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Child molestation, also known as child sexual abuse, is looked upon by society as an especially abhorrent crime. Because of the particular stigma attached to this type of criminal behavior, anyone accused of such a crime has cause to be seriously worried, whether or not that individual is guilty of the offense. If you live in the vicinity of Phoenix, Arizona, and find yourself in the disturbing situation of being suspected, accused of, or arrested for child molestation, you are fortunate that the skilled criminal defense attorneys at Arizona Lawyers are nearby.

We are prepared to defend you with vigor and compassion we have shown so many clients during the past 25 years. Our extensive experience in this area of law has shown us that many times accusations of child molestation are mistaken or fraudulent, so we always assume that you are innocent until proven guilty. We serve clients in Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Phoenix, and throughout the state of Arizona, have a proven track record of positive outcomes, and a well-earned reputation for providing each client with concerned personalized attention.

Defining Child Molestation

Child molestation is defined as intentionally or knowingly engaging in, or causing another person to engage in, sexual contact with a child under the age of 15 years. In Arizona, sexual crimes in this category are covered by the Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) statute. Being convicted of a DCAC results in mandatory sentencing, requires you to register as a sex offender, and results in a lifetime of probation as a sex offender.

Penalties for child molestation are harsh is Arizona, so if you are accused of, or arrested for, any of the crimes included under the umbrella of child molestation, you should contact one of the highly capable attorneys at Arizona Lawyers as quickly as possible. The sooner you seek legal counsel, the better your chances of fighting the charges. Below are detailed explanations of the various types of child molestation you may be prosecuted for and that our office can help you to deal with successfully.

Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

It is a serious crime to lure a minor for the purposes of sexual exploitation when you know, or should know, that the individual is a minor. This means that intention is a factor in the crime. Even if you are unsuccessful in tempting a child into a sexual encounter, the attempt to lure that child with such an intention is already a crime. Also, sexual exploitation of a minor is when someone knowingly produce, possess, or possess with intent to distribute child pornography; or intentionally distribute or view child pornography; or if the defendant is a minor’s parent or legal guardian and they knowingly consent to or permit the minor to be sexually exploited. Sexual exploitation of a minor may also include kidnapping a child for sexual purposes and sex trafficking, that is, transporting a child for purposes of prostituting or otherwise sexually abusing that child.

Sexual Conduct with a Minor

Obviously, intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person under the age of 18 is a crime, in this case a class 6 felony. If the youngster is 14 years old or younger, the crime rises to a class 2 felony and a DCAC. Touching the breast of a female child 15 years or younger with sexual intention is considered a crime of child molestation.

Child Pornography

Child pornography is a broader category than many people realize. The offense includes not only photographing sexual activity involving children or possessing such material, but knowingly filming, recording, duplicating, developing, selling, purchasing, transporting, or electronically transmitting or receiving any visual depiction of sexual conduct with a minor. If such a crime involves a child who is 14 years of age or younger, it is considered a class 2 felony and a DCAC.

Child Prostitution and Solicitation of Prostitution

Child prostitution is a form of sexual exploitation of children. It is defined as knowingly offering a minor (anyone under the age of legal consent) as a sexual participant in exchange for money or something of value. Solicitation of a child prostitute is also a crime. Child prostitution and sex trafficking of children are often linked crimes.

Public Sexual Indecency Involving a Child

Public sexual indecency is committed if you intentionally engage in sexual contact (including masturbatory contact) in the presence of a minor. If you deliberately expose your genitals or anus (or, if you are female, your areola or nipple when you are not breastfeeding) to a child, you are committing the crime of indecent exposure.

Child Sexual Abuse

When an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation, he or she is abusing that child. Whether that child is urged, bribed, pressured or threatened — or even if the child consents — the sexual contact is a serious crime.

Child Sexual Assault

When a child is forcibly sexually abused or raped — vaginally, anally, or orally — the crime is child sexual assault and results in severe, long-term punishments upon conviction.

