In Indiana and throughout the nation, being charged with a sex crime is a serious matter and can carry a lot of stigma. Even without a conviction, a charge alone can have far-reaching consequences for a person’s life. This becomes even more apparent when the allegation involves a minor, which is why you need an aggressive Indianapolis sexual misconduct with a minor attorney to represent you.
Sexual misconduct with a minor is a crime that is aggressively prosecuted in Indiana. A conviction also potentially carries severe penalties, with substantial prison time at play. If you find yourself charged with this offense in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you should seek the assistance of a seasoned Indianapolis criminal defense attorney at Eskew Law, LLC as soon as possible. Having a solid defense counsel on your side at the beginning of your case may help you reach a favorable result later on.
Sexual Misconduct with a Minor Under Indiana Statutes
Indiana statutes at Ind. Code § 35-42-4-9 defines sexual misconduct with a minor as the crime committed when a person at least 18 years of age performs or submits to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a child at least 14 years old but less than 16 years old. It is considered a Level 5 felony which, under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-6, is punishable by a prison term of between one and six years, and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
There are certain aggravating factors that may upgrade this offense. These include:
- If it is committed by a person at least 21 years old, it will be considered a Level 4 felony, which is punishable by a prison term of between two and 12 years, and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
- If it is committed by using or threatening the use of deadly force, while armed with a deadly weapon, results in serious bodily injury, or if the commission of the offense is facilitated by furnishing the victim, without his or her knowledge, with a drug or a controlled substance, sexual misconduct with a minor will be considered a Level 1 felony. This will be punishable by a fixed prison term between 20 and 40 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
The statute contains parallel provisions that apply when the person is at least 18 years of age and the child is at least 14 years old but less than 16 years old. In these instances, the statute categorizes the offense as a Level 6 felony which is punishable by a prison term of between six months and two and a half years and a fine no more than $10,000. If the offense was committed with the same aggravating factors enumerated above, then it will be upgraded to a Level 5 felony (offender is 21-years-old or older) and a Level 2 felony (use of force, deadly weapon, causes bodily injury, or with the use of a drug or controlled substance), accordingly. Level 5 felonies come with a possible prison term of between one and six years, and a fine not exceeding $10,000, as provided by Ind. Code § 35-50-2-6. Level 2 felonies, on the other hand, are punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 10 and 30 years and a fine not more than $10,000, in accordance with Ind. Code § 35-50-2-4.5.
There are several defenses outlined in the statute at Ind. Code § 35-42-4-9 to a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor. However, these sex crime defenses are not available if the conduct involved the use or threat of use of deadly force, a deadly weapon, resulted in bodily injury or was facilitated with the use of drugs or controlled substances without the knowledge of the victim. The last defense involving a dating relationship is also not available if the person was in a position of authority or substantial influence over the victim.
- A person may not be guilty of this offense if he or she reasonably believed that the child was at least 16 years old at the time of the alleged misconduct.
- A person may not guilty of this offense if the child is or has ever been married.
- If the alleged offender is not more than four years older than the victim, the two individuals had a dating or ongoing personal relationship (not including a familial relationship), and the offender was under 21 years old, and the offender has not committed another sex offense against any other person, then the alleged offender may not be guilty of the offense.
Call an Indianapolis Sexual Misconduct with a Minor Lawyer Now
If you are charged with sexual misconduct with a minor in Indianapolis or anywhere in the Central Indiana area, you must contact an experienced Indianapolis sexual misconduct with a minor attorney at Eskew Law, LLC immediately. It is a serious charge and waiting before you seek legal assistance may be detrimental to the outcome of your case. Call our office at (317) 974-0177 or contact us online. We will review your case, conduct a thorough investigation, and help you determine the best strategy for an effective defense.