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Child Molestation

Indiana Child Molestation & Sexual Abuse Defense Attorneys

Being accused of a sex crime is terrifying, as these types of criminal allegations can destroy your life and the lives of the people you love the most. In the state of Indiana, a conviction for child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, or child solicitation carries serious criminal penalties, including being subject to the terms of the credit restriction felon statute and having to comply with enhanced sex offender registration requirements. 

It is important to understand that cases involving sexual crimes against a child are some of the most difficult to resolve. They are also some of the most heavily reported, which means that even if the allegations prove to be false, the associated publicity can ruin your career and your reputation in the community. 

The Stracci Law Group understands just how much is at stake when you are accused of these types of sex crimes. We will take quick and decisive action to prepare your defense even before formal charges are filed. Our lawyers will examine the allegations against you from every angle to ferret out false claims, as well as protect you from disingenuous police interrogation practices. We will vigorously fight for you at every stage of the process and work side by side with you to develop a customized strategy for your defense.

Every Crown Point child molestation defense attorney from Stracci Law Group will aggressively defend your charges and treat you with compassion throughout the entire legal process.

Hire an Indianapolis child sexual abuse lawyer today to bring as much control back to your side as possible. Contact Stracci Law Group now for a free case review at (219) 525-1000.

Defining Child Sex Crimes in Northwest Indiana

Indiana sex crimes encompass many charges, including, but not limited to, child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child solicitation. It’s important to hire a child sexual abuse attorney to help you understand the charges you are facing and the potential penalties on the line.

Below are the legal definitions of different child sex crimes that a child sexual assault lawyer from Stracci Law Group will represent.

Indiana Child Molestation Laws

In the state of Indiana, a person who performs or submits to fondling or touching with a child under the age of 14 for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either themselves or the child could face child molestation charges. 

Indiana Code § 35-42-4-3 classifies this offense as a Level 4 felony punishable by a 2-12 year term in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, the offense will be elevated to a Level 2 felony, punishable by a term of 10-30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, when it is:

  • Committed by either using or threatening the use of deadly force;
  • Committed while armed with a deadly weapon; or
  • Facilitated by giving the child a drug or controlled substance without the child’s knowledge or knowing that the child was furnished with such a drug or substance.

A person who engages in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a child under the age of 14 also commits the crime of child molestation, but under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-3, this offense is classified as a Level 3 felony punishable by a 3 to 16 year prison term and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Moreover, when certain aggravating circumstances are present, the crime will be elevated to a Level 1 felony which carries a 20 to 40 year prison term and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravating circumstances include where the offense is:

  • Committed by a person 21 years of age or older;
  • Committed by either using or threatening the use of deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon;
  • Results in serious bodily injury;
  • Facilitated by giving the child a drug or controlled substance without the child’s knowledge or knowing that the child was furnished with such a drug or substance; or
  • Committed by a person who knows they are infected with a dangerous sexually transmitted disease and the offense results in the transmission of the disease.

Beyond the lengthy prison terms and substantial monetary fines, individuals convicted of child molesting in Indiana also face additional consequences, including:

  • Potentially being classified as a “credit restricted felon” under Indiana Code § 35-31.5-2-72 (meaning that the individual will have to serve approximately 85% of his or her prison sentence) depending upon numerous other statutory factors;
  • Being required to register with the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry; and
  • Being designated as a “sexually violent predator” or “offender against children,” which come with more stringent registry requirements, including having to register for life.

Stracci Law Group understands how much is at stake for our clients accused of child sex crimes in Indiana. We take responsive action when preparing your defense, even if charges have not been formally filed. Our child sexual abuse lawyers tenaciously fight at every stage of the legal process and work alongside clients to develop an actionable case strategy that makes sense for the circumstances.

Indiana Sexual Misconduct With a Minor Laws

Under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-9, a person at least 18 years of age who performs or submits to any fondling or touching with a child less than 16 years of age, for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either him or herself or the child, commits the crime of sexual misconduct with a minor in Indiana. This offense is classified as a Level 6 felony, which carries a prison term ranging between 6 months and 2 ½ years along with a maximum fine of up to $10,000. 

