What is California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying or Molest a Child?
California prohibits “annoying” or “molesting” a minor. California also makes it a crime to “annoy” or “molest” a person you believe is a minor, even when it turns out that the victim is someone over the age of 18. This prohibition is codified in the California law books as California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child.
Under this law, the words “annoy” and “molest” refer to the same actions and behavior. The words essentially mean the same when it comes to this law. Let’s now analyze the legal definition of California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child. This is important because it will be helpful for you to have an understanding of the common important issues and questions that arise in California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child criminal prosecutions. Furthermore, we believe that our clients should be as informed as possible about the charges they face. In the end, if you have an understanding of the legal issues, it will help us help you as we work together throughout your criminal prosecution.
Legal Definition of California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child
To be convicted of a sex crime in California, the prosecutor must prove that your particular case meets all of the elements of the crime you are charged with. An “element” is essentially a fact related to the crime. The prosecutor must prove each element according to a minimal level of certainty. For California sex crimes, the level of certainty required is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Note, this requirement that the prosecutor prove all of the elements only applies to criminal cases decided in a criminal trial by a judge or a jury. You can still be convicted of a California sex crime if you plead guilty to a crime or if you accept a plea offer.
The elements for California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child are as follows:
- You behaved in such a manner that was likely to irritate a minor or minors.
- Your behavior was driven by a sexual interest in a minor, or minors in general.
Remember, to be convicted in a criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child. Let’s review each of these elements more closely so you can gain a better understanding of the more common individual issues that might arise during your criminal prosecution.
For the purposes of California sex crimes and California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child, a minor is considered to be any person under the age of 18. Note, you can still be convicted of California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child if you believed that the victim was under the age of 18, even though it turned out that they were an adult.
Behavior that is likely to Annoy a Minor
California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child prohibits behavior that meets the following requirements:
- Behavior was driven by a sexual interest in a minor or minors, and
- The behavior attacks a minor’s privacy and safety.
California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child is classified as a “general intent” crime. Therefore, the prosecutor does not need to prove that you intended for your behavior to be sexually inappropriate. You can still violate California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child even if you had no evil intentions whatsoever. Thus, you may think you are just being affectionate but you could be committing a crime under the eyes of the law if your behavior could irritate or disturb another person.
To violate California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child, there is no requirement that you focus in on a particular child or even on a specific group of children. A California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child violation can occur if your behavior is driven by a sexual interest in either a particular minor or in minors/children generally.
Furthermore, there is no requirement that the alleged victim must have been actually annoyed by your behavior. California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child charges are examined by what is called an “objective test.” Therefore, the court will only look at the nature of the behavior itself, not the result of the behavior. The court will try to decide whether or not your behavior would annoy a reasonable, normal, and hypothetical child. If the court concludes that it does, then you are subject to liability under California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child. If the court decides it does not, then the charges against you will be dismissed. Therefore, in these types of cases, it is crucial that you have a Sex Crime Attorney representing you who is experienced in conducting trials. This is because jury selection is critical in criminal prosecutions revolving around an objective test. One jury might think certain behavior is appropriate but another jury might think it is out of bounds. Jury selection can make or break cases involving objective tests.
Also, it is important to know that California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child differs from other California sex crimes in that there is no requirement that you have to touch the minor’s body. Therefore, you can commit a California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child violation just by using words that could be construed as “annoying.” Furthermore, indirect sexual behavior like self-masturbation could be considered a California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child violation if you had the intention that it be witnessed by a minor.
Driven by Sexual Interest
To be convicted under California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child, you not only need to have committed an inappropriate act towards a minor, but the act must also be driven by a sexual interest in a minor, or children generally. There is no requirement that you actually commit a sexual act with a child. Therefore, if your behavior was driven by something else, then you did not commit a California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child violation. Additionally, if a minor accidentally witnessed your behavior, then you are not subject to liability under California Penal Code 647.6 PC Annoying a Child.
The prosecutor may have a hard time proving intent because it is difficult to know what is going on inside a person’s head. The problem is intent is also hard to disprove because if you find yourself in a problematic situation, the jury might not give you the benefit of doubt. For this reason, it is important to proceed to trial with the evidentiary record built in your favor. This is because the prosecutor can show intent by bringing up your past behavior towards minors. They can also use “circumstantial evidence” surrounding your actions.
What are the potential punishments for a conviction under California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child?
California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child is considered a “wobbler” crime. This means that in certain situations, the prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision is based upon your past criminal history and the specific facts of your particular case. Because California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child is a wobbler, it is important that your hire a Sex Crime Attorney immediately. Your Sex Crime Attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to charge you with a misdemeanor at the start of a case, before anything is formally filed against you. This is important because the initial charges filed against you serve as the base line of negotiation for the rest of the criminal proceedings.
The “wobbler” circumstance applies when you commit the California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child violation by entering another person’s home, without their consent. Hence, if you enter another person’s inhabited dwelling to commit the act of annoying a child, then the prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony. This decision will be based upon your past criminal record, the specific circumstances of the crime, and on the basis of whether or not you are dangerous to children.
If the circumstances of your cases are not particularly heinous, you will probably be charged with a misdemeanor. A California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child misdemeanor conviction could result in up to 1 year in a county jail and up to a five thousand dollar fine.
