Phoenix Child Molestation Defense Lawyer
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Child Molestation Defense
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Child molestation charges are taken incredibly seriously just about everywhere, but especially in the state of Arizona. Those who are accused of such a crime face significant consequences – even before a conviction is ever made. This is because, when it comes to sex crimes against children, the public almost never sees you as innocent until proven guilty. Aside from the personal repercussions that come with child molestation charges, defendants also stand to face harsh criminal penalties, including fines, a long prison sentence, and sex offender registration.
It’s crucial that those who face child molestation charges in Arizona seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their legal rights and fight for their reputation and future. A knowledgeable and skilled attorney could be all that stands between you and a lifetime of repercussions.
At Belén Law Firm, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys have handled hundreds of cases involving sexual allegations, including those as sensitive as sexual crimes against children. We know what it takes to provide a solid defense and stand up against prosecutors whose only goal is to secure a conviction. To schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated Phoenix child molestation defense attorneys, give us a call at 602-715-0908 or complete our online intake form today.
What is Considered Child Molestation?
Child molestation occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly engages in sexual contact with a minor under the age of 15. This includes any indirect or direct touching, fondling, or manipulating of the genitals or anus “by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact,” (ARS § 13-1401). Normally, sexual contact also refers to sexual contact with the female breast, but this is not the case for child molestation charges.
Though the charges sound similar, child molestation is different from sexual conduct with a minor and child sexual assault. In Arizona, sexual conduct with a minor occurs when someone knows a child is under the age of 18 and has sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with them anyway. Meanwhile, child sexual assault or “child sexual abuse” occurs when an individual engages in nonconsensual sexual contact with a person aged 15 or older or, if the child is below the age of 15, engages in sexual contact only with the female breast.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1410
The definition and penalties for child molestation charges in Arizona can be found in ARS § 13-1410. Under Arizona law, “a person commits molestation of a child by intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact, except sexual contact with the female breast, with a child who is under fifteen years of age.”
What are the Penalties for Child Molestation in Arizona?
If a person receives a child molestation conviction, they face severe penalties. The crime is considered a Class 2 felony and is punishable as a Dangerous Crime Against Children. Dangerous crimes against children carry even harsher penalties. Under Arizona’s mandatory sentencing laws, a sexual offender convicted of child molestation faces a presumptive term of 17 years in prison, a minimum term of 10 years in prison, and a maximum term of 24 years. If the offender has one previous predicate felony, meaning a previous child molestation count or another felony for child abuse in their criminal history, the penalty increases to a presumptive term of 28 years, a minimum of 21 years, and a maximum prison sentence of 35 years.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Accused of Child Molestation?
If you have been charged with child molestation in Arizona, it is crucial to equip the help of experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. A child molestation charge is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can face and can result in severe legal and personal consequences, including lengthy prison sentences, fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
A Phoenix criminal defense lawyer like those at Belén Law Firm can help protect your Constitutional Rights and build a strong defense strategy that takes into account the unique circumstances of your case. They can review the evidence against you, conduct their own investigation, and challenge any potential errors or misconduct by law enforcement. Additionally, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution to potentially reduce charges or penalties, or even secure a dismissal or acquittal at trial. Without the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer, you may be at a significant disadvantage in defending against child molestation charges and may be at risk of facing severe consequences that could impact your life for years to come.
Defenses for Child Molestation Charges in Arizona
If you’re facing child molestation charges in Arizona, it is important to understand the possible defenses that may be utilized for your case. One defense strategy could be to challenge the credibility of the accuser and investigate their background to see if they have any motive to lie or fabricate allegations. For example, a co-parent might make false accusations against the other in the midst of a child custody dispute in order to retain full custody of their child or children. Another possible defense is to argue that the alleged contact was accidental or misunderstood and not intended as sexual in nature. Additionally, it may be possible to argue that the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged acts. It is also important to review the evidence collected by law enforcement to ensure that proper procedures were followed during the investigation and to challenge any potential errors or misconduct.
Another possible defense that may be employed is the lack of sexual interest defense. This defense argues that the defendant did not have the requisite sexual interest or intent to commit the alleged acts of child molestation. In other words, the defendant may have been present during the alleged incident but did not engage in any sexual behavior with the alleged victim because they lacked the necessary sexual desire or attraction. However, it is important to note that this defense can be difficult to prove and may require expert testimony or other evidence to support it. It is also important to consider the potential implications of using this defense, as it may be seen as admitting to other, non-sexual offenses, such as being alone with a child or engaging in inappropriate behavior.
Ultimately, it is essential to build a strong defense that takes into account the unique circumstances of the case and the applicable laws and legal precedents. Only an experienced sex crime defense attorney can provide the strongest defense possible in your case and help you secure the most favorable outcome in your situation.
Child Molestation Charges? You Need Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Belén Olmedo Guerra On Your Side
Arizona child molestation charges are taken incredibly seriously, and those accused must do everything in their power to protect themselves against the harsh consequences that may follow. If you are facing child molestation charges, it is in your absolute best interest to equip the help of an aggressive defense attorney as soon as possible after the allegations are made.
At Belén Law Firm, our Phoenix sex crime attorneys understand the seriousness of these charges and know what it takes to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system. We are prepared to help you build and strengthen your case and fight for the best possible outcome for your unique situation. For a free initial consultation, call our Phoenix law office at 602-715-0908 or complete our online intake form today.