Orange County Annoying or Molesting a Child Attorney
CA Penal Code 647.6
If you are reading this page, you have more than likely been accused of annoying or molesting a child. What many people may not be aware of is that legally speaking, "annoying" and "molesting" a child in the State of California is much different than it sounds.
Being accused of such a crime means that at some point, you allegedly spoke about things of a sexual nature or engaged in behavior that offended a minor in your vicinity. You may have said something to another adult and didn’t expect a child to be in the area. Whatever the case may have been, your comments or actions "annoyed" the child in question and has put you in the situation you now find yourself.
Of course, you're wondering - "Now what?"
First, hire a tough and experienced OC criminal defense attorney. With Law Office of Michael L. Guisti in your corner, you stand a fighting chance of having the charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Everything is riding on you establishing a credible and clear defense. Besides the legal and financial problems of a child harassment charge, your personal life will be affected. If found guilty, you would be required to register as a sex offender for life.
But it is up to you to make the first move. Don’t delay. Get the representation you need before it becomes too late. Dial (714) 530-9690 to speak with a member of our team.
What is California Penal Code 647.6?
If you’ve been accused of annoying or molesting a child, you are actually being charged with CA Penal Code 647.6. But, the term "molesting" can be confusing in this situation.
Simply put, if you engage in conduct that disturbs a nearby child, you could violating the law. You are not being charged with touching a child in an inappropriate manner, but rather emotionally and mentally disturbing them by your actions. If you engage in an explicit discussion with a child or behave in a sexual manner in front of them, you can be charged with CA Penal Code 647.6.
What Kind of Defense Options Do I Have?
Unfortunately, this is one crime that one too many innocent people end up facing. Because of the nature of the crime, it can be hard to determine what was said and what the intention was. Perhaps the comments were never meant to be heard by the child? Maybe your motivations weren’t sexual in nature? You may have not even been aware that a child was in the area when you engaged in sexual behavior. Whatever the case maybe, there are options if you've been accused of harassing a minor.
Law Office of Michael L. Guisti recommends establishing a strong defense as soon as possible. No matter what kind of fine or jail time you may face, nothing can compare with being labeled a sex offender for life.
Phone Harassment Involving a Minor
The crime of harassment also can be connected with child annoying or molesting. Simply put, harassment is unwanted and continuous actions being committed by one person towards another in an aggressive and threatening manner. If this involves a child, you could be facing charges of child harassment. Phone harassment is one such form of harassment that can fall under this category.
If you incessantly call, leave voicemails, text messages, or any other type of communication where the phone is used to commit these unwelcome actions towards the minor, then you could be facing charges of phone harassment. Remember, when it comes to the law on "annoying" a child, you do not have to have made any inappropriate physical advances or touching of the child, but rather it is the emotional and mental anguish you may have caused.
For example, if you leave multiple messages on a minor’s phone where you are asking inappropriate questions or making lewd remarks of a sexual nature, you are “annoying” or harassing the child by means of the phone. Therefore, the minor may consider these calls of a threatening and offensive nature, and could suffer emotional damage as a result of your actions.
Being accused of phone harassment of any kind is a serious matter, and if it involves a child, it can become even more complicated. You may not know how to procced if faced with the possibility of a trial, so immediately contacting an attorney at the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti is vital to ensure you have the right defense.
The Possibility of a Civil Harassment Case
If you are accused of any of these forms of harassment, in addition to the criminal charges you may be facing, you could also have to deal with a civil harassment lawsuit. When it comes to civil harassment cases, there are no criminal charges involved because the lawsuit is being filed by the victim, not the state. However, this does not mean that the results of the case are not just as serious. Civil harassment cases can involve accusations of assault, battery, stalking, or serious threats of violence against the victim, in this case a child. For instance, in the above example of phone harassment, the victim could potentially take you to court seeking money or a restraining order because they felt threatened by your continuous messages or stalking of them.
According to the California Penal Code 647.6, if you were convicted of annoying or molesting a child, "the court prohibits the defendant from having contact with the victim…[including] all physical contact, being in the presence of the victim, communication by any means, any communication by a third party acting on behalf of the defendant, and any gifts." If you violate this order, the victim may bring you to civil court to file for a restraining order out of fear for their safety. Further refusal to abide by this order can result in criminal charges.
Another reason you could find yourself in civil court with a civil harassment case is if the victim is suing you for monetary damages as a result of your unlawful and unwelcome actions. The child may have felt emotionally scarred by what you did, so they are seeking financial compensation from you. It is especially important to have an attorney present in order to fight for you and help reduce the chance of you being found guilty and required to make these large payments to the victim.
Do not delay if you are served with papers to appear in civil court for a crime you are being accused of committing against a minor. Child annoying, molesting, or harassing are not crimes you want to deal with alone, especially with how serious the punishments are if you are found guilty. We want to help you, so do not hesitate to contact us today.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call (714) 530-9690 today.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.