As in all other locales within Arizona, A.R.S. §13-1410 statutory provisions govern child molesting charges in Phoenix. Pursuant to that particular section of the Arizona Code, “child molestation” is defined as intentional or knowing engagement in or inducement of another person to engage in sexual contact with a minor less than fifteen (15) years old, except when such sexual contact is confined to female breast(s).” If you currently face such a charge(s), it is imperative to make immediate contact with an attorney in order to safeguard your legal rights.
Penalties for Child Molestation
Applicable criminal statutes classify this charge as Dangerous Crime Against Children (“DCAC”) Class 2 Felony. Thus, sentencing guidelines permit the following penalties for the first offense:
- A minimum prison term of ten (10) years; maximum prison term of twenty-four (24) years; and, a presumptive prison sentence of seventeen (17) years.
- One prior conviction triggers the following enhanced range of permissible penalties: a minimum prison term of twenty-one (21) years; a maximum prison term of thirty-five (35) years; and, a presumptive prison sentence of twenty-eight (28) years.
Moreover, due to its DCAC designation, defendants must serve their entire prison term and are ineligible for parole, earned time credit, or any other early release or sentence reduction. Additionally, defendants convicted of two (2) or more charges in the same case must serve each prison term consecutively.
In practical terms, not only does the permissible range of punishment immediately increase solely due to the simultaneous conviction(s), but the defendant must also serve all individual sentences separately instead of simultaneously. Such harsh mandatory sentencing is precisely why child molesting cases are often casually labeled as “life enders.” In fact, the maximum allowable punishment for child molesting exceeds that of Second Degree Murder!
Besides spending the bulk of your remaining life behind bars, you must formally register as a Sex Offender with local authorities for the entire balance of your life. You will also have to obtain written consent from your Probation Officer and submit to many invasive tests prior to direct contact with your own offspring or anyone else younger than eighteen (18).
Legal Defenses for Child Molestation
A large number of these allegations arise while the defendant is embroiled in a divorce case. Accusers are invariably either a disgruntled estranged spouse or rebellious teen trying to get rid of her dad or stepdad “for good” by fabricating accusations out of whole cloth. In such cases, immediate investigation of report preparation and receipt, interviewing forensic and/or psychology experts who first talked to the child, reviewing all divorce documents, and even a polygraph examination to demonstrate the defendant’s truthfulness and veracity are important preliminary tasks.
It is imperative to conduct all such procedures immediately after an accusation arises, as accused DCAC defendants are non-bailable and must remain behind bars until final case disposition. Ergo, even multibillionaires will remain powerless to regain their personal liberty until pleading “guilty” to years in prison or going to trial and being found “not guilty”. This severe collateral consequence caused by even unproven charges is a major contributing factor to the extreme danger of these cases. A legal defense frequently advanced in this type of case is ignorance of the alleged victim’s minority age. This common defense arises in situations where a minor has misrepresented herself to the hapless defendant as older than her true chronological age. Exhaustive cross-examination and/or informal interviews of all potential witnesses are other essential elements of competent legal defense preparation. For instance, Arizona Defense A.R.S. § 13-1407 statute explicitly authorizes certain affirmative defenses, one of which is a lack of sexual motivations or intentions at time of initial contact with the alleged victim.
This defense is only available in cases where the defendant actually touched, had other physical contact, or induced another individual to make physical contact with the minor for non-sexual reason(s). Pursuant to applicable criminal statues, neither of these acts legally constitutes child molesting. In addition, it must be noted that mandatory Sex Offender registration has devastating lifelong repercussions. This by itself is a huge incentive to obtain the highest caliber of legal representation and zealous advocacy.
DM Cantor defends a very large portion of child molestation in Arizona Sex Crimes cases where defendants retain private legal representation. Our office has of the biggest legal research resources library dedicated exclusively to Sex Crimes case law, statutes, legislative history, and related materials. Moreover, every lawyer we employ must take frequent Continuing Legal Education classes and specialized workshops hosted by the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center. That organization is the nation’s premier provider of expert legal assistance for falsely accused defendants.
Besides that, all legal professionals at our firm are well trained in the science of forensic and clinical interrogation of juvenile subjects and their relatives. This rare skill ensures that our attorneys question investigators and other involved mental health practitioners who conducted initial interview(s) with the minor. Absent full compliance with all standard procedural protocols, it is quite probable that we can demonstrate undue “suggestion” or “coaxing” of any subsequent statements from the alleged victim. At our law firm, we never cut corners and always conduct the most thorough and competent legal defense preparation and presentation as is humanly possible.
Constitutional violation is another procedural defense we often assert on behalf of clients. For instance, police are required to advise an arrestee of their legal rights by reading the famous Miranda Warning, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law….”Total failure or incomplete advisory of such important legal rights prior to commencing any interrogation is a serious violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. Another common police procedural error is continuing to question a suspect who has asked to speak with a lawyer. Such blatant misconduct often enables us to persuade a judge to prohibit the use of any incriminating statement and/or evidence developed via such defective procedures. We also have the resources and professional networks to challenge investigative procedures like laboratory test results, DNA analyses reports, fingerprints, and other such quantitative evaluations.
A high ranking by legal professional analyst Martindale-Hubbell® is another important feature to look for when seeking quality legal representation to fight Arizona child molesting cases. We are ranked as an “AV” law firm – the best Martindale-Hubbell® rating available. Beyond that high distinction, David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and experienced Arizona Child Molestation Attorney. Another noteworthy point is that all legal practitioners in our group are included among the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and are former state prosecutors. Thus, they know the ropes very well and quite adept at anticipating every possible opposing move and constructing an effective plan of attack that accounts for all angles and every side of any relevant issue.
Considering all the above attributes and factors, you can rest assured of having the best possible legal representation for accusations of child molestation in Arizona steadfastly on your side. The extremely sensitive, emotional, sensational, and stigmatizing aspects of such cases literally cry out careful handling and expert navigation of turbulent legal terrain. When your liberty and life are literally on the line, is not the time to take any chances. Nor is the inside of a courtroom seated inches away from a presiding judge empowered to deprive you of several decades of freedom any place to gamble.
To speak with a sex crimes defense attorney, contact us today at (602) 737-2812 to schedule a free initial case evaluation and legal consultation. Do not let denial and dread delay your progress any longer. Our offices are available 24 hours a day by phone or by confidential email form.