Child Molestation Defense Lawyer in Atlanta & Alpharetta, Georgia
It is both unfair and true that even the hint or rumor that someone is being investigated for child molestation charges can permanently harm the individual and his family. Moreover, in today’s society, this stigma can be attached even though the accused is the victim of a vindictive divorce proceeding or an aggressive, misled child services worker.
Therefore, it is extremely important to enlist the help and support of an Atlanta child molestation attorney experienced in defending child molestation cases involving Georgia law as soon as possible.
What is the charge of child molestation under Georgia law?
The Georgia legislature has passed laws (O.C.G.A. 16-6-4) that define the crime of child molestation to be "any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years," that is intended "… to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires …" of either the child or the actor. Child molestation is the only offense in the Georgia criminal code that can be based exclusively on the allegation of the victim. No physical evidence is required; no DNA, no vaginal or anal fissures, no semen samples are necessary to launch an investigation that can result in a warrant, indictment, and a trial.
Far too often well-meaning family members, school officials, law enforcement, and psychologists will interview the alleged victim of abuse and the entire process will be flawed; resulting in a false affirmation of an event which did not occur or has been misinterpreted and has now taken on a life of its own.
Regretfully, prosecutors, will often blindly place credence in the uncorroborated allegation and will adopt the mentality to arrest first and ask questions later.
What are the defenses against charges of child molestation?
When arrested for this type of offense, the first judge the citizen sees often will not grant a bond and the accused will be required to wait in custody for anywhere from two weeks to a month or more for a bond hearing before a superior court judge, unless the district attorney’s office consents to a bond, which is highly unlikely.
The outcry is when the alleged victim makes a statement to anyone that he or she has been molested or touched inappropriately. Once this occurs, the child is ultimately interviewed by a forensic psychologist and law enforcement. The child is seldom given a polygraph examination (lie detector test). Law enforcement will attempt to entice the accused into “telling their side of the story” to “clear their name.” Far too often, the unsuspecting citizen will freely speak with law enforcement and describe an even or episode in innocuous terms as be or she recalls the time in question. Of course the conversation is audio and/or video recorded and once the citizen is arrested subsequent to the interview, that recording of perceived incriminating or conflicting statements is presented to a jury along with the child’s allegations resulting in a conviction and a minimum 5 to 20 year sentence in prison.
If you or someone you care about learns that there is even the possibility of being investigated or accused of inappropriate contact with a child, you should immediately contact a skilled Atlanta child molestation attorney who has vast experience in defending persons accused of such conduct.
Our Atlanta child molestation law firm has been successful in keeping clients from being arrested once an investigation has begun. When there has been an arrest, we have also been successful in aggressively conducting our own investigation and presenting those results to prosecutors which resulted in the charges being dropped before indictment. This, of course, allowed the citizen to have the child molestation arrest removed from his their record as if the arrest never occurred, therefore avoiding the life-long stigmatization associated with this allegation. Even if a case is dismissed after indictment or a person prevails at trial, the arrest will always be on their record unless the charges are dismissed before indictment and an expungement is obtained.
Additionally, if the allegation includes an act of sodomy (oral or anal sex) or the allegation is that the child was injured, this is Aggravated Child Molestation and the punishment is such that upon conviction the accused will serve every minute at least 25 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
A child is defined to be anyone under the age of 16 years old. Neither the consent of the child or a mistake regarding the child’s age is a defense. In a child molestation case, the State does not have to prove that sex occurred, only immoral or indecent conduct designed to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the accused.
What happens if you are convicted of child molestation?
There are times when a child molestation charge can result in a misdemeanor conviction; however, this is limited to situations where the defendant is not older than 18 years old and no more than 4 years older than the victim, who can range between 14 and 16 years in age.
Absent these circumstances, child molestation can result in significant jail time. A defendant convicted facing a first offense of child molestation can be imprisoned for 5 – 20 years. If the defendant has a past conviction of child molestation, then another conviction will result in imprisonment of 10 - 30 years; sometimes, the punishment is life imprisonment. If the child is physically harmed during the event, then the charge is increased to “aggravated child molestation,” and a conviction will result in life imprisonment; although in some cases, the defendant may receive a sentence of 25 years followed by probation for the rest of their life.