Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most serious and harshly punished of all crimes in Arizona are sex crimes. You could face serious felony charges even for a minor sex offense even if you didn’t cause an injury to the victim. Sex offenses vary from minor crimes like indecent exposure to more severe crimes like rape or child molestation. Most sex offenses are charged as felonies. If found guilty in Phoenix, AZ, possible penalties include a prison sentence, fines, and a sex offender registration.

Having a sex offenses conviction lingering in your criminal record could be detrimental to your life. This is because most people are reluctant to associate with sex offenders. Fighting sex crime charges requires guidance from a competent sex defense attorney. At Arizona Sex Defense Attorney, we will review your case and guide you through the legal process to ensure a favorable outcome in your case.

Sex crimes are serious offenses. The criminal law of Arizona seeks to punish individuals convicted for crimes of this nature severely. If you face charges or are under investigation for a sex crime, you may have many questions about the nature of your charges and the possible consequences. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Should you learn that you are under investigation or a warrant to arrest you for a sex crime, you need to contact a sex defense attorney. Sex crimes are investigated thoroughly, and a conviction could take a toll on your life. Therefore, it is crucial to navigating through the complicated process with competent legal guidance. Many sex crimes are investigated purely on allegations. Consequently, you should avoid speaking with investigators without your attorney's presence. The information you provide could be used to incriminate you further.

The penalties you face after a conviction for a sex crime are severe. However, the penalties vary based on the nature and severity of the crime you committed. Some of the most common penalties you face include:

  • An extensive prison sentence. Most sex crimes warrant a mandatory prison sentence that could range from a few years to twenty-five years. Sometimes, sex crimes are charged alongside others. Therefore, the court could increase your sentence.
  • Hefty fines. If you are convicted of a sex crime in Phoenix, you may be required to pay court fines not exceeding $5,000. However, if the sex crime you are convicted for involves a minor, the court could impose a fine of $10,000.
  • Probation. Most sex crimes are charged as felonies in Arizona. Sometimes, the court could impose a probation sentence as an alternative to jail time. In Arizona, felony probation lasts for a period of up to five years. While on felony probation, the court requires you to adhere to some conditions, such as making regular check-ins with your probation officer. Also, the court may issue a protective order requiring you to stay away from all individuals involved in the case.

The laws of Arizona on sex crimes are complicated. The way you handle your case from the arrest will significantly impact the outcome of your case. Some of the mistakes you need to avoid when you are under investigation for a sex crime include:

  • Avoid the Assumption that your case will end in a conviction. Most sex crimes are based on mere allegations and lack solid evidence to incriminate you. Therefore, assuming that you will be convicted may affect your attitude towards seeking your case's best outcome.
  • Avoid speaking with the police without an attorney. Sex crimes are serious crimes, and investigators will do their best to secure evidence against you. Since evidence is not always available, the police officers could attempt to coerce you into self-incrimination. 
  • Do not ignore or overlook possible defenses. A conviction for a sex offense attracts severe legal penalties. Therefore, it is crucial to explore all available lines of defense. Even the slightest piece of evidence could prevent the prosecution from meeting the burden of proof for your case.
  • Trying to handle the case on your own. Seeking legal guidance when you face charges for a sex crime is crucial. A competent attorney's input could make a difference between spending the rest of your life in prison and serving a few years. Therefore, you should never try to handle a sex offense case on your own.

Different sex crimes have different elements that the prosecutor needs to prove before you face a conviction. The prosecutor presents all the evidence collected against you in an attempt to establish the elements. Proving the elements of a sex crime is easier when there are images or witnesses to the crime. If the prosecutor has the photos such as those of child pornography, it can be challenging to dispute the evidence. However, they will need to establish their position and involvement in the activity.

When prosecutors handle sex crimes in Arizona, they tend to move forward with a high degree of aggressiveness. This means that they will use the slightest piece of information to secure a conviction. Most allegations of sexual abuse, assault, or rape lack physical evidence and mostly rely on victim testimony or mere allegations. Having a competent attorney by your side will help scrutinize any statement or evidence presented by the prosecution. If there is reasonable doubt in your case, you may have a chance to beat the charges.

In Arizona, sexual assault is an event where you knowingly and intentionally engage in sexual intercourse or oral sex without consent. Sexual assault in Arizona can include any of the following acts:

  • Sexual penetration of the vagina or anus using a body part
  • Oral sex carried out by use of force, fear, or intimidation

A conviction for sexual assault resulted in a lengthy prison sentence when the victim of your actions was a child under age fifteen. A conviction for sexual assault is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 14 years for a first offense,21 years for a second offense, and twenty-eight years for a third offense. Also, all individuals convicted of sexual assault are required to register as sex offenders.

