What Can Be Considered a Sexual Offense in Arizona?

, by Bruce Blumberg

Being accused of a sex crime typically comes with a great deal of stigma, even if the person is later acquitted or the charges are dropped. Many people do not understand that there is a huge difference between being charged with a crime and being convicted. If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime in Arizona, it’s important to contact an experienced Phoenix sex crimes attorney who can help.

Sex Crimes Can Be Misdemeanors or Felonies

Sex crimes in Arizona may be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the crime and circumstances. Misdemeanors range from Class 1 to Class 3. These would be sex crimes like “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor;” “Indecent Exposure,” involving an adult victim, and “Public Sexual Indecency,” that do not carry a prison sentence. They could have jail time imposed, however. Felony offenses range from Class 1 (Murder is the only class 1 felony), to Class 6, with Class 6 being the least serious.

Sex crimes that are considered “dangerous crimes against children,” are those committed against a minor under the age of 15. They carry severe penalties and result in lengthy sentences.  Each count of Sex Conduct Against a Minor under the age of 15 which results in a conviction carries a mandatory sentence of 13-20-27 years. Each count must run consecutive to any other crime committed at any other time, including the other counts. Each count of Molestation of a Child carries a mandatory sentence of 10-17-24 years in prison. These are “calendar” years, or day for day without early release.  An alleged victim under 12 becomes even more ominous.

Types of Sexual Offenses in Arizona

Under the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), Title 13, Criminal Code, Chapter 14, there are six primary sexual offenses discussed. These are:

Public Sexual Indecency

The crime of public sexual indecency is when someone engages in the following behavior with another consenting adult, without caring whether or not someone else would be present and upset by it:

  • Having sexual intercourse

  • Having oral sexual contact

  • Touching someone else’s private parts or causing another person to do it

This is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor. If it involves someone under the age of 15, it is upgraded to a Class 5 felony.

Indecent Exposure

This is when someone exposes their private parts, which can include a woman’s breast, when others are around. Some common examples include mooning someone or flashing them. It’s a Class 1 misdemeanor, except when minors are involved, where it becomes a Class 6 felony.

Sexual Conduct with a Minor

This is when someone engages in sexual intercourse or has oral sexual contact with someone under the age of 18. If it is with a minor who is 15 years of age or older, it will be a Class 6 felony. If the minor is under 15, it will become a serious Class 2 felony and dangerous crime against children.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves sexual contact with someone who is 15 years of age or older, without consent, or there is contact with a female’s breast who is under 15 years old. In these cases, it would be a Class 5 felony. Sexual contact with a victim under 15 years old is upgraded to a Class 3 felony.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a more serious offense than sexual abuse. This is oral sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. It is a Class 2 felony, regardless of age.

Child Molestation

Child molestation covers someone who engages, or causes another person to engage, in sexual contact with a minor (except touching the female breast) who is under the age of 15. This does not have to be skin to skin contact either. This is a very serious offense and will be charged as a Class 2 felony.

Contact an Arizona Sex Crimes Attorney Today

If you need assistance defending a sexual offense charge, or any other criminal charges, contact Blumberg & Associates today at 602-277-6180 to schedule an initial consultation.