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Annoying or Molesting a Child

(PC 647.6(a)(1))

Information on the crime of annoying or molesting a child is found at California penal code section 647.6(a) (PC 647.6).

PC 647.6 Law: Every person who annoys or molests a child under 18 years of age is guilty of PC 647.6(a)(1), a misdemeanor (Abbr.).

Note: According to PC 647.6, It is also a crime even if the defendant's intended target is not actually a minor:  Every person who, motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, engages in conduct with an adult whom he or she believes to be a child under 18 years of age, which conduct, if directed toward a child under 18 years of age, is guilty of PC 647.6(a)(2), a misdemeanor. This law allows police officers to pose as underage persons in order to catch what would otherwise be violators of PC 647.6(a)(1).

Also, if the defendant entered a house with intent to annoy or molest a minor the defendant may be charged with a felony: Every person who annoys or molest a child under 18 after having entered, without consent, an inhabited dwelling house, or trailer coach, or the inhabited portion of any other building, is guilty of PC 647.6(b), a felony or a misdemeanor.

In order for the district attorney to prove that the defendant is guilty of PC 647.6(a)(1), the district attorney must prove:

  • The defendant was motivated by an unnatural sexual interest in children (under 18)

  • When the defendant was motivated by unnatural an unnatural sexual interest in children he or she annoyed a child in a sexual manner

  • The defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the child that the defendant sexually annoyed or molested was under the age of 18 (except that PC 647.6(a)(2) allows for criminal charges even if the victim is not acutally a minor but the defendant believed the victim to a minor)

Note: An unnatural sexual interest in children means an abnormal sexual interest in children. For purposes of criminal court, unnatural and/or abnormal sexual interest in children will likely be found if there is any sexual interest in children.

To sexually annoy or molest a child means to direct sexual language or behavior towards a child. The evidence of sexual motivation is found in the actual language that is used by the defendant.

Common evidence that supports PC 647.6(a)(1) charges, include, but is not limited to:

  • Sending sexual messages to a person who is under the age of 18. Messages are usually sent through texts or social media sites

  • Sending sexual photographs through texts or social media sites

  • Verbally directing sexual language in an abnormal way to a person who is under the age of 18. This can be in person, via telephone, or through a third person who is directed to deliver sexual messages from the defendant to the person under the age of 18.

Punishment & Sentence for PC 647.6(a)

PC 647.6(a)(1) is classified as a misdemeanor in California. If found guilty of PC 647.6(a) the defendant may face up to one year in the county jail.

Note: Felony charges of annoying or molesting a child may be filed in several situations: If the defendant entered a home with the intent to annoy or molest a child, if the defendant has previously been found guilty of a violation of PC 647.6(a)(1), or if the defendant has previously been convicted of a sex crime listed in penal code section 290. Felony PC 647.6 charges carry up to three or four years in prison depending on the exact charge.

More PC 647.6 Crimes


PC 647.6(a)(2) is classified as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of PC 647.6(a)(2) the defendant could face up to one year in the county jail.

PC 647.6(b) is classified as a felony or as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of felony PC 647.6(b) the defendant could face up to three years in prison; if found guilty of misdemeanor PC 647.6(b) the defendant could face up to one year in the county jail.

Sex Offender Registration: In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, if the defendant is found guilty of a PC 647.6 crime, he or she must register as a sex offender pursuant to California's sex offender registration laws (PC 290). For more information on sex offender registration, including the length of registration for PC 647.6, see  Sex Offender Registration 

Crime of Moral Turpitude: PC 647.6 crimes are considered crimes involving moral turpitude, which means that PC 647.6 crimes are considered to be morally wrong. Crimes of moral turpitude carry special consequences for non United States citizens and defendants who possess a professional license, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, teachers, etc

Probation Sentence: Probation may be available in cases of annoying or molesting a child depending on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history. Probation is a period of supervision, usually with some work release or house arrest term, in lieu of an actual jail or prison sentence. The terms of probation must be followed in order to avoid an actual jail or prison sentences.

Finally, criminal convictions of annoying or molesting a child can carry any of the following punishments: penalty fines and fees, loss of immigration status, loss of professional or occupational license, loss of rights (including loss of the right to own firearms for felony PC 647.6 convictions), restraining orders, civil lawsuits, mandatory child abuse classes, victim restitution, harsh probation or parole terms, sex offender registration, and more.

Defense to PC 647.6(a)

Common defenses to a charge of annoying or molesting a child: insufficient evidence to prove the charge, reasonable mistake of fact as to the age of the victim, insanity, intoxication, illegal search and seizure, coerced confessions, statute of limitations, and more. For more information on common defenses to PC 647.6 crimes, please visit Defenses to Crime.

For more information on the crime of annoying or molesting a child, or PC 647.6 crimes, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of sex cases, including annoying or molesting a child charges filed under PC 647.6(a)(1) and more. Our sex crimes attorneys are available for private consultations seven days a week. Call today!


Quick Reference​ Sheet

Crime: Annoying or Molesting a child

Code: PC 647.6(a)(1) (CalCrim No. 1121 & 1122)

Wobbler (No): PC 647.6(a)(1) is not a wobbler. PC 647.6(a)(1) is charged as a misdemeanor.

Incarceration: Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 year.

Probation: Probation may be available in PC 647.6(a)(1) cases (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.

Strike: PC 647.6(a)(1) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 647.6(a)(1)is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

Bail: $50,000 (San Bernardino County).


Registration: If convicted of PC 647.6(a)(1), the defendant is required to register as a sex offender with law enforcement. 

Note: More penalties, direct or indirect, may apply. This info is created for that purpose only; accuracy not guaranteed. No attorney/client relationship is formed by use of this info. If arrested or charged with a crime contact a criminal defense lawyer without delay. PC647.6(a)(1)-M Info.

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Crimes Related

  • PC 647.6(b) Misdemeanor child molesting

  • PC 647.6(c)(1) Child molesting with prior