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What Is a Sex Crime in Arizona?

Posted on January 8, 2024 in

Arizona lawmakers punish sex crimes harshly. Criminal consequences for a sex crime conviction are severe and can include life imprisonment. These crimes also come with a variety of social, employment and financial consequences. Sex crimes encompass a range of offenses that relate to sexual conduct and activity.  

Unfortunately, individuals can be accused and convicted of sex crimes without being aware of the law or intending to commit a crime. If you have been arrested for an alleged sex crime in Arizona, contact a Phoenix sex crimes defense lawyer at Snader Law Group right away for a free and confidential case consultation.

What Is Considered a Sex Crime in Arizona? 

Arizona has numerous statutes that define acts constituting sex crimes. The state’s sexual assault law, Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1406, gives a general definition that can apply to many other sex crime violations. It states that it is unlawful to intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual conduct with any person without that person’s consent.

Consent refers to voluntary, clear and enthusiastic agreement to engage in sexual conduct without undue influence by coercion, misrepresentation, force or threat of force, duress, incapacitation, or intoxication. In Arizona, an individual under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to engage in sexual activity.

Types of Sex Crimes

Arizona law lists many types of sex crimes and gives specific definitions for each. A wide variety of actions, behaviors and misconduct involving sexual contact with another person go against state law. If you are being accused of any type of sex crime, it is important to know the exact language of the law that describes the charges against you, as well as the elements that must be proven by the prosecution to obtain a conviction. 

Examples of sex crimes in Arizona include:

  • Child molestation and child sex abuse
  • Child pornography
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Indecent exposure
  • Internet sex crimes
  • Lewd and lascivious acts
  • Luring a minor for sexual exploitation
  • Prostitution and solicitation
  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Revenge porn
  • Sex trafficking
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual conduct with a minor and statutory rape
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Sexual extortion
  • Taking a child for the purpose of prostitution
  • Voyeurism

Sex crimes in Arizona can involve communicating with a minor for the purpose of sexual exploitation, observing or photographing someone who has a reasonable expectation of privacy, exposing one’s private parts in public, producing or distributing sexually explicit material involving a minor, and engaging in sexual activity with someone who is under the age of 18. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the nuances of the law involved in your specific case.

What Are the Classifications of Registered Sex Offenders in Arizona? 

Being convicted of certain types of sex crimes in Arizona will result in a requirement for the defendant to register as a sex offender. The sex offender registration system is designed to protect the public by making information about convicted sex offenders in the area openly available. 

Arizona’s sex offender registration framework has three tiers:

  1. Level 1: the least severe tier applies to offenders who are deemed low risk, meaning unlikely to commit another sex crime.
  1. Level 2: the second tier applies to offenders who pose a moderate risk of reoffending in the future.
  1. Level 3: the most severe tier is reserved for sex offenders who are deemed high-risk, likely to reoffend and a potential threat to public safety.

To determine the correct tier, a designated agency will conduct a sex offender assessment that evaluates risk across 19 areas. Sex offender registration lasts for life and requires the individual to notify law enforcement if he or she travels or moves into a new neighborhood. It also restricts where the individual can live, such as a certain distance away from schools.

What Are the Penalties for Sex Crimes in Arizona?

The penalties against someone convicted of a sex crime in Arizona depend on the specific facts, such as the age of the victim and the nature of the offense. If there are aggravating factors, such as a victim who is under the age of 15 or the use of drugs or weapons, this can lead to heightened charges and penalties. Prior convictions on the defendant’s record can also enhance the penalties imposed.

Potential penalties for a sex crime conviction in Arizona include:

  • Criminal fines, plus additional penalties and surcharges. A judge may also order restitution to be paid to the victim
  • A jail or prison term ranging from five years or less to a life sentence without eligibility for commutation, suspension, parole, probation, work release or pardon.
  • Registration on the Arizona sex offender list, which can limit an individual’s rights and freedoms.
  • Consequences connected to a felony conviction, such as the loss of certain constitutional rights, the loss of professional licensure, and difficulty finding housing and employment.

Individuals who are convicted of sex crimes also face negative social stigmas, particularly when the case involves a minor or a large age gap between the parties. A defendant may lose relationships with friends and family members even if sex crime allegations do not result in a conviction. Finally, a sex crime conviction can impact family law matters, such as child custody.

Potential Defenses to Sex Crime Charges in Arizona

Sex crime charges can have severe and long-lasting consequences. If you are facing charges for any type of sex crime in Arizona, it is crucial to get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer may be able to help you avoid a conviction or negotiate a plea agreement for reduced charges and penalties. It may be possible to protect you from having to register as a sex offender, as well.

Defenses to sex crime charges may include:

  • Consent to the sexual activity
  • Wrong defendant or mistake of identity
  • False accusation
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Civil rights violations
  • Expired statute of limitations
  • Entrapment

The most appropriate defense for a sex crime charge will be based on the unique circumstances of the case, such as the type of crime allegedly committed and the defendant’s criminal background. If you have been arrested for an alleged sex crime in Phoenix, an attorney from Snader Law Group can help you explore your defense options during a free and confidential case review. Call (602) 825-3031 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.