Call us today

602-551-8092

Sexual Assault

Any unwanted sexual contact is considered sexual assault. It happens in every community, and it affects people of all ages and genders. This crime is linked against the will of the other person with words and acts of a sexual nature. It ranges from sexual assault to rape in a continuum, which can involve everything from internet stalking to unwanted sexual contact. The law prohibits sexual assault, and it's generally a felony. Sexual activity is only legal when both sides consent. If you face charges for sexual assault, reach out to the Phoenix Criminal Attorney. We have dealt with sex crime cases and have success in most of the cases we handle. Contact us immediately to have your freedom protected in and out of the courtroom.

Sexual Assault Definition: Statute ARS 13-1406

According to law section ARS 13-1406, an individual is said to commit sexual assault by purposely or intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual intercourse with any individual without their permission. In simple terms, to be sexually assaulted, the sex has to be virginal, oral, or anal sex. If the sexual act does not fall under those forms, then it is termed as sexual abuse.

Most states commonly refer to sexual assault as rape, but in Arizona, the law does not recognize rape anymore. The statute only defines sexual assault to all people engaging in sexual activity regardless of age. In such cases, the charges are a class 2 felony. Nonetheless, sexual assault involving a minor under the age of 15 is prosecuted based on the dangerous standards known as dangerous crimes against children.

When we talk of "no consent," it means not having the permission of the other party. Often, there are clear signs of consent, but there are situations that are not as obvious. There are circumstances under the law where an individual is considered incapacitated. In short, that person cannot give legal consent. For instance, someone who is always under the influence cannot give consent. Likewise, any person less than 18 years old cannot provide legal consent.

Forms Of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a general term describing unwanted types of sexual interaction. A lack of consent is the uniting element between all those types. Many societal, cultural, and personal factors surrounding this crime may make it unclear to understand. Below is a breakdown of various kinds of sexual assault and their definitions.

Rape: Rape is an act of physical force where the victim is unable to mentally or physically consent to sex. It does not necessarily have to be physically forced, and it can also involve non-violence. If a person is threatened with force or coerced, it is still rape, a type of sexual assault.

Intoxicated Sexual assault: Involuntary intoxication happens when a person puts drugs in another person's drink to compromise consent. While alcohol is the most commonly used substance to facilitate sexual assault, recreational and prescribed medications are also used. Substances prevent an individual from resisting making it easier for the perpetrator to commit the crime.

Groping: Groping is unpleasant fondling and touching of someone else's private parts, including genitals, breasts, thighs, and butt. From a legal perspective, this is a form of sexual assault that fall under class 2 felony.

Sexual Coercion: Sexual coercion occurs when an individual makes you feel compelled to agree to sex by either using force, guilt, or intimidation. This form of sexual assault is best explained as a range in which the person is verbally pestering you to have contact with them.

Sexual Harassment: This is unwelcome sexual advances, including requests for sexual favors and verbal harassment of a sexual nature. It creates a hostile environment for learning and working. Though the crime is not limited to the learning and working environment, it also happens in public places in the form of stalking, groping, and genitals exposure.

Stalking: Stalking refers to a repeated form of harassment, making you uncomfortable and fearful. The behavior includes someone following you at specific locations or sending you unwanted emails and messages. The person also can threaten you, your family members, or friends.

Incest: This is unwanted sexual activity between family members. It usually happens between relatives who are first cousins or related by blood. The most common incest occurs between a minor and an older sibling. This form of sexual assault goes unreported because of the complicated relationship between family members.

Sexual Assault Criminal Penalties

Sexual assault is one of the most severe crimes that you can be charged with. The punishment varies based on the offender's criminal history, whether or not the offender knew of the physical harm, and the victim's age. The potential penalties are so lengthy and life-threatening, leading to the nickname "life-enders." The crime is a class 2 felony and carries the following serious consequences:

  • The first time offenders get a penalty minimum of five and one-quarter years in prison, for presumptive is seven years, and for incarceration, it is fourteen years maximum.

  • When the offender has one year of a historical prior felony conviction, the penalty range is increased to a minimum of seven years. For possible, it is ten and a half years and, for incarceration, is twenty-one years in prison.

  • When the offender has more than two years of historical prior felony convictions, the minimum prison time is fourteen years, for presumptive is fifteen and three-quarters years, and the maximum jail time is twenty-eight years.

  • If the offender was involved in sexual assault knowingly or intentionally, hence inflicting bodily injury, the sentence ranges from twenty-five years to life imprisonment. Moreover, the offender must serve the entire time before they are released.