If the offender is 21 years of age or older, the offense will be elevated to a Level 5 felony, which carries a prison term ranging between 1 and 6 years, along with a fine of up to $10,000. 

The offense will be heightened to a Level 2 felony, punishable by a term of 10-30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, under the following circumstances:

  • The offense was committed by either using or threatening the use of deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon; or 
  • The offense was facilitated by giving the child a drug or controlled substance without the child’s knowledge or knowing that the child was furnished with such a drug or substance without the child's knowledge.

Additionally, a person who is at least 18 years of age and engages in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16, commits the crime of sexual misconduct with a minor. Indiana Code § 35-42-4-9 classifies this offense as a Level 5 felony, punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, the offense will be elevated to a Level 4 felony, punishable by a 2 to 12 year term in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, if the person committing the offense is 21 years of age or older.

Moreover, if the offense is committed with the use or threatened use of deadly force, takes place while armed with a deadly weapon, results in serious bodily injury, or is facilitated by providing the child with a drug or controlled substance without the child’s knowledge or knowing that the child was furnished with such a drug or substance without the child’s knowledge, the offense will be elevated to a Level 1 felony, punishable by a 20 to 40 year prison term and a fine of up to $10,000.

Similar to a conviction for child molesting, in the state of Indiana, the crime of sexual misconduct with a minor carries additional consequences beyond jail time and monetary penalties, including:

The requirement to register with the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry; and

  • Designation as a “sexually violent predator” or “offender against children,” that subjects the individual to enhanced registry requirements, including having to register for life.

Every child sex crime defense attorney at Stracci Law Group significant experience in handling child sexual abuse cases. Many of the attorneys at our firm have been former prosecutors, including one who was a former founder of the Lake County Prosecutor's Special Victim's Unit which specializes in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes.

Let the creativity, critical thinking abilities, and legal knowledge of our team at Stracci Law Group put you at ease.

Indiana Child Solicitation Laws

In the state of Indiana, when a person who is at least 18 years of age “solicits” a child under 14 years of age (or an individual the person believes to be under 14), to engage in sexual intercourse, other sexual conduct, or fondling or touching for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either him or herself or the child, the person commits the crime of child solicitation. 

Indiana Code § 35-42-4-6 defines “solicit” to mean “command, authorize, urge, incite, request or advise” the child to perform such actions using the following means:

  • In person;
  • Telephone or wireless device;
  • Writing;
  • Computer network
  • Advertisement; or
  • Any other means.

This offense is classified as a Level 5 felony which carries a prison term between 1 and 6 years along with a fine of up to $10,000. However, the offense will be elevated to a Level 4 felony, punishable by a 2 to 12 year term in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, where the person solicits the victim to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct and:

  • Uses a computer network to commit the offense and travels to meet the child or individual believed to be the child; or
  • Has a prior, unrelated conviction for an offense under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-6.

In cases where a person who is at least 21 years of age solicits a child who is at least 14 years old but less than 16 years old (or an individual the person believes to be at least 14 years old but less than 16 years old), to engage in sexual intercourse, other sexual conduct, or fondling or touching for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either him or herself or the child, commits the crime of child solicitation and could face a child solicitation sentence in Indiana. 

This offense is also classified as a Level 5 felony but will be elevated to a Level 4 felony when the person solicits the victim to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct and uses a computer network to commit the offense and travels to meet the child or individual believed to be the child; or has a prior, unrelated conviction for an offense under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-6.

Like child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor, a child solicitation conviction subjects an individual to penalties that go far beyond harsh prison sentences and monetary penalties, including:

  • The requirement to register with the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry; and
  • Designation as an “offender against children,” that will require the offender to meet additional registry requirements such as having to register for life.

