“Physical Evidence” in Child Molestation Cases
There is perhaps no crime for which an accusation is more damaging to a person than that of child molestation. If you are accused of this crime, your friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances will likely feel confused, betrayed and angry toward you.
The difficulty in these cases is that they often come down to the word of a minor versus the word of the accused. Children are often difficult witnesses, especially when they are very young. Often, the prosecutor will have to work hard to convince a jury that the child’s testimony is not the product of his or her lack of understanding of the specifics of an incident or a result of the child’s inexperience in general.
A prosecutor who believes he or she has physical evidence that abuse occurred will often think the case will lead to an easy conviction. However, this does not mean that the case will be a slam dunk for a conviction. If you are accused of child molestation in California and the prosecutor claims to have “physical evidence” of abuse, having an experienced defense attorney who knows how to refute that evidence is the key to beating the charges.
Physical Evidence vs. “Signs of Abuse”
Physical evidence is best described as the evidence that the members of the jury will be able to observe with their own senses. This means evidence that can be seen, heard, touched and smelled. For example, if you are charged with lewd acts on a child under California Penal Code Section 288, physical evidence could be DNA evidence collected from the child and the area where the incident allegedly occurred. It might also include photographs of bruises, scars or cuts on the child’s body, or video and audio recordings of the incident.
Knowing this general definition can be helpful to understanding the difference between a prosecutor claiming to have physical evidence and a prosecutor claiming that there are “signs of abuse.” This is a vague phrase defining evidence a jury might believe is evidence of abuse. Signs of abuse would explain things like changes in the child’s behavior or statements the child made. Prosecutors might claim there are signs of abuse in an effort to trick you or a jury into believing that there is strong physical evidence against you.
Refuting Physical Evidence in Child Molestation Cases
Suppose the prosecution actually has physical evidence that you committed the crime. Does this mean you will be convicted? Not necessarily. Generally, refuting evidence is a two-part strategy.
First, your defense attorney may be able to use the rules of criminal procedure and the rules of evidence to get the evidence removed from being shown in court. Your attorney will thoroughly examine how the evidence was collected to see if doing so violated your constitutional rights, and will challenge the prosecution’s ability to bring that evidence against you in court.
The second part of the strategy is to attack the credibility of the evidence that is allowed into court. Evidence that is admitted into a case is still subject to interpretation by the jury. Your attorney can bring in expert witnesses to refute the prosecution’s interpretation of the evidence, as well as other witnesses who can cast doubt on the prosecution’s version of the evidence. Remember, a prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and providing a credible and alternative explanation for the presence of physical evidence can make all the difference in your case.
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich work with many experts in this area and often use medical testimony to refute alleged physical findings of abuse.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
Facing a child molestation charge or any sex crime is difficult, but you do not have to face it alone. If you have been accused of child molestation, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been helping clients facing these charges for over 30 years. We know that an accusation of a crime against a child can affect you for the rest of your life, and we are dedicated to working tirelessly on your behalf to provide you with the best defense possible.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.