Arrested for Child Molestation in St. Louis?
Make no mistake, sex crimes involving children are typically the most aggressively prosecuted and harshly punished. Child molestation allegations often garner media attention and may threaten the accused's career, personal relationships and reputation. In the face of such a serious matter, the best chance one has is involving a criminal defense law firm that has experience in dealing with sex crimes and has successfully secured dismissals and acquittals in even the most complex cases. Only a powerful defense strategy will work against child molestation charges, and The Hammer Law Firm, LLC is prepared to provide such legal counsel.
Representing clients in St. Louis and across Missouri, the team at our firm is committed to protecting our clients' legal rights without judgment. Through our efforts, we have been able to help clients in the face of various sex crime allegations and charges, helping them face brighter futures. If you have been accused of child molestation or any similar offense, our early involvement may be just what you need to avoid formal charges in the first place. Take advantage of this opportunity to find out how we can handle your unique case by arranging a consultation with a sex crime attorney in St. Louis, or continue reading to learn more about child molestation charges in Missouri.
Missouri Revised Statutes §§ 566.067-566.068: Child Molestation
Under Missouri law, a defendant may face child molestation charges in the first degree or the second degree, with varying penalties depending on the specifics of the alleged act or acts:
- Missouri Revised Statutes § 566.067 defines child molestation in the first degree as subjecting a child under the age of 14 to sexual contact. Sexual contact may include touching another with one's genitals or touching another's genitals, anus or breasts, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.
- Child molestation in the second degree is described in Missouri Revised Statutes § 566.068 as subjecting a child under the age of 17 to sexual contact.
Child molestation in the first degree is a class B felony, punishable by a minimum of 5 years to 15 years in state prison. If the victim is less than 12 years old and the accused has a previous sex crime conviction, inflicted serious injury, used a deadly weapon or committed the offense as part of a ritual or ceremony, child molestation may be charged as a class A felony punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Child molestation in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If the accused has a previous sex crime conviction, inflicts serious bodily injury or uses a deadly weapon or commits the offense as part of a ritual or ceremony, child molestation may be charged as a class D felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to facing imprisonment and fines, a defendant convicted of child molestation may face mandatory sex offender registration for life.
Challenging Child Molestation Charges in Missouri
At times, child molestation charges may stem from entirely false and fabricated accusations. For reasons of anger, revenge or even in a custody battle, an adult or a child may make false claims of abuse. Some child molestation charges may even occur as a result of a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication. These are extremely sensitive cases that require a strategic yet aggressive approach if the accused is to have a chance of avoiding a conviction and the serious penalties this carries.
To find out what steps you can take against child molestation allegations or charges, contact a St. Louis sex crime lawyer at our firm. We are prepared to offer insight that can help you make informed choices.