Having a molestation charge leveled against you can come on like a slap in the face. The potential damage to your reputation and the possibility of lengthy incarceration in a penal institution are frightening prospects for anyone accused of the crime of molestation. What laypersons refer to as molestation could qualify for multiple counts being charged under different sections of the California Penal Code. If you need a molestation defense lawyer in El Segundo or anywhere else in L.A. county, the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter can help.
Different parts of the California Penal Code cover laws regarding unlawful sexual conduct involving a child.
This law states that it is illegal to molest any minor under the age of 18, and it is also illegal to engage in a sex act with a person over the age of 18 if you believe they are, in fact, younger than the age of legal majority. Both of these acts can be penalized by up to one year in jail and up to 5,000 dollars in fines.
Under this law, it is illegal to engage a child under the age of 14 in a sexual manner. This could include touching the child or having the child touch you. This charge is a felony, meaning if convicted you could face several years in prison as well as fines of more than 10,000 dollars. People convicted under this statute face harsher penalties when the menace is determined to have been used during the alleged crime.
This law is what is referred to in the legal community as a “wobbler,” in that it may be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime—in particular, the ages of the defendant and alleged victim. For example, under this law, it is not legal to have sex with a person under the age of 18 if you are 18 or older, but if you are 19 and the other party is 17 the offense is less serious than if you are 10 or more years older than the other party.
Anyone convicted of a sex crime in the state of California, including the crimes related to molestation, can be forced to register as a sex offender for life. This means that employers, schools, landlords and even just the general public like your neighbors and friends would have open access to your name, address and mugshot as well as the details of the charges you were convicted of.
You don’t have to face these charges alone. Talk to an experienced molestation defense lawyer in El Segundo if you have been charged with molestation in the greater Los Angeles area. The attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter have handled cases like yours and fought for their clients in the court of law, and we can do the same for you. We offer no-cost consultations, so contact us to explore your legal options as a defendant today.