Los Angeles Child Molestation Defense Lawyer
Have you been accused of child molestation in Los Angeles, CA? You may be facing up to a lifetime in prison depending on the specific circumstances of the action, your age, the victim’s age, and your prior criminal history. These charges are grave and carry significant weight.
When your entire future is at stake, it is critically important to have a Los Angeles child molestation defense lawyer representing you and advocating for your rights.
At The Rodriguez Law Group, we are familiar with the challenges and dynamics present in Los Angeles child molestation cases. We will be on your side.
We know how to present facts and explain the legal issues to jurors, to guide them past initial reactions to fair decisions. If you are facing criminal charges, contact us today to see how we can help you keep you out of jail and protect your rights and your future.
How a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight Child Charges
Few crimes generate as much public outcry as child molestation. Prosecutors will fiercely pursue molestation charges and other sex crimes, and defendants may be subject to prejudice from news coverage and jurors.
Because the alleged victim usually knows the alleged perpetrator in some capacity, child molestation charges are often the subject of dramatic media focus and rumors.
The Rodriguez Law Group understands the highly sensitive nature of child molestation charges. From experience, our Los Angeles criminal lawyers know that nobody should face child sex crime charges without being represented by a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Few criminal defense law firms in California offer the experience and history of successful outcomes that The Rodriguez Law Group brings to sex crimes.
As a former prosecutor, founding attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez:
- Worked as a Trial Team Leader of a Sex Crimes Unit.
- Prosecuted more than 1,000 cases and had questioned hundreds of experts, challenging scientific evidence and prosecution tactics.
- Knows the system well because he worked it for years.
If you are facing child molestation charges, you may be facing between 3 and 8 years in prison for a first offense, fines and restitution, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and devastating employment and social implications.
Child Molestation Statutes in California
The term “child molestation” is an umbrella term that can refer to many crimes, including “lewd or lascivious act” with a minor – which describes touching of the body in a sexual manner.
Crimes related to child molestation may include:
- Penal Code Section 647.6 – Annoying or Molesting a Child
- Penal Code Section 287(a)– Oral Copulation with a Minor
- Penal Code Section 288(a)– Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Child Under the Age of 14
- Penal Code Section 288(b) – Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Minor by Force or Fear
- Penal Code Section 288(c) – Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Child Age 14 or 15
- Penal Code Section 288.4 – Soliciting a Minor for Lewd Purposes
- Penal Code Section 288.5 – Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
- Penal Code Section 288.7 – Sex with a Child Under the Age of 10
- Penal Code Section 290 – Sex Offender Registration.
The term “minor” is defined differently among the statutes.
Children as young as 14 may be tried in California in adult criminal court if the case meets certain criteria, or automatically for crimes like rape, forcible sex offenses, or oral copulation by force. A conviction for committing a lewd or lascivious act with a child under the age of 14 is a felony. This crime carries a penalty of up to eight years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
California Penal Code Section 647.6 – Annoying or Molesting a Child
You can be charged with child molestation for touching any part of a child’s body – it does not matter what part of the body is touched.
You can also be charged with annoying and molesting even if you do not physically touch someone. For example, sending Snapchat or Instagram messages to a minor could meet the elements of PC 647.6.
To convict you, the prosecutor will need to prove four elements:
- You engaged in conduct directed towards a minor;
- Your conduct would have undoubtedly offended or disturbed a normal person;
- The person was under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged conduct; and
- Your conduct was motivated by an unnatural sexual interest in the minor.
Annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor first conviction, this crime may be punishable by up to a year in county jail. As a felony conviction, this crime may be punishable by up to three years in state prison.
Potential Defenses to a PC 647.6 Child Molestation Charge
No two cases are alike. If you’re facing a PC 647.6 charge, your attorney can help you determine a successful defense to your charge. Some defenses that may have been successfully raised in child molestation cases include:
- You reasonably believed, in good faith, that the alleged victim was 18 years of age or older when the alleged conduct occurred.
- You were not sexually motivated, and you had not unusual sexual desire in the child
- The conduct is not disturbing or offensive to a normal person.
Our attorneys can review the specific details of your case and evaluate potential defenses. Because evidence and witness recollections become less reliable as time goes by, it is advisable to not delay in contacting an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.
Child Molestation – A “General Intent” Crime
Under PC 647.6, child molestation is classified as a “general intent” crime. For a prosecutor to be successful in convicting someone, they simply need to show that you defendant committed a criminal act. This is different from a specific intent crime where elements of intent to commit an act and violate the law must be present.
There is also no requirement in PC 647.6 that the victim must have been actually annoyed by the behavior. For example, if someone sent sexually explicit text messages to a middle schooler, but the phone was in their parents’ room overnight being charged, the parents could intercept the messages before the child saw them. You could still be charged.
In another scenario, the alleged victim may not be annoyed, but the court could decide that a reasonable, normal, hypothetical child would have been annoyed.
When Accusations of Child Abuse Are False in Los Angeles
Child molestation is a crime that people may be falsely accused of committing. With the “MeToo” movement, there is a well-intentioned emphasis on believing victims. And while, in many cases, victims are telling the truth, many other alleged perpetrators are falsely accused, including parents, extended family members, health care providers, coaches, daycare workers, pastors, and teachers.
Anyone who spends time with children is potentially at risk of false accusations.
The reasons and motivations for making false accusations vary, but may include:
- Parents making false accusations against another parent: This may happen in bitter custody battles where one parent is trying to gain custody, or desires to move away with the child or children.
- Grandparents making false accusations against a parent: Grandparents have made false accusations of child abuse in an effort to gain an advantage for their child in a divorce or custody battle.
- Children making false accusations against another parent: Children have made false accusations after being coerced by the other parent, or on their own after being disciplined or restricted by their parents.
- Young children miscommunicating an interaction: Young children may not be able to distinguish between good touch and bad touch.
- Mistaken identity: False accusations can arise when someone thinks they witnessed something or misinterprets an adult’s relationship with a child.
If you’ve been falsely accused, it is understandable to not want to pay for a criminal defense attorney. However, trying to clear your name on your own when your entire future is at stake can result in devastating consequences that include jail, sex offender registration, loss of professional licensing, loss of custody, and more.
What You Should NOT Do If you Are Accused of Molestation in LA
Being accused of child molestation is a very serious matter because criminal charges can have long-term or lifelong ramifications.
If you are under investigation or facing charges of sexual abuse, you should NOT:
- Have any communications or contact with the alleged victim.
- Have any communications or contact with the alleged victim’s family
- Talk to investigators or law enforcement without your attorney present
- Turn over any evidence to law enforcement without first consulting your lawyer.
People charged with crimes often believe if they cooperate with the police and maintain their innocence, they will not be charged with a crime or go to jail. However, law enforcement officers are not looking for innocent people. They are looking for evidence to give to prosecutors.
Need Legal Help or Advice? Call Los Angeles Sex Crimes Attorneys at The Rodriguez Law Group Today
We offer a free consultation to review your child molestation case and answer your questions. If you are under investigation or have been charged, do not delay in contacting our Los Angeles child molestation defense attorneys. If we represent you, we will ensure your rights are protected, and everything is done to reach the best possible outcome for your case.
Last Updated on April 20, 2022