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How Is Sex Crime Defined in Arizona?

Posted on November 9, 2023 in

When you are charged with a sex crime in Phoenix, you may suffer a lifetime of hassle, probation, and monitoring. More than that, sex crimes in Arizona have a stigma attached to them unmatched by most other crimes

Arizona sexual offense charges are serious and carry grave consequences upon conviction. There may be instances when you are charged with a sex offense in Arizona, you are denied the opportunity to plea bargain your case. This is because Arizona has mandatory sentencing laws that if convicted requires prison time from five to 14 years for rape and 13 to 27  years for sex offenses involving children. There may be no chances for early release. A convicted sexual offender may also undergo a psychological evaluation or “risk assessment” to find out if the offender poses a real risk or threat and whether not he or she should not be allowed to remain in the community. In most cases where diagnostic testing establishes that the offender at low risk, the State or the judge may decide that the offender is a good candidate for probation or a substantially lower incarceration sentence, and allowed to return to the community without being a safety risk.

Read on to find out the different offenses that fall under sex crimes in Arizona.

Child molestation

Definition: Child molestation under Arizona law applies to sexual contact between a person of any age and a child who is 14 years of age or younger. Children who are 14 years of age and younger do not have the legal capacity to provide consent for a sexual act. If a child lies to you and tells you that he or she is an adult, that fact is not a defense to the charge of molestation. The sexual act does not need to include sexual intercourse (penetration) to be considered child molestation. Child molestation includes “any” sexual contact between the child and another person, including lascivious and lewd acts upon a child. The law also defines that child molestation also includes causing another person to engage in sexual acts with a minor child. So, you could be charged with child molestation even though you never touched the child.

Penalties: Child molestation is a Class 2 Felony that covers a wide variety of sexual acts with a minor. Class 2 felonies expose a person to aggravated sentencing ranges for Dangerous Crimes Against Children. These sentences run consecutive to general sentences imposed, and expose a person to long prison terms that may go up to 27 years or life.

Even if you know you are innocent, you need to contact a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer to begin preparing your legal defense.

In many cases, police officers, social workers, and prosecutors have already determined you are guilty of the charges. You must have an experienced Phoenix sex crime defense lawyer on your side to mount an aggressive defense to the charges of child molestation.

Indecent exposure

Definition: A person may be found guilty of indecent exposure in Arizona if they expose themselves inappropriately and recklessly in the presence of another without regard that a reasonable person may be offended or be alarmed by the act. This does not apply to a mother who is breastfeeding.

Penalties: If the victim is fifteen or more years of age it is a class 1 misdemeanor. While there is not a mandatory jail sentence, the maximum jail term for a class 1 misdemeanor is six (6) months. If the victim is under the age of fifteen the conviction is a class 6 felony. While probation is possible, a judge has the ability to sentence a person to a prison term ranging from a few months up to two years.

Indecent exposure is a sex crime that can carry serious consequences in Arizona, including registration as a sex offender. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix may help in getting the charges reduced by building the best possible defense.

Sexual exploitation of a minor

Definition: Under Arizona law, sexual exploitation of a minor or child pornography occurs when an individual knowingly records, films, transmits or receives, photographs, duplicates, develops, sells, purchases, and transports any visual depiction of minors engaged in sexual conduct:

Penalties: Sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class 2 Felony and carries with it a 10-24 year prison time per violation The offender will also be subjected to fines, extensive probation and possible loss of parental rights as initiated by Arizona Child Protective Services.

Because child pornography laws can sometimes get complicated, it is in your best interests to consult an experienced Arizona sex crimes attorney if you have questions about your specific situation. A good criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix can explain the law and any potential consequences of a conviction or plea deal.

Sexual assault

Definition: Sexual assault or rape is when a person intentionally and knowingly, engage in sexual acts (sexual interourse or oral sexual contact) with another person without their consent.

Penalties: Charges for sexual assault are categorized as Class 2 Felony and carries with it prison time of up to 14 years. However, aggravating circumstances further adds to the prison terms:

  • If the offender has two (2) or more prior convictions, he or she could spend up to 28 years in prison.
  • If the sexual assault involves administration of certain specified sedatives, also known as date-rape drugs, without the victim’s knowledge or consent, there will be adding three years to the sentence.
  • If the offender caused intentional infliction of “serious physical injury” to the victim during the crime, the sentence can become 25 years to life in prison.
  • If the victim is under 15 years old, based on Arizona’s Dangerous Crimes Against Children, an additional sentence will be imposed.

Sexual assault charges in Arizona carry long jail sentences and huge fines. Not to mention the possibility of having to register as a sex offender for life. If you have been accused of a sexual assault in Arizona, get in touch with a Phoenix sex crime attorney who knows Arizona laws and can assist you with a defense.

Sexual conduct with a minor

Definition: Arizona laws define sexual conduct with a minor as intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under eighteen years of age. It is further broken down in three degrees, each with respective penalties:

Class 2 felony –

  • Sexual conduct with a minor who is under 15 years of age.
  • Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least 15 years of age and if the offender is or was in a position of trust or authority such as the minor’s parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, foster parent, teacher, clergyman or priest

Class 6 felony – If the minor is at least 15 years old.

Penalties:  The degree of the crime depends on the specifics of the crime committed, with higher degrees of the charge generally receiving harsher punishments.

Class 6 felony carries with it prison time of one year.

Class 2 felony depends on the age of the victim and the offender:

  • If victim under 12, life in prison without probation until 35 years served
  • If the minor is under age 15, five years in prison
  • If the offender is at least age 18 or is tried as an adult and the minor was age 12 or younger, life in prison and the offender is ineligible for release until serving 35 years
  • If the offender is at least 18 or tried as an adult and the victim is age 12, 13, or 14, the presumptive sentence is 20 years

Do not wait to contact our Phoenix sex crime lawyers about your sexual conduct with a minor charge. The prosecution has already started to build their case against you.

Soliciting a Prostitute in AZ

Definition: Prostitution is illegal in Arizona.  Prostitution is defined as anyone engaging in, agreeing to, or offering sexual services for a fee. Anyone soliciting a prostitute is, therefore, engaging in prostitution which is a class 1 misdemeanor in AZ.

Penalties: Punishments depend on the frequency of convictions:

  • First time offenders get 15 days of jail time
  • Second time offenders get 30 days.
  • Further convictions will be considered as a class five felony that is punishable with 180 days in prison.

Contact an Arizona Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a sex crime in Phoenix, talk to an Arizona sex crimes defense attorney. At Howard Snader Law, we will work hard to build your defense in order to keep you out of jail. Call us for a  FREE consultation.