Child molestation is a serious charge that can have devastating consequences on your life if you are convicted. Perhaps no other crime carries such severe penalties in loss of reputation and other ramifications outside of the legal system. It may seem impossible to clear your name of these charges. The attorneys of Banks & Brower have helped many people in Indianapolis in this situation obtain the best possible outcome. We have a proven track record of going the extra mile to help defendants present the evidence fairly. You cannot afford to take a charge of child molestation lightly, you must take action to secure your rights.
Indiana Child Molestation Laws
Sexual contact with a minor under the age of 14 is child molestation under Indiana state law. This may be fondling or sexually touching the child, or sexual penetration. If the accused is under the age of 21 and the sexual contact involves fondling or sexually touching the child, it is a level 4 felony that can be raised to a level 2 for aggravating circumstances. If the accused is under 21 and the sexual contact involved intercourse, it is a level 3 felony that may be escalated to a level 1 with aggravating factors.
If the accused is over 21, child molestation is a level 1 felony. Even if the victim is not under 14 but the accused believed the child to be under 14, they may be convicted of child molestation.
Conviction of Child Molestation
Conviction of a charge of child molestation carries criminal penalties including incarceration and fines. Incarceration ranges from 2 to 12 years for level 4 felonies, up to 20 to 40 years for level 1 felonies. Convicted felons may also be fined up to $10,000.
In addition to those penalties, a felony conviction will keep you from certain jobs including jobs working with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable people such as some healthcare jobs. Government contracts involving work with sensitive information will not be available to convicted felons. Felons may not vote or be allowed to own or carry firearms.
A child molestation charge will result in the victim’s information being placed on the national sex offender registry. Sex offenders are required to re-register periodically, at least yearly, and whenever they move. Your name and address will be available to the public as part of the registry as well as possibly having other information, including what your conviction was for, made public.
Defenses to Child Molestation
It is not uncommon for a spouse, or ex-spouse, to encourage children to fabricate claims of child molestation. If there is some reason the child may have been coerced into lying, you may bring evidence of this in order to defend yourself from the charge.
Another defense is that the child simply mistook who molested them. A defense in this case may include offering evidence of your being unable to have molested the child at the time they say the molestation took place. Another defense might be any physical features the child is able to recall of the actual abuser that do not fit you.
Finally, you may be able to show that the child was not sexually abused at all, but there was good reason for the contact, and it was not sexual in nature.
Defending yourself from a child molestation accusation is vital to protecting your freedom and good name. It is important to have an attorney representing you who is familiar with child molestation cases and can expertly present the evidence in your case to achieve the best possible outcome. It may not be possible in all cases to completely establish innocence. In those cases, your attorney will be in the best position to negotiate a fair plea bargain that may help you avoid the worst outcomes of a felony conviction.