3 Potential Defenses Against Child Molestation Allegations
A child molestation conviction carries serious criminal penalties. Not to mention, child molestation allegations often involve negative effects on your reputation and cost you numerous relationships and opportunities. Some child molestation convictions require sex offender registration as well. Sex offender registration can negatively impact your life even more. Unfortunately, false child molestation allegations arise rather frequently. Even if you feel confident in your innocence, the prosecution might go to extraordinary lengths to obtain your conviction.
If you’re facing child molestation charges, you need an aggressive criminal charges attorney who has experience with these allegations. Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to start your free consultation.
What Is Child Molestation in New Mexico?
New Mexico refers to child molestation as criminal sexual contact of a minor (New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978, Section 30-9-13). The statute defines criminal sexual contact of a minor as unlawful and intentional touching or applying force to the intimate parts of a minor or unlawfully and intentionally causing a minor to touch one’s intimate parts. According to the statute, “intimate parts” means the primary genitalia area, groin, buttocks, anus, or breasts.
Penalties for child molestation can range from up to 15 years in prison with a fine of up to $12,500 to an 18-month prison sentence with a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, you can face a mandatory sex offender registration requirement. As a registered sex offender, you could experience difficulty:
- Finding suitable housing;
- Obtaining gainful employment; and
- Avoiding discovery of your sex offender status.
Even without evidence, child molestation allegations often inflict irreparable damage to your reputation. Before you let these charges potentially impact your freedom and irreparably damage your reputation, consult an experienced criminal charges defense lawyer. A lawyer can help determine what defenses against child molestation allegations apply in your case. An experienced lawyer can examine your case and determine if there is a way to get the charges dismissed. If dismissal is not possible, they can then prepare a strategy to negotiate with the prosecutor to get you a plea deal to a lesser charge or take the case to trial if necessary. When your rights are in jeopardy, there’s no time to waste. Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today.
Common Defenses Against Child Molestation Allegations
A valid legal defense that applies to your case can force the prosecutor to dismiss your charges. At the very least, the prosecutor might agree to lower your charges to a criminal violation with less severe consequences and without the stigma that comes with child molestation convictions. However, legal defenses only apply in certain circumstances and depend on the facts of each case. For example, the defense of consent does not apply in child molestation cases because children cannot consent to sexual conduct. The most common legal defenses for child molestation accusations are detailed below.
#1 Lack of Evidence
In some child molestation cases, the prosecution attempts to use the negative stigma surrounding the charge to villainize the defendant. This treatment could make you feel like you don’t stand a chance of beating the case. However, strong language from the prosecution and media sources doesn’t mean you’re automatically considered guilty.
The prosecution faces the high burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Prosecutors can encounter difficulty meeting this burden, especially when the star witness happens to be a child. An experienced criminal lawyer knows how to show the jury that the prosecution has not met its burden. Even the slightest doubt in one juror’s mind can result in a hung jury.
With decades of combined trial experience, the criminal charges attorneys at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices are confident in our ability to demonstrate problems and holes in the prosecution’s case. Reach out to us today, so we can start reviewing your case.
#2 False Accusations
Sadly, a large number of child molestation allegations include information that is simply untrue. A number of circumstances can lead to fabricated molestation allegations. For example, a scorned lover could fabricate allegations against you as a form of revenge. Most people realize that child molestation is a sensitive topic that elicits strong reactions from almost everyone. As a result, child molestation allegations often provide an easy way to turn others against someone you perceive to be your enemy.
Alternatively, child molestation allegations can occur in the context of a custody battle. One parent could accuse the other parent of child molestation in an attempt to gain the upper hand in court.
No matter the reason, false child molestation charges pose serious risks to defendants. However, that doesn’t stop accusers from spreading their fabricated stories. Even the most outrageous allegations can result in child molestation charges. That is why it is so critical to contact a criminal charges attorney right away if you’re facing false accusations of child molestation. Stopping the spread of a false story as early as possible can save you a lot of grief and hardship down the road.
#3 Your Contact Was Unintentional
New Mexico’s child molestation law requires that the defendant intentionally committed criminal sexual contact. In limited circumstances, an individual could inadvertently touch a child’s intimate parts. For example, if you reach out to catch a falling child, you could accidentally touch their intimate areas. If the contact wasn’t intentional, you did not violate New Mexico’s statute on criminal sexual contact of a minor.
Contact a Criminal Charges Attorney to Defend You Against Child Molestation Allegations
Our criminal charges defense lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices approach every case on an individualized basis, understanding that no two cases are the same. We’re committed to doing everything we can to help guide our clients through the process of facing child molestation allegations in New Mexico. We spend time tailoring a specific defense strategy for each client, depending on the facts of your case. We’re committed to listening to your concerns, conducting a thorough investigation, and presenting you with what we believe is a winning strategy in the event your case proceeds to trial.
Our attorneys have over three decades of combined experience representing criminal defendants in New Mexico. If you or a loved one are facing child molestation charges in New Mexico, call us at 505-375-4765 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation on your case.