Fort Walton Beach Child Molestation Lawyer
Being branded as a child molester is anyone’s worst nightmare. And once such an accusation is made, it’s hard to get anyone to listen to your side of the story. It can be downright impossible to get anyone to actually believe you.
There is no legally permissible excuse to have any sexual contact with a child. A child is defined as a person under the age of 16. Consent is not a defense. The fact that the child lied about his/her age is not a defense. If the child showed you an I.D. that showed him/her to be of legal age, it still doesn’t matter. The law is very clear on this topic. The police will arrest you based on an accusation alone of child molestation.
If someone is claiming that you molested a child who is younger than 16 years of age, you face the charge of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation. Whether you have already been charged, or you are under investigation, it is crucial that you take immediate steps to protect yourself.
What to Do if You Are Accused of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
There are really two questions that you must answer at the very beginning if you are being accused of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation in Fort Walton Beach:
Should I save myself some money and go with the court-appointed public defender?
You only get one chance to fight for your life. You need to know you did everything you could to give yourself the best chance. I am a professional criminal defense attorney with vast experience defending molestation cases in Fort Walton Beach. At the very least, give my office a call at (850) 243-6097 and I’ll explain exactly how I will defend your case. You’ll be able to get an idea of what kind of difference I can make for you vs. a state-funded public defender.
Should I talk to the police?
No matter what stage your Fort Walton Beach molestation case is in, the police will probably come knocking on your door wanting to talk to you. They will try to trick you into a false sense of security to get you to talk. They will tell you that they believe you, that this is all just a misunderstanding, etc. It’s all a lie. If they are knocking on your door, that means they think you are guilty and they want to lock you up. They are not on your side.
A Quick Example
A young man and his parents came to see me. He was being investigated for child molestation. The accuser was the daughter of a family friend. They were panicking. The police had been calling for a week wanting to take a statement. They told him that if he refused to talk, they would assume the girl was telling the truth and they would arrest him.
I advised him to refuse to talk to the officer. I also called the officer myself and told him that my client was represented by an attorney and he would not be making any statements, period. The officer blustered and threatened my client, but we held firm.
My client was never charged. We continue to monitor his case to make sure no warrants go active, but he is in the clear.
If the police have enough evidence, they are going to arrest you, regardless of whether or not you talk to them. And if they don’t have enough evidence, they will desperately try to get it from you. Talking to the police will only strengthen the case against you.
Child Fondling/Lewd or Lascivious Molestation Under Florida Law
Fla. Stat. 800.04 (5) provides the legal definition of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation:
“intentional touching, in a lewd or lascivious manner, of the genitals, genital area, buttocks, or breasts, or the clothing over those areas, of a person who is younger than 16 years old, or when someone forces or entices a child under the age of 16 to touch the defendant in a lewd or lascivious manner.”
Penalty For Child Molestation in Fort Walton Beach
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation is punishable by a range of between 5 years in prison and a life sentence depending on the age of the alleged victim and the age of the defendant.
For example, if the alleged victim was under the age of 12, and the defendant was over 18, the potential punishment is life in prison.
If the defendant was over 18, and the accuser was between 12 and 15, the punishment is up to 15 years in prison.
If the defendant was younger than 18, and the accuser was between 12 and 15, the defendant will face up to 5 years in prison.
Call a Fort Walton Beach Child Molestation Attorney
I do not shy away from the tough cases. I know you are going through the worst experience of your life with this allegation, and I want to help. My team and I will fight for you, NOT judge you.
If you have been charged with Child Molestation or Lewd or Lascivious Molestation in Fort Walton Beach, call me at (850) 243-6097. The call and the first meeting are free and I promise to keep everything confidential.