On the other hand, sexual abuse is indirect or direct touching or fondling another person's body part without their consent. It is crucial to understand that consent cannot be an issue in cases involving minors. The penalties of sexual abuse vary based on the class of felony you are facing. When you are convicted for sexual abuse of a child below fifteen years, your charges will be aggravated to a level three felony.

Other aggravating factors in a sexual abuse case may include your prior criminal offenses. Even though there could be an overlap between sexual assault and abuse, the court requires that the prosecutor establish each crime's specific elements before you face a conviction.

Like other crimes, sex crimes are processed by law enforcement and tried in courts within the jurisdiction the crime occurred. A sex crime that occurs in federal property or jurisdiction is tried in federal court. The United States constitution gives more power to federal courts as compared to state courts. Sex crimes can be tried in both federal and state courts. Depending on the severity of the crime, a case could start in federal court and end in a state court.

Some sex-related crimes that are often tried in federal court include:

  • Buying or selling minors with the intention of sexual exploitation
  • Distribution and possession of child pornography
  • Online solicitation of a minor conducted across state lines
  • Aggravated rape

Facing a federal sex crime charge is more complicated than in a local court. This is because more time and expertise are put into federal cases. Also, a conviction for a federal crime will result in more severe punishment.

In Arizona, rape is a serious crime punishable by a prison sentence of up to fourteen years with no possibility of an early release. Spousal rape occurs when you have sexual intercourse with a domestic partner or spouse without their consent. You could be charged with marital rape regardless of whether you live with the alleged victim or not.

In the recent past, spousal rape was charged as the lowest form of a felony in Arizona. However, things have changed, and the crime is viewed the same as other forms of rape. In a rape case investigation, there are specific rules designed to protect the alleged victim. Therefore, if you face these charges, you mustn't say anything to investigators until you have consulted a competent sex defense attorney.

A conviction for rape attracts a sentence of not less than five years. If you used a rape drug to carry out the crime, your prison sentence increases by three years. Sometimes, domestic issues could push your spouse to fabricate spousal rape allegations. Therefore, if you have been wrongly accused, you can build a defense to your case. Common defenses to marital rape may include false claims and consent.

Several different behaviors constitute sex crimes in Arizona. Some of the most common sex crimes you can be charged with include:

  • Sexual assault. Sexual assault intentionally in oral sex or sexual intercourse without consent from the other person. Sexual assault is more serious when the victim is under fifteen years.
  • Luring a minor for sexual exploitation. You violate Arizona Statues 13-3554 lures another person into sex with knowledge of their age.
  • Sexual conduct with a minor. Arizona sex laws define sexual behavior with a minor as intentional sexual intercourse.
  • Public sexual indecency. You can be arrested and charged with public sexual indecency when you engage in the act of sexual contact in front of another person, and they are offended by your actions.
  • Indecent exposure. Exposing your genitalia, breasts, or anus in another person's presence will attract charges for indecent exposure in Arizona.
  • You could face voyeurism if you invade another person's privacy with the intention of sexual stimulation.     

In Arizona, anyone who faces a conviction for a sex offense must register as a sex offender. The sex offender registry is public. Therefore, being a sex offender will limit your ability to secure employment or find a place to live. When you want to visit another state, you must update your details on the sex offender registry. There are three tiers of sex offenses categorized by the severity of the crime. Each level specifies a different length of registration:

  • Tier 1 sex offenses require you to remain on the sex offender registry for fifteen years. The sex offenses for this tier could be both felonies and misdemeanors. For the tire one sex offender registration, you must verify your registration each year.
  • Tier 2 offenses attract a sex offender registration status for twenty-five years with a semiannual verification. Offenses under tire two sex offender registration are non-violent sex offenses involving minors.
  • Tire 3 is set out for the most severe sex crimes. A conviction for a tire 3 attracts a lifetime sex offender registration quarterly. Offenses under tier include violent sexual acts and crimes involving young children.

Child sex crimes involve sexual misconduct with a child. In Arizona, these crimes often result in severe consequences. Even when you did not know that the alleged victim was a minor, your arrest and conviction will significantly affect your life. Some of the offenses that constitute child sex crimes include:

  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor 

Under ARS13-3552, you could face charges for sexual exploitation of a minor if you knowingly persuade, entice or coerce a minor to engage in an exhibition or sexual conduct to produce visual depiction. Child pornography is a class two felony. The penalties you face after a conviction will vary based on the age of the minor. 

For minors between the age of fifteen and seventeen, you will face a prison sentence of up to twelve years. Child pornography for minors under fifteen years attracts a sentence of up to twenty-four years. If child pornography is depicted on a movie or live show, you will be sentenced according to ARS 13-706 on dangerous crimes against children.