Failure to Register as a Sexual Offender

The law requires that any individual convicted of committing, or attempting to commit, certain sex felonious crimes must register with the sheriff’s office of the county in which that individual resides. Failure to register within a reasonable period of time is also a felony offense. This registration is considered to be necessary because of the extraordinarily high rate of recidivism among sex offenders. Offenders who have been convicted of child molestation are considered of particular danger to the community and so are tracked closely by law enforcement agencies.

This is another strong reason to have aggressive attorneys working to defend you when you are being prosecuted for child molestation. The consequences of a conviction are not only harsh but extremely long-term.

Penalties for Child Molestation in Arizona

Penalties throughout the United States for sexual molestation of a child are harsh. In Arizona, they are even more severe than is typical. In Arizona, for example, bail is not offered in such cases, so the accused remains in jail until his or her court appearance. If convicted, the defendant is not eligible for parole or a shortened sentence.

Because sentences In Arizona run so long, convictions for more than one crime always run consecutively, and under the DCAC designation prisoners are eligible for parole or early release, harsh mandatory sentences are sometimes called “life enders.” Even beyond the long prison sentence itself, conviction for a sex crime against a child will have long-lasting consequences, that may interfere with your employment opportunities, your housing options, your standing in the community, and your personal relationships.

This is why connecting with our skilled criminal defense attorneys is crucial. We have the experience and legal know-how to develop strategies to have you exonerated or to plea bargain your case down to lesser charges.

Legal Defenses for Child Molestation

In spite of the seriousness of child molestation charges, there are a number of strategies our team has developed over the years to give our clients the best possible chance of a nontoxic resolution to their legal dilemma.

For one thing, we are aware that many allegations of child molestation manifest themselves during acrimonious divorces or in situations involving teenagers who loathe living with a stepparent, perhaps the same person they blame for splitting up their parents’ marriage. In such cases, the only evidence of a crime may be the testimony of a vindictive spouse or an enraged adolescent.

Also, in the case of older children or young teenagers, a young person may accuse someone of molestation as an alternative to confessing to participating in sexual activity with a peer. Our well-connected law team is fully prepared to bring in psychology, medical, and/or forensic (DNA) experts, and even to have a polygraph test administered. We will go to any lengths necessary to discover the truth and set you free.

Another possible defense against charges of child molestation is that the alleged accused was unaware of the alleged victim’s young age. It is frequently the case that the minor looks years older than he or she actually is. The young person may pretend to be older and the situation in which the accuser and victim meet may be a venue where one would only expect to encounter adults, such as a bar or an adult entertainment venue.

A third possible defense is that there was no actual physical contact. Sometimes a young person is discomforted by behavior that he or she mistakenly interprets as “flirtatious,” when in fact is it simply friendly. In the absence of actual physical contact, this affirmative defense, that there was no sexual intention on the part of the alleged molester, may be acceptable to the court.

Another defense that we have used successfully is to consider whether your constitutional rights were violated in the process of your arrest. If you were not read your Miranda warning, for example, your case may be thrown out of court on that basis alone. Other procedural mistakes on the part of law enforcement, such as continuing to question you after you have asked to speak with a lawyer, or threatening you if you refuse to admit guilt, may also be used to defend you.

We may also challenge the results of investigations, including misidentifications of people in photographs or police lineups and mix-ups of forensic evidence. If it is possible to raise reasonable doubts about evidence, we may be able to get the charges against you dropped.

Turn to Arizona Lawyers When You Don’t Know Where to Turn

Being accused of any crime is traumatic, but being charged with child molestation is particularly disturbing, both because of the immediate crisis it creates and because of its potential long-term consequences. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the situation, but once you turn to our accomplished, effective criminal defense attorneys, we will take over and restore your sense of stability. We are dedicated to working hard to see that your rights and reputation are protected and equally committed to standing beside you throughout your ordeal, determined to bring your case to a successful conclusion. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.