Inland Empire Criminal Defense

Reasonable Mistake as to Age

In some, but not all Sex Cases, a common defense is that you did not believe the person you were speaking to or with was actually underage. For example, in PC 647.6(a)(1) cases, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the person you were speaking to was actually underage. This can be shown through direct evidence, such as a text conversation where the minor says they are under 18. Or through circumstantial evidence, where the person mentions they are in middle school, the minor looks very young, mentions they do not have a driver’s license, etc. But if the mistake as to the minor’s age is reasonable, then it is a complete defense to a charge.

Certain scenarios do not permit this defense. For instance, in PC 288(a) cases, you are precluded from arguing that you reasonably believed the minor to be 18 at the time of the incident. One of the stipulations of PC 288(a), which necessitates the minor to be under 14 at the time of the contact, does not specify whether you were aware of their age. The issue of your awareness of their age has been deemed inconsequential as per the wording of PC 288(a). For additional insights on the defense of a reasonable mistake regarding age, reach out to Ontario’s Criminal Defense attorney Adam Jackson for a complimentary consultation and case review. Contact now at 909-939-7126. Based in Ontario, CA.

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