Four Defenses Against Child Molestation Accusations
It is hard to think of allegations more serious than child molestation accusations. When people hear that you are charged with molesting a child, they’ll often separate themselves from you and your family without waiting to see if you get convicted. The heinous nature of child molestation accusations can inflame even the most levelheaded person’s emotions. The intense emotions surrounding child molestation charges often lead to the destruction of your personal relationships as well as your reputation. This can occur even when the accusations brought against you are false.
If you find yourself facing accusations of child molestation, it is crucial that you consult with a lawyer right away. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we understand that not everyone facing child molestation charges committed a crime. We’d love to discuss the potential defenses that apply in your case. Contact a child molestation attorney at our office today to get started.
Child Molestation in New Mexico: An Overview
In New Mexico, child molestation is called criminal sexual contact of a minor (New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978, Section 30-9-13). New Mexico law 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. “Intimate parts” include a child’s primary genitalia area, groin, buttocks, anus, or breasts.
Penalties for Child Molestation in New Mexico
A child molestation conviction in New Mexico receives a prison sentence between 18 months and 15 years. Additionally, the court can impose a fine between $5,000 and $12,500. The punishment you receive depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The victim’s age;
- Use of coercion or force;
- The defendant’s position of authority over the victim; and
- Whether the defendant was armed.
Under New Mexico’s child molestation statute, you could face the requirement of registering as a sex offender. As a registered sex offender, you could experience difficulty finding suitable housing and employment.
The penalties associated with a child molestation conviction reach far beyond a jail sentence. However, just because you are facing child molestation charges does not mean you are automatically guilty. The prosecution still bears the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Our team of criminal charges defense attorneys can discuss your case with you and help determine whether any child molestation defenses apply to your case.
Child Molestation Accusation Defenses
Most people feel like child molestation allegations are the worst kind of criminal allegation you can get—possibly short of murder. At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we know that the existence of child molestation charges does not mean you are guilty of the crime. There are a number of strategies that can help absolve you of criminal culpability, so contact us today to learn how to prepare a defense against child molestation.
Unfortunately, some child molestation allegations are flat-out fake. False accusations can arise in many situations, including when a scorned lover is seeking revenge. Knowing the strong response elicited by child molestation accusations, your former lover might want to use such accusations explicitly to make you suffer social shame and embarrassment.
Individuals who fabricate child molestation charges can face criminal penalties for making a false report. Still, false accusations arise with alarming frequency. If someone has spread false child molestation accusations about you, contacting a lawyer right away can help you stop the false allegations in their tracks.
Under New Mexico’s statute, the defendant must intentionally commit criminal sexual contact to sustain a conviction. If the touching occurred unintentionally, you could have a valid defense. For example, you might unintentionally touch a child’s intimate areas if they run into you on a playground. Or you may reach out to catch a falling child and accidentally make contact with an intimate area. In these types of circumstances, you clearly did not intend to harm the child or commit a criminal violation. If the facts support a lack of intent, your attorney can work to convince the district attorney to lessen your charges or dismiss them entirely.
The prosecution carries the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof required for any type of legal case. It makes sense that the burden of proof is high because, with criminal cases, your freedom is at stake—as opposed to civil suits where only money is on the line. Especially in cases involving young children, prosecutors can struggle to meet their burden of proof. It can be difficult to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt when a conviction depends on the testimony of a young child who may or may not know the difference between fantasy and truth. If the testimony is shaky for any reason, an aggressive criminal charges defense attorney can point out to the jury that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.
In the face of child molestation accusations, these defenses can mean the difference between spending years in prison or getting acquitted. Contact our office today to discuss whether the facts of your case fit one of these child molestation defenses.
New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978, Section 30-9-11 states that 17 is the age of consent. Thus, if the alleged victim was 17 years old or more at the time of the sexual contact, you cannot face charges for child molestation.
Contact a Lawyer to Discuss Child Molestation Defenses
Our criminal charges defense lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices approach every case on an individualized basis. We know that there is no one-size-fits-all defense to child molestation accusations. We spend time tailoring a specific defense strategy for each client, depending on the facts of your case. Our team of lawyers is committed to conducting a thorough investigation, listening to your concerns, and presenting you with possible child molestation defenses that can help secure a desirable outcome for your case.
With over 30 years of combined experience representing criminal defendants in New Mexico, we are confident that we have what it takes to defend you against charges of child molestation. If you or a loved one are facing child molestation accusations in New Mexico, call us at 505-375-4765 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation on your case.