  • Sexual Conduct with a Child

You violate ARS 13-1405 when you knowingly or intentionally engage in sexual intercourse or oral sex with an individual below eighteen years. Sexual conduct with a minor is one of the most severe crimes that you could be charged with within Arizona. Statutory rape can be charged as a class six or class two misdemeanor depending on the minor's age. If you or your loved one faces criminal charges for sexual conduct with a minor, you will require competent legal guidance and representation.

  • Child Molestation 

Child molestation is a crime that involves intentionally engaging in sexual contact with a child below 15 years. For this statue, sexual contact could be in the form of fondling or contact with the genitals. If penetration occurs, you could be charged with sexual conduct with a minor instead of molestation. Child molestation is a class 2 felony punishable by a 35 years prison sentence. Additionally, you will have to register as a sex offender for a lifetime.

Even though some sex crime allegations arise from accidental or unintentional conduct, an arrest or conviction for a sex crime in Arizona has serious repercussions. Besides the legal penalties you face after a conviction, sex crime allegations could result in the following consequences:

  1. Damage to your business and personal relationships. Most people are reluctant to be involved with registered sex offenders. Even if you are accused and not convicted, people around you could change how they relate. A sex crime conviction can wreck your family relationships. Also, a felony probation officer may restrict contact with your family.
  2. Ineligibility to pursue specific jobs. Potential employers will always do a background check on you when you apply for a position. It is common to be denied a job based on a sex crime conviction or sex offender registration.
  3. You could lose the opportunity to pursue an education in certain schools. People are always on alert for sex offenders since the records are public. Learning that there is a sex offender in an institution could create unnecessary panic in other individuals. Therefore, a school may deny your application for these crimes.

If you or your loved one is accused of engaging in illegal sexual acts, you will require a solid defense to help you avoid these life-changing consequences.

Some sex crime allegations are fabricated or exaggerated. False accusations can come from an angry or bitter person. Fortunately, not all arrests and charges for sex crimes result in a conviction. You can build a strong defense for your case with the following defense strategies:

  1. Insufficient evidence. Most sex crimes are based on the victim's testimony. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime before you face a conviction. Where physical evidence to tie you to the crime is insufficient, you could avoid a conviction.
  2. Mistaken identity. Most sex crimes take place in secluded places or the night. In this case, the victim may be too scared to identify the criminal correctly. Commonly, a case of mistaken identity could cause you to be wrongfully charged for the crime. 
  3. False accusations. Sex crimes are a common ground for false accusations. A person who could be driven by anger or remorse could decide to ruin your life by bringing on these charges. With no other evidence to support the case, you could argue that you were falsely accused.
  4. Consent. Sometimes you could engage in sexual activity with someone, and then they later accuse you of committing a crime. If you believe or had a reason to think that the other person gave their consent to engage in the act, you can build your defense of the consent argument. However, it is crucial to understand that an individual below eighteen years cannot legally consent to sexual activity.

Yes. In some cases, you can apply to terminate your sex offender registration in Arizona. However, it would be best if you satisfied various conditions, including completion of probation. Before your name and information are removed from the sex offender registry, your application must be approved by the court.

Find a Sex Defense Attorney Near Me

Sex crimes result in severe charges. In Arizona, sex crimes are different from other offenses since they undergo a thorough investigation. These offenses don't have a statute of limitations; hence, you could be charged even if many years have passed since the alleged incident occurred.

Facing charges for a serious sex crime could result in serving a long prison sentence or paying hefty fines. Fortunately, not all arrests for sex crimes will result in a conviction. With help from your attorney, you can build a strong defense against these charges.

If you or your loved one is facing sex crime charges in Phoenix, AZ, you will require guidance and representation from an aggressive legal team. At Arizona Sex Defense Attorney, we will work hard to build a defense and help you navigate the case for the best possible outcome. Contact us today at 602-922-3272.

Protect Your Future and

Contact an Arizona
Sex Defense Attorney Today

Nobody deserves to face extreme prejudice for facing sex offense charges, primarily because he/she may not even be guilty of the offense. However, members of society may sideline you and prevent you from chasing your goals based on a sex offense conviction. If you want to avoid the persistent consequences of conviction as a sex offender, you want to work with a qualified defense attorney with years of experience in the field.

We have perfected our craft at Arizona Sex Defense Attorney, so you can expect to receive the best legal representation before and during the trial. Our track record attests to our high-quality service delivery, along with numerous testimonials from clients we have worked with. You do not have to deal with sex crime accusations in Phoenix, Arizona alone. Reach us today for more information on sex defense services at 602-922-3272.