If convicted of a California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child felony, then you will be sent to a California state prison for a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 3 years. This may increase if you meet certain requirements.
If, in the past you were convicted of a California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child violation, then you will be automatically charged with a felony. The maximum state prison time in this situation is still 3 years. However, if you have a previous conviction for certain sex crimes, then a conviction under California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child could result in up to 6 years in a California state prison.. Some of these offenses include, but are not limited to, the following: Penal Code 261 rape of a minor under the age of 16 years, Penal Code 288.5 sexual abuse of a minor, Penal Code 288 lewd acts with a minor, and Penal Code 311.4 child pornography.
Probation Instead of Being Placed in Custody
It is possible that a judge could sentence you with only probation and not any jail or prison time. However, the judge will only do so if they believe you do not present any danger to children. In addition, the judge will consider the specific facts of your case and your criminal record. If the judge decides to sentence you to probation, there are two types you might receive, which depend on whether you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
Informal, misdemeanor probation can last anywhere between 1 to 5 years. You may be required to pay a fine and do community service/labor. In addition, you will be required to show up to court at specified times so the court can check on how you are completing the probation requirements.
Formal, felony probation can last anywhere between 3 to 5 years. If sentenced to this type of probation, you will be required to meet with a probation officer regularly, pay restitution to the victim, and complete any other requirements sentenced upon you by the judge or ordered by your probation officer. In addition, the judge has the option of sentencing you to 1 year in a county jail in addition to formal probation. If you violate the terms and conditions of your formal probation, then the judge can take you out of county jail and place you in a state prison.
Regardless of whether you are sentenced with felony or misdemeanor probation, the judge could also require you to obtain counseling as one of the terms of the probation. Furthermore, all probation contacts automatically include a provision prohibiting you from having any contact or communication with the victim. This provision cannot be changed, unless the victim themselves requests it AND the court determines that the change is better for the victim.
Requirement to Register as a Sex Offender
A conviction under California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child will require you to register as a sex offender. If you are a first time offender of California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child, then you will be required to register as a Tier 1 offender. You will have to do this for a minimum of 10 years. If you have been convicted under California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child in the past, then you will be required to register as a Tier 2 sex offender for a minimum of 20 years. Your information and your associated crimes will be publicly posted on a website maintained by the DOJ. However, if your California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child conviction was a misdemeanor, you can ask to be excluded from the website. But you will still be required to register as a sex offender unless you achieve a certificate of rehabilitation or you properly registered for 10 years with no other problems – the court may remove the requirement to register.
What are the legal defenses to California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child?
Although the punishments to a California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child conviction can be severe, there are a variety of legal defenses available. Talk to a Sex Crime Attorney to find out which legal defenses are specifically available for your case. Below, we discuss some of the more common legal defenses.
Challenging Witness Credibility
Many California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child cases often turn into a “he said/she said” type of situation. This is because the sexual nature of the charges, which often occur in a private setting. This usually means that the only witnesses who saw what happened are the defendant and the victim. The good news for a defendant is that only one person can really testify against you as to what actually happened. The bad news is that the jury will most likely give the benefit of the doubt to the alleged victim and you may not have someone who can confirm your side of the story.
In these types of cases, you want a Sex Crime Attorney who knows how to challenge the credibility of the witness testifying against you. This will make it more likely that a jury will give you the benefit of the doubt when coming up with a verdict. Your Sex Crime Attorney can subpoena the alleged victim’s school or medical records. They can also subpoena the alleged victim’s emails, social media accounts, text messages, and phone calls. Your Sex Crime Attorney can hire an investigator to interview the alleged victim’s family and friends so that the evidentiary record tilts in your favor. Your Sex Crime Attorney can also conduct a thorough background check on the alleged victim or witness.
All of these tools might serve to show that the alleged victim has a past record of lying to the police, family, or school officials. Additionally, it might highlight any biases the alleged victim or their family might have against you.
Defense Requested Private Lie Detector Tests
People usually associate lie detector tests as a tool of the police. But what many people don’t know is that defense attorneys can use lie detector tests to exonerate their clients. The main advantage of private, defense-led polygraph tests is that they can be kept confidential if for whatever reason you don’t pass the test or there is no clear result.
These tests are typically conducted by former police officers, whose ability to conduct such a test are respected by the prosecutors and judges. So if a result comes out in your favor – then the results can go a long way in helping you avoid a California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child conviction. The results of a lie detector test are not admissible in trial, but they help in convincing a prosecutor in dropping charges against you. If the results are unfavorable, the results are kept confidential and discarded. It will be as if the test was never conducted.
What Should I Do if I am Charged With California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child?
If you are facing California Penal Code 474.6 PC Annoying a Child charges, it is important that you contact a Sex Crime Attorney immediately. Evidence and witness memories tend to disappear or become more unreliable as time passes on. The earlier you hire a Sex Crime Attorney, the earlier they can start to build the evidentiary record in your favor.
We invite you to contact our Sex Crime Attorneys. They will be happy to discuss with you the specific details of your case including the relevant issues that will come up, potential punishments, and available legal defenses.
Call 424-835-9799 for a free consultation.