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Molestation is a crime that can fit under various sections of the California Penal Code, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. Being accused of this crime may seem appalling, but a good legal defense in the courtroom can help you stand up against these charges and come out whole. When you need a molestation defense attorney in Santa Monica, look no further than the criminal law specialists at Okabe and Haushalter.
Molestation is a blanket term, but in the legal world, someone accused of this crime could face one or more criminal charges depending on which part of the California Penal Code is applied to their case.
Example 1: Molesting or annoying a child
Section 647.6 is the law regarding “molesting or annoying a child,” and this offense is considered a misdemeanor under the law. This law is applicable when the child in question is any age under the age of legal majority. The penalties could include incarceration for one year or less and fines, as well as required sex offender registration.
Example 2: Lewd and lascivious acts with a minor
Someone may be charged under Section 288 if the alleged crime involved lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor under the age of 14. This crime is a felony charge, and the penalties are therefore more severe than they are for misdemeanor charges. These penalties could include sizeable fines and several years in a state correctional institution as well as sex offender registration.
Example 3: Statutory rape
Under Section 261.5 of the California Penal Code, a person may be charged with statutory rape. These charges “wobble” in that they can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies. Much of how they are prosecuted depends on two factors: the ages of the involved parties and whether or not force or fear was used during the alleged crime. For example, someone who is age 20 who has intercourse with someone who is age 17 will be more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor. Under California law, the greater the age difference between the involved parties, the more harsh the penalty if convicted. Anyone convicted of statutory rape faces the possibility of compulsory sex offender registration
Although a person may be facing a misdemeanor charge that would normally be punishable by less than a year in jail, when a person has previously been convicted of the same crime or a similar crime, they may be charged as felons even if their current crime otherwise fits misdemeanor criteria. The same is true for most criminal offenses under California law.
Are you facing molestation charges in the L.A. area? Contact a molestation defense attorney in Santa Monica at Okabe and Haushalter. We put up a sturdy defense for each of our clients, and we can evaluate your case free of charge today. Your life doesn’t have to come crashing down because you are facing criminal charges—a tough defense in the courtroom can make all the difference. Call today to find out more about how Okabe and Haushalter can help you fight the charges against you.