Sexual Abuse Charges in Arizona
According to A.R.S §13-1404 – Sexual Abuse Charges in Arizona occur if a person knowingly or intentionally engages in any type of sexual contact with another person who is 15 years of age, or more, without their consent, or with any person under the age of 15 if the sexual contact only involves a female breast. In some cases, the latter may also constitute being charged with sexual conduct with a minor.
According to the law, sexual conduct is any type of indirect or direct manipulating, fondling or touching of any area of the genitals, female breast or anus by any object or part of the body. In some situations, these particular cases are called “fondling cases.”
If you are in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in the state of Arizona and are charged with a sex crime, contact Cates & Garvey Law Group by calling 602-922-2539.
Potential Consequences For Ages 15 And Younger
If you are charged with sexual abuse against an individual who is under the age of 15, then it will be classified as a class three felony, as well as a Dangerous Crime Against a Child. This is a crime that carries the following potential punishment:
- Minimum time in prison of 2.5 years
- Presumptive in prison of 5 years
- Maximum incarceration period of 7.5 years
If you have been convicted of a similar serious felony in the past, including a DCAC or another serious crime, then the punishment potential increases accordingly. It is as follows if you are in this situation:
- Minimum period of incarceration of 8 years
- Presumptive period of incarceration of 15 years
- Maximum period of incarceration of 22 years
Due to the fact that this is a DCAC crime, the total prison sentence has to be completed in order for the individual to be considered/eligible for release.
Potential Consequences For Ages 15 And Older
If the supposed sexual abuse victim is 15 years of age or more, then the crime is considered to be a class five felony. For a first offense, the potential consequences are as follows:
- Between 0 days and one year in prison or up to six months and 2.5 years in custody
If the individual accused of the crime has been convicted of a felony in the past, then the “prison only” range changes to one year to three years and nine months of being incarcerated. If the person has two prior felony convictions, then the prison-only range will be three years up to 7.5 years.
Even though the sexual abuse charge isn’t considered to be as serious as the charges of child molestation or sexual conduct with a minor it can still result in serious consequences that require the individual to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life if the victim is 18 years or younger.
If you wind up being convicted of this crime, then you won’t be able to be in contact with anyone who is under 18, which includes your own children. If you do want contact, then you will have to go through several testing procedures and gain the consent of your current probation officer.
Potential Sexual Abuse Charge Defenses
When it comes to A.R.S §13-1404, there are two primary defenses that can be used if the victim is between the ages of 15 and 17.
The first defense is that the defendant (the person charged with the crime) wasn’t aware and could not have reasonably known that the victim was this age and that the victim consented to the touching that occurred. According to the law in Arizona, if someone is under the age of 18, then they are not capable of consenting to any type of sexual activity, which means that any sexual activity you engage in is considered “unconsensual” due to the victim’s age.
However, there is a statute that highlights an exception and states that if the only reason that the contact that occurred was “unconsensual” was that the individual was under the age of 18, and they consented in other ways, and the person charged with the crime was unaware of the person’s age, then prosecution for sexual abuse will not be permitted.
This is a situation that commonly occurs if a minor lies about how old they are to the defendant.
Another defense that is used for cases involving victims between the ages of 15 and 17 is if the defendant is under the age of 18 or actively attending high school and is no more than a total of 24 months older than the victim and the sexual conduct that occurs is consensual otherwise.
This type of defense is designed specifically to provide protection for younger couples who are extremely close in ages, that it would not be fair to criminalize a consensual sexual encounter.
Defenses For All Sexual Abuse Charges
There is another defense that has been specifically outlined by the A.R.S §13-1404 statute that states that no matter what age the victim is, that the defendant wasn’t motivated by any type of sexual interest when the contact took place. This is a defense a lawyer could use to argue that the contact the defendant had with the supposed victim was for another purpose besides sexual gratification – for example, accident touching. According to the statute mentioned above, this would not be classified as sexual abuse.
Also, there are some cases where sexual abuse charges arise while a divorce proceeding is going on. In these cases, the defendants soon to be ex-husband or wife, or an angry teen who wants someone “gone” makes up false allegations. It is crucial that these charges are challenged right away by reviewing the initial report received and how it was prepared in an untimely manner and questioning any of the interviewers who may have spoken with the victim. An attorney will also work to gather any other needed information to ensure they can provide evidence that their client is being falsely accused and that they do not need to be found guilty of this crime.
An Attorney Can Help
At Cates & Garvey Law Group, we have handled a huge number of sex crime cases that involve all types of circumstances. In fact, we have a huge library and extensive amount of research materials that are devoted to challenging the accusations that involve sex crimes, including the charge of sexual abuse.
Each of the attorneys on our team has been properly trained in the forensic and clinical interviewing techniques used for proposed victims of sexual assault. Due to this unique experience, we are able to question detectives, as well as other mental health professionals who may have had contact with or interviewed the person making the claims of sexual abuse. If we find that the interview process was not handled the right way, then we can use this information to help our client. We often have the ability to provide that the detective actually “led” the victim to provide the answers desired to be able to press criminal charges.
Also, since our law firm is actively fighting any conviction from any angle, we will use a wide array of defenses, as well as challenges to the constitutional volitions that are present in any and all criminal cases. The potential for this is both diverse and numerous. One of the most common defenses that we will use is a violation of Miranda rights.
The key to handling any type of sexual abuse case is to have an attorney who understands the state law and how to build a strong defense for the situation. This is exactly what our law firm has to offer, and we are happy to provide each client with a free consultation to discuss their needs and ensure they get the quality criminal representation that they need and deserve for the serious charges that they are facing.
Our team has years of experience providing defenses for these cases and our goal is to help our clients get out of the charges or reduce the potential consequences for the crimes that the face. The fact is, the law related to this type of crime is extremely complex. As a result, each person facing this type of charge needs an experienced and capable attorney on their side. We are that law firm and our attorneys take pride in being able to provide aggressive representation for each client served.
Anyone in need of information or legal representation for a sexual abuse charge is encouraged to call us right away at 602-922-2539. The sooner you contact us for service, the better we can investigate the charge and build a defense that will help you achieve the desired outcome for the situation and in the long run help reduce the consequences for the supposed crime that you have been charged with. Our goal is to provide exceptional services for each client served.