A significant portion of the state’s criminal statutes that pertain to sexual offenses involve allegations of sexual interactions with minors. One of the more common offenses is child molestation which involves performing an indecent act in the presence of a minor or sending pornography to a minor. People facing allegations of child molestation need to act swiftly to protect themselves. A conviction for this offense carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence, with the most severe punishment resulting in life imprisonment for repeat offenders.

A McDonough child molestation lawyer could help if you have recently learned that you are the target of a police investigation or have been arrested. Our sex crime defense attorneys could work tirelessly to explain the charges against you, evaluate the prosecution’s case, and present potent defenses in and out of court.

How is Child Molestation Defined?

Child molestation is a serious accusation. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §16-6-4, a person commits child molestation when they perform an indecent or immoral act to or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 with the intent to arouse the sexual desires of either the child or the alleged perpetrator.

Alternatively, child molestation can also involve sending electronic images of a person engaging in a sexual act to a person under the age of 16 with the purpose of inciting the sexual desires of either the child or the person.

If the child is injured during an act of molestation, the offense is upgraded to aggravated child molestation. Aggravated child molestation can also be charged when sodomy is alleged (sexual act involving the sex organs of either party and the mouth or anus of the other party). If the enhanced charges of aggravated child molestation are proven, then the accused faces a minimum of 25 years in prison and probation for life. A McDonough attorney could help someone facing child molestation charges better understand the law that applies to their case.

Penalties After a Child Molestation Conviction

Every allegation of child molestation is a felony under state law, and every conviction carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence that a court is unable to suspend. With this in mind, the consequences of a child molestation conviction can vary greatly. A first offense conviction for child molestation authorizes a court to issue a sentence of between 5 and 20 years. Any subsequent conviction increases the mandatory minimum prison sentence to 10 years and may result in life imprisonment.

The only exception to this rule is when the defendant is under the age of 18, and the child is between the ages of 14 and 16. Here, the charge is a misdemeanor and the defendant may not serve more than 12 months in jail. The harshest penalties apply to cases involving aggravated child molestation. Here, the mandatory minimum is 25 years in prison, and the court is free to impose a life sentence. A McDonough lawyer could provide more information about the penalties that apply to a specific child molestation cases and develop strategies to mitigate these punishments.

Contact a McDonough Child Molestation Attorney Today

If you are facing charges alleging child molestation or other sexual misconduct involving a minor, you need to act quickly to protect yourself. These are serious felony charges where a conviction is likely to result in a mandatory prison sentence. The most serious allegations can even result in a life sentence.

A McDonough child molestation lawyer could help you to avoid this outcome. Our team is here to explain your rights, investigate the incident, identify weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, and create reasonable doubts in the minds of jurors. Reach out to our legal professionals today to get the help you need.

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Carl Chapman