California Penal Code 647.6- Annoying or Molesting a Minor

Under California Penal Code section 647.6, it is illegal to annoy or molest any minor under the age of 18 while motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor.

In order for the prosecution to prevail in a case of annoying or molesting child, the state must prove the following elements:

  1. You engaged in conduct directed at a minor AND
  2. A normal person, without hesitation, would have been disturbed, irritated, offended, or injured by your conduct AND
  3. Your conduct was motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor AND
  4. The minor was under the age of 18 years at the time of the conduct

It is important to note that violation of this statute does not require touching the child it can be violated using words alone to annoy the minor.

SEVERE PENALTIES FOR PENAL CODE 647.6 annoying or molesting a minor/ child

According to the California Penal Code 647.6, annoying or molesting a child is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. However, this offense can also be charged as a felony, and the defendant could face from 16 months to 3 years in prison in addition to a maximum $5,000 fine.

Therefore, Penal Code Section, 647.6 is known as a “wobbler” since it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony.  However there are several factors that can increase the sentence and they are:

  1. If you have a prior misdemeanor annoying or molesting conviction.
  2. If you have a prior felony conviction for this offense pertaining to a minor.
  3. If you are a registered sex offender pursuant to California Penal Code Section, 290.


There are a number of defenses that a California criminal defense lawyer at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC can raise on your behalf. Your lawyer can argue:

You had a good faith belief that the victim was 18 years of age or older

Your conduct was not directed at a minor

Your conduct was not motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor

Your conduct would not have disturbed, irritated, offended or injured a normal person

Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, each of the above mentioned defenses can be advanced on your behalf.

Contact us:

We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.

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Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

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Please CLICK HERE to visit our dedicated page on sex crime charges for more info.