Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S §13-1410 “Child Molestation” occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly engages in, or causes a person to engage in, sexual contact (except sexual contact with the female breast) with a child under fifteen (15) years of age.
In this article, learn about the laws, punishments and defenses for allegations / charges of Child Molestation. To start, watch the video below to learn what a charge of child molestation means in Arizona:
Possible Punishment for Child Molestation
Child Molestation is a Class Two (2) felony, and considered a Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC), which carries the following punishment for each and every conviction:
- Ten (10) years minimum in prison
- Seventeen (17) years presumptive in prison
- Twenty-four (24) years maximum incarceration.
If convicted of one previous predicate felony (which includes a prior DCAC, among other serious felonies), the range of punishment increases to a:
- Minimum twenty-one (21) years
- Presumptive twenty-eight (28) years
- Maximum thirty-five (35) years.
Because this is a DCAC, 100% of the prison time must be served before being eligible for release.
In addition, if the person is convicted of two (2) counts, they must be run consecutive to each other (i.e., the minimum is now twenty (20) years in prison, and all other ranges double). This is why these charges are sometimes referred to as “life enders”. The maximum penalty on a Child Molestation charge actually carries more time than the maximum penalty on a Second Degree Murder charge.
A conviction will require you to Register as a Sex Offender for the rest of your life, and you are not allowed to have any contact with anyone under the age of eighteen (18) (this includes your own children), without going through numerous testing procedures and only with the consent of your Probation Officer.
Possible Defenses for Child Molestation
Many times charges for Child Molestation arise during the pendency of a divorce proceeding where the defendant’s soon to be ex-spouse, or an angry teenager who wants her father or step-father “out of the picture”, makes up these false allegations. It is important to challenge these charges immediately by reviewing how the report was initially received, obtaining any Child Protective Service reports which were prepared, questioning any forensic interviewers which may have talked to the child, obtaining any divorce paperwork that may have previously been filed, and potentially obtain a polygraph of the defendant in order to show that he is innocent.
This is why these allegations of Child Molestation are so dangerous. Another defense to this charge is that the defendant did not know that the minor was under the age of eighteen. This situation often occurs when the minor lies about their age to the defendant. Cross examination and interviewing all parties involved is crucial to establishing this defense.
Another defense that is specifically outlined in the Defenses Statute A.R.S §13-1407 is that the defendant was not motivated by a sexual interest when the contact occurred. This defense is applicable when the defendant touches another person, or causes another person to touch, for some other purpose other than sexual gratification. Under the statute this is not Child Molestation. Registering as a Sex Offender has far reaching and drastic consequences. Thus, it is very important to have the best defense team possible.
Need an Arizona Sex Crimes Lawyer? Contact us immediately if you have been questions about, or charged with Child Molestation.
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At DM Cantor, we have handled – and won – a very high percentage of the Sex Crimes cases involving private counsel in the State of Arizona. We have one of the largest libraries with research materials devoted to challenging accusations involving sex crimes, including Child Molestation. In addition, our attorneys have attended numerous seminars sponsored by the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center (the leading center in the United States which assists in the defense of the falsely accused). Our attorneys have been highly trained in the clinical and forensic interviewing techniques of children and their families. This allows us to properly question detectives and other mental health professionals who may have initially interviewed the alleged victim.
If the interviewing process was not done correctly, it can often be shown that the detective “led” the alleged victim into giving the necessary answers required to charge the defendant. Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would apply a range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation” or “right to remain silent.”
In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.
In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case.
Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Child Molestation lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is an Arizona Child Molestation Lawyer and a Certified Sex Crimes Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®.