The child sexual abuse defense lawyers at Stracci Law Group have developed a wide range of skills to execute a strong defense against child solicitation charges. Our hands-on work and big picture perspective place us in a recognizable position known for achieving great results for our clients. 

Other Child Molestation Penalties

Beyond lengthy prison terms and substantial monetary fines, individuals convicted of child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child solicitation in Indiana also face additional consequences. These other penalties can carry lifelong consequences that affect your social and professional relationships.

Other child molestation penalties include:

  • Credit restricted felon classification under Indiana Code § 35-31.5-2-72, where you must serve at least 85 percent of your prison sentence
  • Requirement to register with the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry
  • Sexually violent predator or offender against children designations for life

These additional penalties indeed carry near lifelong consequences. Child sex crimes are not like other crimes, where people seemingly move on with their lives and chalk the event up as poor judgment. Stracci Law Group has handled thousands of criminal cases on behalf of past clients, and we want to put our reputation for results behind your charges, too.

Legal Defenses Available for Child Sexual Abuse Convictions in Indiana

The Indianapolis childhood sexual abuse lawyers at Stracci Law Group realize that a conviction can stay with you forever. We are devoted to doing everything we can to protect your rights and fight the serious charges you are facing. We will carefully review your case to identify all defenses that may be available to you.

For instance, if you have been charged with sexual misconduct with a minor under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-9, but you reasonably believed that the child was 16 years of age or older at the time of the conduct in question, you may have a valid defense to prosecution. 

Indiana law also provides for a defense where the child is or was married. Additionally, the “Romeo and Juliet Defense” may apply if you are under the age of 21 and were involved in a dating or ongoing personal relationship with a partner who is not more than 4 years younger than you. 

In order to avail yourself of this defense, you must meet additional factors set forth in the statute. When you hire a child sexual assault attorney from Stracci Law Group, you can be confident that we know the ins and outs of these laws and will work with you to develop a customized defense strategy that fully develops all possible defenses.

Contact Child Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers in Crown Point Today!

No one should ever have to pay the consequences for a crime they did not commit. Stracci Law Group, a child sexual abuse law firm in Crown Point, Indiana, wants to help you tell your side of the story and clear your good name. We have helped individuals defend their charges for more than 20 years and are backed by the legal resources your case deserves.

It is also essential to understand that you could change the outcome of your case, even before your next hearing. While every case is different, many individuals do not realize that their attorney could help their case much earlier than expected. 

As soon as you become aware that such allegations are being made against you, call Stracci Law Group for a free case review at (219) 525-1000, or send us a private message about your case here

Our child sexual abuse lawyers practice throughout Northwest Indiana, including Crown Point [46307, 46308], Portage [46368, 46403], Gary [46402, 46404, 46405], and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana. 

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FAQ

How long is a sentence for child molestation in Lake County?

A sentence for child molestation in Indiana depends upon the facts of your case. If you are charged with a Level 4 Felony, you could face up to 12 years in prison, whereas a Level 1 Felony carries a penalty up to 40 years.

What is the Romeo and Juliet law in Indiana?

The Romeo and Juliet Law in Indiana is a defense against child sex crimes. This defense states that your crime was excluded under the law if the minor is aged 14 or 15, and you were no more than four years older than they were. Another caveat is that the sexual activity must have been consensual.

What are the restrictions for sex offenders in Indiana?

The restrictions for sex offenders in Indiana include not living within 1,000 feet of a school, park, daycare, or youth center. You will also not be able to seek employment at the same businesses or programs. Sex offenders also consent to computer searches, agree to not chat with others online, and cannot live within one mile of the victim.

Additional penalties can apply if you fail to register as a sex offender by the mandated deadlines.

How can I tell if a child was sexually abused?

There are many telltale signs of sexual abuse, including:

  • STI (STD) infections
  • Trauma to the genital area (bruising, etc.)
  • Sudden reluctance to being left alone with certain caregivers

There are many more such signs, most of them psychological. Contact a sexual abuse counselor or a child sexual abuse lawyer if you suspect abuse.

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