Defending Child Moslestation Charges in Indianapolis and Greater Indiana
Allegations of child sexual abuse are aggressively prosecuted in Indiana. The emotion, stigma, and sentencing laws that accompany these allegations make being charged with child molestation one of the most serious crimes anyone can be charged with. According to the Child Welfare League of America, there were 21,755 children in Indiana who were victims of abuse or neglect in 2013, of which 14.1% were sexually abused. If you are being investigated or have been charged with a sex crime involving a child, you should seek the assistance of seasoned Indianapolis child molestation attorney Chris Eskew who has experience defending people specifically accused of such crimes.
Child Molestation in General
Indiana statutes at Ind. Code §35-42-4-3 defines child molestation generally as the crime committed when a person knowingly or intentionally performs or submits to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a child less than fourteen (14) years old. At its simplest form, child molestation is a Level 3 felony punishable, in accordance with Ind. Code § 35-50-2-5 with a sentence between six and 20 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. If the act involves fondling or touching, of either the child or the older person, with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the older person, it is considered a Level 4 felony punishable under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-5.5 with a term of imprisonment between two and 12 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
When Child Molestation Is Considered a Level 1 or Level 2 Felony
However, Indiana statutes at Ind. Code §35-42-4-3 also lists circumstances when the offense of Level 3 child molestation is upgraded to a Level 1 felony punishable by a fixed prison term between 20 and 40 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. These circumstances are the following:
- The crime is committed by a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old;
- The crime is committed by using or threatening the use of deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon;
- The crime results in serious bodily injury;
- The crime is facilitated by furnishing the victim, without the victim’s knowledge, with a drug or a controlled substance, or knowing that the victim was furnished with such drug or controlled substance without his or her knowledge; or
- The crime results in the transmission of a dangerous sexually transmitted disease and the person knew that he or she was infected with the disease.
With regard to Level 4 child molestation, it may be upgraded to a Level 2 felony if the following circumstances are met:
- The crime is committed by using or threatening the use of deadly force;
- The crime is committed while armed with a deadly weapon; or
- The crime is facilitated by furnishing the victim with a drug or controlled substance, or knowing that the victim was furnished with such drug or controlled substance without his or her knowledge.
Level 2 felonies 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.
The statute also provides that an individual charged may raise an affirmative defense with his or her Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer arguing that the defendant reasonably believed that the child was 16-years-old at the time of the alleged conduct. However, this is not a defense if the crime was committed with the use or threat of deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon. Additionally, the defense is unavailing if the victim was furnished with a drug or a controlled substance.
Consult an Indianapolis Child Molestation Attorney Today
If you were charged with child molestation in Indianapolis or throughout Central Indiana, you must contact an experienced Indianapolis child molestation lawyer immediately. Having expert defense counsel at the outset of your case may help you achieve a positive outcome in the end. Call Eskew Law, LLC at (317) 974-0177 or submit our online consultation request form. We will review your information and help you determine the best strategy for defending your case.