Even the allegation that you engaged in sexual contact with a child can turn your life upside down. The consequences of a conviction can be devastating, so you shouldn’t waste any time in mounting a defense. It’s important to have an experienced, aggressive Dallas child molestation lawyer by your side from the moment you are accused of committing a crime this serious.
At the Edgett Law Firm, our criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience helping clients beat criminal charges in North Texas. To learn more about what we can do for you, call an experienced Dallas child molestation lawyer for a free consultation today.
Why You Need An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer if You’re Accused of Child Molestation in Dallas
At the Edgett Law Firm, we want you to remember that being accused of child molestation is not the same thing as being convicted. However, we also know that it’s easy to lose hope when you’re facing such serious charges. Even an unfounded accusation can damage your personal relationships and ruin your reputation.
Our Dallas criminal defense lawyers are committed to developing a strong and aggressive defense to the charges against you. That might include:
Investigating Constitutional Violations
Prosecutors and police have to play by the rules during every phase of the criminal justice process. Both Texas law and the U.S. constitution give citizens certain protections to prevent government overreach.
When the police are investigating allegations of child molestation, they might overstep those boundaries. We’ll fight to get any evidence obtained in an illegal search or seizure excluded from your case. Similarly, if you were denied your right to an attorney, our lawyers will work to make sure any statements you made are thrown out.
Identifying Evidence to Prove Innocence
While proving guilt is the prosecutor’s job, the best way to get a case thrown out is to find exculpatory evidence to prove your innocence. It’s not always easy to find that valuable evidence. Our lawyers always conduct a comprehensive investigation. That way, we can often find evidence that the prosecution may have overlooked. That evidence might include:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Video surveillance footage
- DNA evidence
- GPS data from your phone or other device
Our lawyers also work with specialists in forensics, technology and science when expert witness testimony can be helpful in your defense. To learn more about how we can help gather the types of evidence needed to win acquittal, give us a call today.
Negotiating With the Prosecutor
The prosecutor’s goal is always to convict. However, the state’s evidence isn’t always strong enough to easily win a conviction. We might also find additional evidence to damage the evidence the prosecution was relying on.
If that’s the case, the prosecution will likely be open to negotiating. They aren’t just going to come out and offer to drop the charges. It’s up to your defense lawyer to negotiate a favorable plea deal if that’s in your best interests.
At the Edgett Law Firm, our child molestation defense attorneys have been negotiating with prosecutors in Dallas for years. We’re known for successfully pursuing cases through to trial before a judge and jury. The prosecutor knows that we have a proven track record of winning cases–and might be more likely to negotiate a favorable deal to avoid facing our team at trial.
Understanding Texas Child Molestation Laws
Child molestation is one of the sex offenses that is generally outlined in Texas Penal Code Section 21.11. To convict on charges of indecency with a child, the prosecution must prove that the child was under the age of 17 at the time of the offense and that the defendant committed a prohibited act.
A defendant can be found guilty of child molestation for committing any of the following acts:
- Engaging in sexual contact with the child
- Causing the child to engage in sexual contact with someone else
- While knowing the child is present, exposing the genitalia or the anus with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person
- Causing the child to expose the child’s genitals or anus with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person
Sexual contact means any type of touching of the breast, genitals or anus, including touching through clothing.
Importantly, it is not a defense that the actor did not know the child’s age when engaging in the prohibited sexual conduct.
Continuous Pattern of Sexual Abuse
Under Texas Penal Code Section 21.02, continuous sexual abuse of a young child is a much more serious crime. Charges of continuous child abuse can apply if:
- The child is younger than 14 and the actor is at least 17 at the time of the offense
- The child molestation is committed other than by touching the child’s breast
- During a period that is 30 days or more in duration, the actor commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, whether against the same victim or multiple victims
Again, lack of knowledge about the victim’s age is not an affirmative defense to charges of long term child molestation.
Conviction on Child Molestation Charges Carries Harsh Consequences
Child molestation is usually a second or third-degree felony. The charges can be elevated to a first-degree felony with enhanced sentencing requirements if the child molestation is found to be a part of a pattern of abuse.
The following initial penalties apply in Texas if you’re convicted of child molestation:
- Third-degree felony: between two and 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony: between two and 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- First-degree felony: Instead of facing between five and 99 years in prison, enhanced sentencing requirements mean the defendant will face a minimum 25-year prison sentence upon conviction.
These penalties are harsh but only scratch the surface in understanding the severe consequences of a child molestation conviction. Offenders will also be subject to Texas sex offender registration requirements.
Sex Offender Registration Requirements
Texas imposes registration requirements on convicted sex offenders like most of the country. If convicted of sex crimes involving a child in Texas, you will be required to register as a sex offender and:
- Provide local law enforcement officials with your name and color photo
- Disclose your address and vehicle information
- Provide details about your conviction, including the specific criminal offense involved
- Notify law enforcement any time you move
- Check-in with the police periodically to verify your information
Failing to comply with Texas sex offender registration rules is a felony, meaning you could wind up back in prison for failing to comply. In the most serious abuse cases, sex offender registration requirements last for life.
Sex offender registries can be accessed by the public. Potential employers, landlords and even your neighbors will be able to access details about your conviction. Our criminal defense lawyers have what it takes to fight back when potential life-long sex offender registration requirements at stake. Give us a call today to learn more.
We Fight to Build a Fierce Defense to Child Molestation Charges
When facing charges as serious as child molestation, your only option is to fight back. At the Edgett Law Firm, our experienced Dallas criminal defense attorneys know how to handle these complex and sensitive cases. Your custom-designed defense strategy might include:
Lack of Evidence
The prosecution is required to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Their evidence might not be as strong as you think. Our attorneys will fight to persuade the jury that the prosecution’s evidence was insufficient to convict.
Depending upon the facts, we might be able to challenge the credibility of witnesses or provide evidence of our own to damage the prosecution’s case. To learn more about how we can help in your specific case, don’t hesitate to call for a free consultation.
Lack of Intent
Child molestation charges can be based upon touching alone–the prosecution does not have to show that a sexual assault took place. Our lawyers may be able to convince the jury that you did not intend to touch the child in a sexual manner. If the prosecution cannot prove the requisite intent, a conviction cannot stand.
Unfortunately, child molestation cases in modern times often involve false allegations. While most young abused children are deemed incapable of lying about inappropriate sexual contact, that isn’t always the case.
For example, a parent or family member may accuse a co-parent of inappropriate sexual contact to win a child custody battle. Older children and teenagers also have their own motivations for making false allegations. Our attorneys investigate thoroughly to identify the motives of all relevant parties and expose any false allegations that may be supporting the prosecution’s case.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Dallas Child Molestation Defense Lawyer Today
Child molestation cases are always sensitive and emotionally-charged. There’s no escaping that fact. You need a skilled, respected criminal defense attorney by your side to minimize the damage that the allegations can cause.
At the Edgett Law Firm, our lawyers will stand by your side and fight for you every step of the way. If you’ve been charged or are under investigation, learn more about how an experienced Dallas child molestation defense lawyer can help. All you have to do is call to schedule your free and 100% confidential consultation today.