| Read Time: 3 minutes

In California, the “child annoyance” definition refers to sexually motivated acts directed at a child under 18.

These are serious charges that could result in going to jail if you are convicted. Convictions could also have severe secondary consequences with life-altering effects. 

What can you do to avoid a negative outcome if the State charges you with child annoyance? The first step you should take is to contact The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC.

Kerry Armstrong is one of the select few attorneys in San Diego to whom the California Bar has given the prestigious designation of criminal law specialist. 

Sex crimes lawyer Kerry Armstrong and his impressive team are always ready to provide you with aggressive advocacy and support as we work to help you overcome these accusations. 

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

What Is Child Annoyance?

The California Penal Code § 647.6 contains the child annoyance definition. Child annoyance Penal Code § 647.6 also refers to molesting a child—but molesting and annoyance are synonyms under the law.

The crime of child annoyance involves behavior directed toward a child under 18 that is motivated by an abnormal or unnatural sexual interest in that child.

To constitute a crime, the behavior must be such that it would disturb, irritate, offend, or injure a normal person.

The law does not require the child to be annoyed. The question is whether a reasonable person would find the behavior offensive or harmful.

A child might not see the behavior clearly or even know what is happening—but that behavior could still be a crime.

California child molestation law does not require the perpetrator to commit a lewd and lascivious act or even touch the child to complete the crime. Words alone could constitute child annoyance.

Annoying or molesting a child in a dwelling is a crime as well. The law requires the government to prove that the accused entered an inhabited dwelling and directed conduct toward a child once inside.

Then the State must prove the remaining elements of annoying or molesting a child as described above to convict you of this offense.


Without aggravating factors, a first-time child annoyance charge is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

If you get convicted of this offense, you could be put on probation instead of going to jail. However, the judge must impose counseling as a probationary condition. 

Additionally, the court must impose a no-contact order—which prohibits you from contacting the victim in any way for the duration of probation. 

Annoying or molesting a child in a dwelling is a “wobbler” offense that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The judge could hand down a state prison sentence or a jail sentence for this conviction. Similarly, a second or subsequent conviction is a felony that carries a state prison sentence.

Also, a person with a previous felony conviction for certain offenses could receive a state prison sentence of two, four, or six years.

A conviction for this crime could result in losing your job, difficulty getting a job, difficulty finding or financing a home, and difficulty furthering your education. 

Protect Your Future with Representation from Award-Winning Defense Attorneys

With so much at stake, choosing the right sex crimes attorney is important.

San Diego board-certified criminal defense specialist Kerry Armstrong and his team are award-winning attorneys who have the experience and skills you need to achieve the best possible results.

Contact The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong today at or call 619-234-2300 to schedule a free consultation.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

Rate this Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars