V. 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.
Some cases do not allow this defense. For example, in PC 288(a) charges, you cannot make the defense that you reasonably believed the minor was in fact 18 at the time of the act. One of the elements to PC 288(a), that the requires that the minor be under 14 of the time of the touching, does not mention whether you knew they were underage or not. Whether you are aware of their age or not has been determined to be irrelevant in the way the law of PC 288(a) is written. For more information on the defense of reasonable mistake as to age, call Ontario Criminal Defense attorney Adam Jackson today for a free consultation and free case evaluation. Call today at 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario, CA.