If you or someone you know is facing Molestation charges, or you have questions about how making sure your rights are protected can change the outcome of your case, contact Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Burges McCowan for a free consultation.
Especially in the state of Arizona, it is vital to stay informed about anything that is considered a “sex crime”, since the penalties here are some of the harshest in the nation. And even after the conclusion of your punishment, the repercussions could affect your life for a long, long time. Often, you will be forced to register as a Sex Offender and face public stigma and embarrassment. Having an assertive attorney on your side throughout the process will ensure your rights are upheld and lessen the lasting impacts.
While there are several statutes dealing with Sex Crimes in Arizona, this blog post will focus on ARS 13-1410, Molestation . You can read more about Sex Crimes here, where I go into detail about several other statutes.
What is Molestation?
Molestation is defined as when someone intentionally engages in, or causes someone to engage in, sexual contact with a person under the age of 15. Essentially, sexual contact is touching, fondling, or manipulating someone’s private parts. People usually refer to this behavior as “petting.” It’s important to note that this does not cover sexual contact with only a female’s breasts (that is defined as sexual abuse, see ARS 13-1404). Because child molestation is considered a Dangerous Crime Against Children, or DCAC, the penalties you could be facing are exceedingly severe. Therefore, if you even think someone might accuse you of molestation, it is vital to retain a criminal defense attorney who has experience in sex crime cases as soon as possible.
What are the Penalties for Molestation?
Because of the seriousness of the charges, molestation is considered a DCAC and a Class 2 Felony, and subject to several mandatory minimum penalties. For a first offenses, the following repercussions will apply:
- A MINIMUM of ten years in prison
- Up to 24 years in prison
- 100% of the prison sentence; there is no possibility of parole for a DCAC
- Formal registration as a Sex Offender
- Scrutiny and possible limitations of all relationships, which can include your own children
What should you do if you are accused of Molestation?
First and foremost, do not talk to the police about your charges. Your Miranda Rights give you the ability to stay silent, so you should exercise that right. Police officers are trained to get you to talk, and will use your words against you. Instead, politely but firmly tell the officers you want to speak to your attorney. This will end the interrogation and make sure you have someone standing up for your rights.
Additionally, don’t talk to your accuser or anyone in his/her family. In Arizona, you can be voice recorded without permission, and that recording can be used against you in court. When it comes to the details of your case, the only person you should speak with is your attorney.
With charges as serious as Child Molestation levied against you, you are going to need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney in your corner. Phoenix criminal defense attorney Burges McCowan, a former prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney Office’s Sex Crimes Unit, can help. Contact him today for a free consultation.