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What is An Arizona Sexual Assault Charge And How To Deal

Posted on November 9, 2023 in

Dealing with Sex Crimes in Phoenix, AZ

types of sexual assault charges

Arguably, one of the most significant controversies that can spark a community is sex crime. Proven guilty or not, society tends to judge from their interpretation of the information presented to them, verified or not. 

If you are charged with sexual assault in Arizona, you need to have a lawyer immediately to control and limit public perception and personal shame. Experienced criminal defense attorneys not only represent you in court but also prepare for the repercussions on your reputation. Sexual assault cases could run for long, but society is always quick to judge.

Arizona Sexual Assault

Sexual assault in Arizona could be charged as a Class 2 felony. Arizona felonies are classified according to their respective sentences in state prison.

  • Class 1 felony – 25 years to life in jail and even the possibility of the death penalty for first-degree murders
  • Class 2 felony – 5 years
  • Class 3 felony – 3.5 years
  • Class 4 felony – 2.5 years
  • Class 5 felony – 1.5 years
  • Class 6 felony – 1 year

However, as with all cases heard in court, the judge still decides on the type of sentence and verdict. Repeat offenders or those with multiple sex offenses can have more severe punishments and penalties. Moreover, a convicted person is placed in the Arizona sex offender registry.

Even without a conviction, such as a wrongful accusation, the damage to reputation is still a high risk that affects employment and other factors. Experienced Arizona attorneys specializing in criminal defense such as 

Sexual Assault and Rape

Under Arizona laws, sexual assault holds the same meaning as rape and may happen in various ways under the ARS 13 1406. 

Rape does not only involve violence or threats to coerce a person into having sexual intercourse. As per Arizona law, sexual assault or rape happens when one deliberately and consciously engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with another individual without their consent.

Importance of Consent

This means that rape can still occur when the perpetrator takes measures to prevent someone from resistance, such as alcohol or drugs. Rape happens when sexual intercourse and the oral sexual contact occurs without consent.

What Determines Consent?

The context of “without consent” constitutes any of the listed below:

  • The victim is pressured through immediate infliction or threatened infliction of force against a person or property.
  • The victim cannot provide consent due to mental incapacities, disorders, or defects due to illegal drugs or medicine, alcohol, sleep, or any other forms of impairment of cognition. This condition is known or should be reasonably known to the accused. Here, mental incapacity or disorder is when the victim cannot understand the sexual nature of the act or is not capable of exercising the right to refuse participation in the act.
  • The accused deliberately misled the victim.
  • The accused deliberately misled the victim to think that one was the victim’s spouse.

Age of Consent in Arizona

Another factor to consider in a sexual assault case is the age of the individuals involved.

Under Arizona law, specifically ARS 13 1405, the age of consent in the state is 18 years old. By this, any person below the age of 18 cannot provide legal consent to sexual contact with an adult, 18 years old and above, and, technically, a juvenile, 18 years old and below.

Arizona Statutory Rape

When sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact is performed with a minor, this could mean statutory rape. The expressed or apparent consent of the minor is not considered valid due to the age of consent stipulated under Arizona laws. Under ARS 13 1405, statutory rape is sexual conduct with a minor. Consent is not one of the premises considered.

Arizona Romeo and Juliet Law

However, there is an exception to the rule for minors between 15 years old and 19 years old under ARS 13 1405. This is called the Romeo and Juliet law. This rule grants the two young individuals aged 15 – 19 the performance of consensual sex and other sexual activities for as long as the age gap between them is a maximum of 2 years. However, suppose the sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact lacks consent or is non-consensual. In that case, the rules of sexual assault will apply.

Possible Sentences According to Victim Age

As mentioned earlier, the court will have discretion on the verdict of the case. The Circumstances and the facts of the case, including the age of the victim, will also be considered. 

  • If the victim is aged 15 or above – the punishment could be at least 5.25 to 14 years in state prison 
  • If the victim is between 12 – 14 years old – the accused will be indicted to state prison under the Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) statute of the ARS 13-705. This means at least 13 – 27 years in state prison as this is a child sexual assault
  • If the victim is aged 12 or younger – the DCAC will also apply and is punishable with life in prison if convicted in court.

Points to Remember

  1. These sentences apply to defendants or perpetrators who are aged 18 and above. If the defendant is under the age of 18, then the juvenile crime charges will apply.
  2. If serious physical injury or sexual battery was also committed or inflicted by the defendant in addition to the sexual activity performed under coercion, then the accused may also be imprisoned for life.

Legal Representation for a Sex Crime

Facing rape allegations and being considered a rapist is challenging to overcome. This situation brings excessive stress not just to the accused but to family, relatives, friends. Hiring an experienced sex crimes lawyer could mean a positive outcome. 

Contact Snader Law Group, a law firm specializing in criminal defense, including sex crimes in Phoenix, Arizona, to seek help. Get the confidential assistance of legal experts to build your defense and mitigate the ill effects of dealing with this case. 

Sex crimes cases must be handled with urgency. If you have been charged with a sex crime, domestic violence, drug or weapons charges, or aggravated assault, Howard Snader is widely considered the top Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney. The best criminal defense lawyer for you is affordable and reliable. Consult with our criminal defense law firm in Arizona today!