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What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault (ARS §13-1406) is what most people would commonly consider rape because it means that you intentionally or knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with another person, but without their consent.

Sexual assault is considered a high class felony and a serious crime. You are always innocent until proven guilty, but once you have been accused of rape, it can be difficult for others to look at you the same way.

You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arizona to properly strategize a defense to fight against your charges.

Concepts Of Sexual Assault

Sexual intercourse is a penetration into the penis, vagina, or anus by any part of the body or an object.

Oral sexual contact is with mouth contact with penis, vagina, or anus.

Without the consent of the other person means:

  • You threatened or used force against the other person or property.
  • The other person is incapable of confirming consent due to intoxication, mental disorder, drugs, or any other impairment of cognition that you should’ve reasonably known.
  • You deceived the other person.

The age of consent in Arizona is 18 years old. Any person under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to any sexual conducts with an adult or juvenile.

Contact your Arizona criminal defense attorney immediately after you hear of your sexual assault charge and tell them everything you can remember about your encounter with the other person.

Your defense attorney will then need to interview witnesses and the accusers, collect texts, photos, and sometimes even DNA and forensic evidence that are time sensitive and need to be collected immediately.

Defenses To Sexual Assault/Rape Charges

People make false accusations for many reasons. Some of the main defenses are when they consent to sexual activity.

Charges in these situations happen at college parties, tinder dates, bars, and happy hours are some to name. False claims are often made after people are intoxicated and had sex with someone else who was also intoxicated, and then later regretted their decision for their own reasoning. This is called buyer’s remorse.

Some reasons for buyer’s regret after sexual conduct are:

  • They were ashamed of their actions.
  • They cheated on their significant other.
  • They are pissed off at you for some reason and want to get back at you.

Oftentimes, officers will sit with the accuser and have them call the accused. This is called a confrontation call.

The accuser will ask the accused about their sexual act. Unbeknownst to the accused, the call is being recorded. Even if the sex act was consensual, you have now implicated yourself by discussing aspects of engaging in the sex act with the accuser. Some of the other areas to attack are the forensic evidence, the statements procured by police, and warrantless searches and seizures.

As for crimes against children, some of the issues may be related to the suggestive questioning of an interviewer or parent who the alleged acts were disclosed to. Children’s brains are not fully developed and many times they can be manipulated. 

For example, studies have shown that the brain does not fully develop until 26 years of age. Psychologists often need to be hired to help address these issues. Things such as “False Memory Syndrome” were displayed in the McMartin preschool trial in California, as well as numerous other studies conducted by Elizabeth Loftus.

False Memory Syndrome are memories caused by a traumatic experience where a person strongly believes an incident or situation has occurred or a person’s identity or relationship are affected by false memories.

Unless you have a photographic memory, your memory of an incident will not get better overtime, especially if you were intoxicated or under the influence of any drug, or if the sexual act was a fling and something you didn’t bother to remember.

Other Sex Crimes

There are many different sex crimes that you can be charged with in relation to sexual assault, but are not limited to this list:

  • Indecent Exposure (ARS §13-1402)
    • When you expose your genitals, anus, breast or breasts to another person in your presence and you are reckless about how they would react to the exposure.

  • Public Sexual Indecency (ARS §13-1403)
    • When you intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual contact, oral sex, sexual intercourse, or bestiality in another person’s presence and you are reckless about how it would offend or alarm them.

  • Sexual Abuse (ARS §13-1404)
    • When you intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual contact with someone who is 15 or older without their consent or engage in sexual contact with a female’s breasts who is under 15.
  • Sexual Misconduct With A Minor and Statutory Rape (ARS §13-1405)
    • When you intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with someone under 18 at the time of the sexual act.

  • Molestation Of A Child (ARS §13-1410)
    • When you intentionally or knowingly engage or cause a person to engage in sexual contact with a child under 15.

  • Child Sex Trafficking (ARS §13-3212)
    • When you knowingly cause, use, or permit a minor to engage in prostitution.

  • Prostitution or Solicitation Of Prostitution (ARS §13-3214)
    • When you knowingly engage in prostitution.

  • Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor (ARS §13-3553)
    • When you knowingly record, film, photograph, develop, or duplicate any visual depiction in which a minor is engaged in sexual conduct.

  • Luring A Minor For Sexual Exploitation (ARS §13-3554)
    • When you offer or solicit sexual conduct with another person knowing or having reason to know that they are a minor.

These are life changing or life ending sex crimes, meaning if you are convicted with any of them, you will be charged with very serious consequences ranging from life in prison, having a mandatory sex offender registration, consecutive sentences, and a mandatory lifetime sexual probation.

If you are ever unsure of which sex crime you are being charged with or if you know you are being incorrectly charged or accused, always consult with your criminal defense attorney in Arizona. You will need an experienced defense team that is skilled building a strong and effective defense strategy for your case.

Don’t wait to take action against false accusations. An immediate and fast response is needed against charges like these because the possible penalties are extremely severe.

Punishments And Penalties For Sexual Assault In Arizona

Sexual assault is considered a class 2 felony and the sentences include the following:

  • First time offenders: Minimum 5.25 years in prison with a presumptive of 7 years, and a maximum of 14 years of incarceration.
    • The time is flat which means every calendar day, the court is required to stack the counts or sentence consecutively with any other sex assault sentence imposed. Probation is not possible and sexual registration is mandatory under (ARS §13-3821(A)5)
  • If you have one allegeable historical charge prior to the felony convictions: Minimum 7 years in prison with a presumptive of 10.5, and a maximum of 21 years in prison.
  • If you have two or more allegeable historical charge prior to the felony convictions: Minimum 14 years in prison with a presumptive of 15.75 years in prison, and a maximum of 28 years in prison.
  • If the sexual assault involved any intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury: Sentenced from 25 years to life in prison. You must serve 100% of your time before you can be released from prison.

If any type of drug was used such as a roofie or date rape drug, then an additional three years is added to the sentence.

If the sexual assault involved a victim who was a minor under the age of 15, but was older than 12, and the defendant is over 18, it carries the following punishment for each and every conviction:

  • First time offenders: Minimum 13 years with a presumptive of 20 years in prison, and a maximum of 27 years of incarceration.
    • The time is flat and the court is required to stack the counts or sentence consecutively with any other sexual assault sentence. Probation is not possible and a sexual registration is mandatory.
  • If you have one previous predicate felony (including a prior DCAC, among other serious felonies): Minimum 23 years with a presumptive of 30 years, and a maximum of 37 years in prison.
  • If the victim is 12 or under, you can be sentenced to prison for up to 35 to life, or the judge can impose a sentence a minimum of 13 years incarceration, presumptive 20 years, and a maximum 27 years incarceration.

For convictions under Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) (ARS §13-705), you must serve 100% of the prison time. If you are convicted of two counts, they must be run consecutive to each other.

Get Your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney To Fight Your Sexual Assault Charges

All sexual assault charges require you to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of your life. You are not allowed to have any contact with anyone under the age of 18, and this includes your own children, without going through numerous testing procedures and dealing with adult probation.

Let the Litwak Law Group defend your rights for you. Make sure your future is in the hands of a capable, experienced, and knowledgeable defense team. We work on your behalf to make sure you have the best possible defense or obtain the best possible result short of trial.

If you are facing any of the sex crimes, contact our Arizona criminal defense attorney to schedule a free consultation. Don’t wait until it’s too late.