What is Child Molestation?
The definition for child molestation figures under the California Penal Code Section 288, and is referred to as “lewd or lascivious act,” which means touching the body of a minor in a sexual manner. Unlike what many people think, the touching does not have to be on a sexual organ to be considered child molestation, and neither has to be done on bare skin. The act of touching a child with a lascivious attitude is enough.
What Are the Types of Child Molestation?
- Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Child Under the Age of 14
- Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Minor by Force or Fear
- Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Child Age 14 or 15
- Annoying or Molesting a Child
- Oral Copulation with a Minor
- Soliciting a Minor for Lewd Purposes
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
- Sex with a Child Under the Age of 10
- Sex Offender Registration
Is Child Molestation considered a Misdemeanor or a Felony in California?
As with other crimes, the punishment for child molestation will depend on the circumstances of the case. For example; annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 – California Penal Code Section 647.6 – can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $5,000 fine, while a felony conviction is punishable by up to three years in state prison. The sentence for child molestation can increase if the defendant already has a criminal history that involves other sex offenses towards a minor.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Misdemeanors are punishable by substantial fines or jail time, but most misdemeanors are adjudicated in a shortened trial; and if the defendant is going to serve any jail term, then it would most likely be served in a local or county jail. On the other hand, a felony is the more serious type of crime and is often classified by degrees – being the first one the most serious. A felony is punishable by substantial fines and prison sentences that exceed the year. If a defendant is convicted of a felony, then jail time will be served in a state or federal correctional institution.
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