of 18.
An unnatural sexual interest in children means an abnormal sexual interest in children.
To sexually annoy or molest a child means to directs sexual language or behavior towards a child. The evidence of sexual motivation is found in the actual language that is used by the defendant.
Common evidence that supports PC 647.6(a)(1) charges, include, but is not limited to:
- Sending sexual messages to a person who is under the age of 18. Messages are usually sent through texts or social media sites
- Sending sexual photographs through texts or social media sites
- Verbally directing sexual language in an abnormal way to a person who is under the age of 18. This can be in person, via telephone, or through a third person who is directed to deliver sexual messages from the defendant to the person under the age of 18.
Note: PC 647.6(a)(2) allows for defendants to be charged with annoying or molesting a child even if the person sexually annoyed or molested is not actually a child. This law allows police officers to pose as underage persons in order to catch what would otherwise be violators of PC 647.6(a)(1).
Punishment & Sentence for PC 647.6(a)
PC 647.6(a)(1) is classified as a misdemeanor in California. If found guilty of PC 647.6(a) the defendant may face up to one year in the county jail.
If the defendant has previously been found guilty of a violation of PC 647.6(a)(1), or has previously been convicted of a sex crime listed in penal code section 290, the defendant may face up to four years in prison.
PC 647.6(a)(2) is classified as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of PC 647.6(a)(2) the defendant could face up to one year in the county jail.
PC 647.6(b) is classified as a felony or as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of felony PC 647.6(b) the defendant could face up to three years in prison; if found guilty of misdemeanor PC 647.6(b) the defendant could face up to one year in the county jail.
Sex Offender Registration: In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, if the defendant is found guilty of a PC 647.6 crime, he or she must register as a sex offender pursuant to California's sex offender registration laws.
Crime of Moral Turpitude: PC 647.6 crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means they are crimes that are considered to be morally wrong. Crimes of moral turpitude carry special consequences for non-United States citizens and defendants who possess a professional license, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc. See immigrants & professionals with criminal convictions.
Probation Sentence: Probation is a period of supervision in lieu of an actual jail or prison sentence. Probation sentences carry terms of probation that must be followed in order to avoid an actual jail or prison sentences. A probation sentence may be available in some PC 647.6(a)(1) cases depending on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.
Finally, criminal convictions of annoying or molesting a child can carry any of the following punishments: penalty fines and fees, loss of immigration status, loss of professional or occupational license, loss of rights (including loss of the right to own firearms for felony PC 647.6 convictions), restraining orders, civil lawsuits, mandatory child abuse classes, victim restitution, harsh probation or parole terms, sex offender registration, and more.
Defense to PC 647.6(a)
Common defenses to a charge of annoying or molesting a child, include: insufficient evidence to prove the charge, reasonable mistake as to age of the victim, insanity, intoxication, illegal search and seizure, coerced confessions, statute of limitations, and more.
For more information on the common defenses to PC 647.6 crimes, please visit defenses.
For more information on the crime of annoying or molesting a child, or PC 647.6 crimes, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of sex cases, including annoying or molesting a child charges filed under PC 647.6(a)(1) and more. Our sex crimes attorneys are available for private consultations seven days a week. Call today!
Crimes related to PC 647.6(a)(1)
- PC 647.6(b) Misdemeanor child molesting
- PC 647.6(c)(1) Child molesting with prior
- PC 647.6(a)(1) Annoy or molest a child
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