The Plano child molestation lawyers at Edgett Law Firm are prepared to help defend your innocence, reputation, and freedom. Our Texas criminal defense attorneys will fight back with every resource available. These types of allegations are incredibly serious and require an all-out defense from day one.
Under the U.S. Constitution, you are 100% innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, defendants in child molestation cases are often treated as guilty from the outset. That’s where we come in.
Our aggressive and detail-oriented defense team will pursue every possible angle as we fight to prove your innocence. We have many different constitutional and investigative tools at our disposal. We have won acquittals in serious sex crimes cases at trial and have negotiated favorable resolutions in hundreds of felony cases.
How Can Edgett Law Firm Help with Child Molestation Charges in Plano, Texas?
Edgett Law Firm has a collective 22+ years of legal experience in criminal defense law. Since 2010, we have defended thousands of serious criminal cases in the Plano area. We pride ourselves on our winning reputation in the courtroom.
When you hire Edgett Law Firm for your criminal defense, we will begin implementing our proven legal strategy.
You can count on our Plano criminal defense lawyers to:
- Asserting your right to remain silent
- Arguing for reasonable conditions of bail for pretrial release
- Demanding every shred of evidence from the State
- Filing motions to exclude evidence from trial
- Investigating the case with our own investigators
- Taking your case to trial if necessary
Different cases call for different strategies. Criminal defense is always an uphill battle. But when you hire us, you can rest assured that we are working tirelessly to develop the right defense for you. We will do everything we can to fight to prove your innocence.
It is our passion and life’s work. Don’t wait to contact us for your free consultation in Plano, Texas. You may risk your entire case by not retaining counsel as early as possible.
What are Child Molestation Charges in Texas?
Child molestation in Texas can refer to three different criminal statutes that prosecutors can charge for alleged sexual conduct with a child. The most common statute related to child molestation is “Indecency With a Child.”
Indecency with a Child has five elements that need to be proven to a jury in order to convict someone:
- The defendant
- With a child under age 17 and
- Engaged in sexual contact or caused the child to engage in sexual contact; OR
- With intent to arouse sexual gratification
- Expose their own or cause the child to expose their anus or genitals
Reading these elements leads to an important question — what is “sexual contact?” In the same statute, sexual contact is defined as any of the following actions if taken to arouse oneself sexually:
- Touching, even through clothing, of the anus, breast, or genitals of a child; OR
- Touching a child with the anus, breast, or genitals, even through clothing
These are the facts that the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict someone of the crime of Indecency with a Child (also known as child molestation).
If the defendant actually engaged in sexual contact, it is a Second Degree Felony. Alternatively, if the defendant exposed themselves or caused the child to expose themselves for sexual arousal, the crime is a Third Degree Felony.
Other Crimes Related to Child Molestation
While Indecency With a Child is what people typically mean when they say child molestation, there are other child sex crimes that they could be referring to. These include Sexual Assault of a Child and Continued Sexual Abuse of a Child.
Sexual Assault of a Child is also sometimes called statutory rape. This crime has the following elements:
- The defendant
- Intentionally or knowingly
- With a child under age 17 (regardless of knowledge of age)
- Caused one of the following:
- Penetration of the anus or sex organ of the child;
- Penetration of the mouth of the child by the sex organ of the defendant;
- The sex organ of the child to penetrate or contact the sex organ or mouth of the defendant;
- The anus of the child to contact the sex organ, anus, or mouth of the defendant
- Contacts the mouth of the child with the defendant’s anus or sex organ
Sexual Assault of a Child is a Second Degree Felony unless the child is classified as a relative or descendant of some kind under Texas Statute 25.02, in which case it is a First Degree Felony.
This third crime is called “Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child.” Speaking generally, Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child occurs when the actor is at least 17 and engages in sexual abuse more than twice in a period of 30 days or more against a victim under the age of 14.
There are many different kinds of sexual abuse that qualify for prosecution under this statute. Most notably, Indecency With a Child and Sexual Assault of a Child are both qualifying criminal acts. Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child is a First Degree Felony.
What are the Penalties for Child Molestation in Plano, Texas?
Child molestation in Plano, Texas, is always a felony. Not only is it a felony, but it is also a Third Degree, Second Degree, or First Degree Felony. These are among the most serious types of crimes.
If you are convicted of one of the three child molestation cases we have discussed, it is punishable as follows:
- Felony in the First Degree: A life sentence or 5 – 99 years in prison (however, the minimum prison sentence is 25 years for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child)
- Felony in the Second Degree: Two years prison minimum, 20 years maximum
- Felony in the Third Degree: Two years prison minimum, 10 years maximum
Prison isn’t the only penalty you face upon conviction for child molestation in Plano, Texas. A conviction will require that you become a registered sex offender. The sex offender registry is a publicly available database that includes your name, address, and the crime you were convicted of.
In addition to the public embarrassment and harm that this can cause to your career, there are many burdensome requirements for sex offender registrants. Failing to fully comply can lead to new felony charges.
Some of the requirements of registering as a sex offender include:
- Periodically meeting with local law enforcement
- Restrictions on where you can live
- Restrictions on where you can work
- Internet / social media use restrictions
Edgett Law Firm understands how terrifying these allegations are. We want you to know how seriously we take child molestation cases.
Between filing motions, dispatching investigators, and performing in-depth research into defenses, we will also be negotiating with the prosecution for a reduction or dismissal in charges. This means that there are multiple routes to minimize prison exposure.
What Defenses are Available to Child Molestation Charges?
Our child molestation lawyers will work closely with you to develop your defense. Our discussions with you will serve as the starting point as we dive into your case.
Some defenses that may come up in child molestation cases include:
- Using expert testimony to prove false allegations / false memories by the victim
- Proving that you were not with the victim at the time of the offense
- Showing that the state cannot meet its burden of proof as to all elements
- Establishing the unreliability of witnesses through cross-examination
- Arguing that incriminating evidence gathered by police violated the Fourth and Fifth amendments and must be thrown out
Of course, your case may call for a completely different approach. Criminal defense lawyers must pivot based on the evidence the state is trying to use against you.
Contact Edgett Law Firm Right For a Free Consultation
The Plano child molestation lawyers at Edgett Law Firm are prepared to fight to prove your innocence to the bitter end. We have handled hundreds of extremely serious felony cases, so you can rest assured that we have the experience to fight for you.
Your future and reputation will depend on an aggressive legal defense. Do not make the mistake of waiting too long to fight back — contact us right away for your free consultation.