Chattanooga Sex Crime Lawyer

Chattanooga Sex Crime Lawyer 

Protecting Your Future When Charged with a Sex Crime

The mere accusation of a sex crime, even before criminal charges have been filed, can cause long-lasting harm to your life and reputation. These allegations are frightening and dehumanizing. Upon being charged, the most critical first step is to retain a lawyer experienced in these matters. The stigma of such accusations is so great, many individuals accused feel a moral duty to speak up and defend themselves to law enforcement. It is a natural inclination but one that can be disastrous for your defense. Talking about sex, especially to a stranger with authority, is uncomfortable, and every word or phrase will be used against a person giving a statement. 

At the Law Offices of Meredith Mochel, we understand the fear and stigma associated with a criminal sexual offense accusation. Once our sex crimes attorney in Chattanooga is involved, we are in a better position to advocate for you to authorities without incriminating you or creating any statements that could be later turned against you. With the help of experts and investigators, we launch a full-scale defense to the charges.

Our Chattanooga sex crimes lawyer has over 15 years of experience helping individuals facing serious criminal allegations. A native Chattanoogan herself, she has deep roots in the community and is ready to deliver the personalized care those in and around this area need. When you hire us, we will be responsive to your inquiries and prepared to provide clear and detailed answers to your questions. A skilled litigator and practiced negotiator, our Chattanooga sex crime attorney has what it takes to fight for your best interests inside and outside the courtroom.

We Can Help Build A Defense Against All Sex Offenses

The Tennessee Code lists several types of conduct falling under the umbrella term of “sex crime.” The offenses range from unlawful sexual contact, such as intentionally kissing or touching a minor, to unlawful sexual conduct, including sexual penetration through the use of force. Being accused of any of these crimes is serious and requires defense from an attorney who knows how to handle complicated cases.

Our Chattanooga sex crime lawyer has experience defending people accused of a wide range of criminal sexual offenses, including:

  • Rape (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-503): A person may be accused of rape if they have nonconsensual sex with another, they use force or coercion to make the other person submit to sexual conduct, or engage in sexual activity with someone they know or should have known was unable to resist. Rape is a Class B felony.
  • Aggravated rape (Tenn. Code Ann § 39-13-502): Rape becomes an aggravated offense when it involves the alleged offender being armed with a deadly weapon, causing bodily injury to the other person, or committing the crime with one or more others. Aggravated rape is a Class A felony.
  • Sexual battery (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-505): Sexual battery involves unlawful sexual contact with another person. Additionally, the contact must have occurred when the alleged offender used force or coercion, the victim did not consent, the alleged offender knew or should have known that the other person was unable to resist, or the alleged offender used fraud to get the other’s consent. Sexual battery is a Class E felony.
  • Aggravated sexual battery (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-505): Charges for aggravated sexual battery are levied when the alleged offender commits sexual battery and is armed with a deadly weapon, causes bodily injury to the victim, commits the offense with one or more others, or commits the crime against someone under 13 years of age. Aggravated sexual battery is a Class B felony.
  • Statutory rape (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-506): Tennessee’s statutory rape law enumerates three levels of the offense. Mitigated statutory rape occurs when the victim is between 15 and 17 years of age and the alleged offender is 4 to 5 years older than them. Statutory rape is defined as sexual conduct between a person 13 to 14 years of age and someone 4 to 9 years older than them, or between a person 15 to 17 years of age and someone 5 and 9 years older than them. Mitigated statutory rape and statutory rape are Class E felonies. Aggravated statutory rape is when a person has sex with a minor between 13 and 17 years of age and they are at least 10 years older than the minor. It is a Class D felony.
  • Aggravated prostitution (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-516): Prohibited under this law is engaging in prostitution-related activity when the individual knows that they have HIV. Aggravated prostitution is a Class C felony.
  • Indecent exposure (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-511): A person commits indecent exposure when they intentionally expose their genitals or engage in sexual conduct in a public place where others can view them and are likely to be offended by the act. A person may also face accusations if they expose their genitals or masturbate in front of a child for sexual gratification. Depending on the alleged offender’s criminal history and the location and nature of the offense, indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, or Class E felony.
  • Sexual contact with a minor (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-509): Charges arise when a person 18 years of age or older and in an authority position over a child has unlawful sexual contact with that minor. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Anyone convicted faces a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine.
  • Solicitation of a minor (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-528): The law prohibits anyone 18 years of age or older from in any way enticing a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. The crime is charged as one classification lower than the offense for which the minor was contacted.

