Perhaps no charge is greater wrought with hysteria, fear or panic in our modern culture than child molestation. Although many families have been harmed by child molestation, many families have also been harmed by false allegations of child molestation. Only a few mischosen words from a child can elicit drones of professionals- teachers, social workers, police officers, investigators, medical professionals, pyschologists, prosecutors and CAST interviewers whose job it is to believe a molestation occurred and handle the situation in such a way that the alleged perpetrator and alleged victim are separated, the child is professionally treated and the alleged perpetrator is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Penalties for child molestation in Orange County, California are some of the most severe penalties a defendant can face. Particular penalties include lifetime sex registration (pursuant to Megan’s Law), lifetime GPS monitoring (pursuant to Jessica’s Law), felony strike convictions, decade-long restraining orders and life imprisonment.
Particular penalties depend on the age of the child, the age of the perpetrator, the number of incidents, whether legal “force” was used, the body parts touched, words said during the incident and whether “penetration” occurred. “Penetration” for the purposes of child molestation has a very broad definition. Vaginal penetration, for example, is defined as any contact with the clitoris or any contact past the labia majora, no matter how slight. Penetration and oral copulation of a child under the age of 10 are legally significant in that Penal Code section 288.7 makes the charges punishable by life imprisonment and raises bail from the typical $100,000 to $1 million. Criminal defense attorneys should work to avoid a conviction of Penal Code section 288.7 whenever possible.
In attempting to obtain a confession, police and prosecutors will engage in various “ruses” where, for example, they tell a person that already know all about what happened and that a child claimed various acts occurred, regardless of whether the child actually said such things. Courts have held this sort of tactic is legal.
Courts have also held that police officers may engage in “pretextual” conversations whereby they record a conversation between a suspect and a loved one and words of regret, apology or a failure to deny the situation are then used against that suspect later as evidence of his guilt.
If you or a loved one are charged or suspected of child molestation, it is crucial that you get an Orange County criminal lawyer on your side at the earliest possible opportunity. Call Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 today to discuss this matter further.