Have you been accused of Child Molestation?
Child Molestation is a serious charge and not only carries grave legal consequences but has severe social consequences as well. Sadly, this accusation can ruin an innocent person’s life. A conviction of almost any type of child molestation will result in a branding as a sex offender for life, social ostracism, and often destroys relationships with family and friends.
The touching of a child does not have to be on the child’s bare skin; touching through clothing, if the intent is sexual, is a crime under this section. Under the law, a child cannot consent; therefore the child’s “consent” to the touching is not a defense. Nor is there a defense of mistaken age of the child, even if the child appeared to be and/or claimed to be much older.
Every discreet act of touching with sexual intent can be charged as a separate count. For example, if the child is fondled in one area of his or her body and then kissed, those are two separate acts of lewd conduct that can be charged as two separate counts.
When these acts are committed against a child 16 or 17 years old, it will be prosecuted as statutory rape or sexual battery, rather than child molestation. Both of these charges will also expose the accused to the sex offender lifetime registration requirement.
We are experienced criminal defense attorneys with many successes in defending these types of allegations. Because the social consequences of a conviction under this particular statute are very serious, a person accused of child molestation must immediately enlist the help of an attorney who will fight hard for the best possible outcome. We will challenge every element of the case, from the scientific evidence to witness statements and everything in between.
Perhaps the most severe consequence of a conviction under this statute is the lifetime sex offender registration requirement. Any conviction under our Penal Code will result in a mandatory requirement that the offender register. Among other impediments, this registration requirement will result in social ostracism and difficulty finding a place to live and work.
If convicted of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, the offense is a felony with a sentence of years imprisonment in state prison. If force was used upon the child, the sentence has more severe incarceration time. When it is a case of molesting a child with whom the accused lives or has frequent contact and the molestation occurs and includes multiple acts, the punishment proscribe under our Penal Code could result in decades of imprisonment in the state prison.
When the act or acts are committed against a child age 14 or 15 and the accused is at least 10 years older than the child, the punishment is imprisonment in the state prison or by imprisonment in a county jail.