Often a report of a sexual assault or sexual misconduct results in an investigation before law enforcement decides whether to charge a crime. Law enforcement, upon learning of an accusation, will then contact the accused. Sometimes this is immediately following an intimate encounter with the accuser, but often there is a delayed report. These accusations can have serious and lifelong educational and professional consequences.

At the Law Offices of Meredith Mochel, we are experienced in getting in front of these accusations, investigating them, and advocating for our clients to protect their legal interests. It may be possible to avoid charges ever being filed.

What are the Penalties for Sex Crimes in Tennessee? 

In Tennessee, sex crimes are either misdemeanors or felonies. As such, the penalties that can be imposed depend on the level of the charge and the nature of the offense. 

Below are the possible consequences of a conviction:

  • Class A misdemeanor 
    • Up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and/or
    • Up to $2,500 in fines

Examples of offenses charged at this level:

  • Indecent exposure (Defendant 18 years of age, victim under 13 years of age)
  • Sexual contact with a minor
  • Class B misdemeanor
    • Up to 6 months in jail and/or
    • Up to $500 in fines

Example of an offense charged at this level:

  • Indecent exposure
  • Class A felony
    • 15 to 60 years in prison and
    • Up to $50,000 in fines

Example of an offense charged at this level:

  • Aggravated rape
  • Class B Felony
    • 8 to 30 years in prison and
    • Up to $10,000 in fines

Examples of offenses charged at this level:

  • Rape
  • Aggravated sexual battery
  • Class C Felony
    • 3 to 15 years in prison and
    • Up to $10,000 in fines

Example of an offense charged at this level:

  • Aggravated prostitution
  • Class D felony
    • 2 to 12 years in prison and
    • Up to $5,000 in fines

Example of an offense charged at this level:

  • Aggravated statutory rape
  • Class E felony
    • 1 to 6 years in prison and
    • Up to $3,000 in fines

Examples of offenses charged at this level:

  • Sexual battery
  • Mitigated statutory rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Indecent exposure (Defendant 18 years of age with two or more prior convictions or designated a sexual offender, and victim under 13 years of age; or defendant 18 years of age, victim under 14 years of age and the offense occurs on a school or daycare facility)

If you are facing severe punishments because of a sexual offense allegation, reach out to our Chattanooga sex crimes attorney for the defense you need. We can build a solid strategy on your behalf, seeking to help you avoid or minimize penalties.

Defense Against Sex Crimes 

Being accused of a sex crime does not mean you are guilty. Defenses may be raised to fight the charge.

Below are some of the ways an allegation could be challenged:

  • Consent
  • False allegations
  • Mistaken identity
  • Unlawful search or seizure

The above are just a few general defenses. Because your situation is unique, the legal strategy used in your case must be customized for the specific factors involved. 

If you have been accused or charged with a sex offense such as sexual assault or child pornography, in addition to hiring an attorney as soon as possible to advocate for you, there are things you should do:

  • Save all messages, social media communications, and even social media posts related to any encounter with the accuser.
  • Do not delete any messages. Your lawyer needs to see them, and you do not know what the accuser has saved or law enforcement can access.
  • Do not discuss the situation with friends – no matter how good a friend you wish to confide in. It may be nearly impossible not to tell a parent or spouse about the accusation. Still, the safest course of action is not speaking to persons outside of your lawyer’s office.

Understanding the facts of your situation allows us to tailor our advice and advocacy to provide effective protection and defense. Please consult with our sex crimes lawyer in Chattanooga to learn what avenues can be explored in your case.

Start Your Defense Today 

We understand what is at stake when you have been accused of a sex offense. Turn to us for the legal guidance you need. 

Are you facing a sex crime charge in Tennessee? Call Meredith Mochel, Attorney at Law today at (423) 250-1499 or contact us online to meet with our sex crime lawyer in Chattanooga.


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