Note that there are cases where drugs or any kind of intoxication is used in committing the offense. This leads to additional jail time of three years to the minimum, presumptive, and the maximum punishments, respectively.

Sexual assault involving a minor who is younger than 15years is a Dangerous Crime Against Children. The offense carries the following penalty for every conviction:

  • First-time offender is sentenced in prison for a minimum of thirteen years, for presumptive it takes twenty years of imprisonment, and maximum incarceration takes twenty-seven years.

  • If the offender had a one-year prior felony conviction, the range of sentence rises to a minimum of twenty-three years, presumptive of thirty years, and a maximum of thirty-seven years imprisonment.

  • In case the victim was under twelve years, and the offender faces a penalty to a term of incarceration of thirty-five years to life. The judge may also impose a sentence of thirteen years minimum, for presumptive twenty years, and a maximum of twenty-seven years incarceration.

Note that since these offenses affect the minors, the defendants must serve their entire prison time before a release. If the defendant is convicted of two counts, they must be run consecutive to each other. Moreover, regardless of the victim's age, sexual assault penalties require the convict to register as a sex offender for life. After registration, the accused has to undergo numerous testing procedures with the consent of the probation officer. If not, he or she will not be allowed to interact with children under the age of eighteen, which includes their children.

Possible Defenses For Sexual Assault

The moment you reach out to Phoenix Criminal Attorney with a sexual assault case, we talk with you about the situation and learn your relationship with the victim. We also get to know the allegations against you and your best options for success. Afterward, we look into the police report, DNA evidence, witness testimony, and psychological histories to help us build a strong defense for your case. We also look at the victim's motive to lie and whether the declarations are consistent. Our attorneys will explore every angle to exploit any weaknesses in the case to gain the most favorable result.

Every prosecution has a different and unique way when dealing with sex crimes. However, here are common defenses to sexual assault;

The consent defense: This defense is actively used if the accused and the victim know each other before conducting it. The crime could be considered consensual if both had a good relationship. Consent simply means that the other person agreed to sexual conduct. Remember, the alleged victim must be over 18 years to give consent legally.

Mistaken identity: Often, if a stranger sexually assaulted the victims, the accused could be a mistaken identity. The police may make a line-up or photo to have the individual pick out the perpetrator. This practice could be intentional or unintentional by the officers. In either case, it may be used as a defense to claim that the victim made a guesswork investigation.

A motive to make false accusations: Sometimes, the victim may be promised a position or a gift to accuse you falsely. Your attorney has to take a look at why the alleged victim's ill motives are to make a false accusation.

It never happened: This defense means that the crime did not occur. The argument will only work when there is very weak evidence to show that the victim was assaulted.

Illegal investigations: A defendant will only be convicted where the police have gathered strong evidence. However, if that evidence was collected in an unlawful search and seizure, or the police did not follow the proper procedure, the evidence may be excluded from the trial.

Mental health issues: The attorney may argue that the defendant was not in control of their actions due to their mental health. The attorney has to prove the insanity of the defendant for the judge to order a mental health treatment as part of the sentencing.

Involuntary intoxication: In some cases, the defendant might have been drugged, so he or she could not control his or her conduct. With this argument, the sentencing in the charges can be reduced.

No sexual gratification: If the defendant did not touch any sexual part of the other person to gratify sexual desire, the defense is valid. For example, the offender touched someone's thighs in an attempt to block her from a shot during sports. The touching was not done for sexual satisfaction, but as a consequence of sport participation. Hence, you may not be convicted of sexual assault.

Coercion: The defendant might have committed the crime under threat of harm. Here, the attorney should be able to challenge the evidence by claiming the defendant was forced to commit the conduct. For instance, they were being held at gunpoint and told to assault someone.

These common defenses can be difficult to prove even with compelling evidence. It is crucial to have an attorney fighting for you who knows how to maneuver and win the sexual assault cases.

What The Prosecutor Must Prove In A Sexual Assault Case

Sexual assault is a serious felony, and if convicted, the penalty can severely affect the rest of your life. The prosecutor must collect a deal of evidence to convince the judge that the accused is guilty of the crime at hand. The offenders are not determined criminals until sufficient evidence is tabled to prove they are guilty.

In a criminal justice system, there are several elements of a crime. When all incorporated, they determine the criminal intent. An offender could not be convicted of sexual assault if the conduct occurred before a law was enacted. There must be a law to determine punishment.

The prosecutor presents the court with evidence that explains all the elements of sexual assault. According to the statute annotated section 13-1406, an individual commits sexual assault crime by meeting the following statutory elements:

  • The defendant committed the crime knowingly or intentionally. The defendant must have been on a sober mind to have committed the crime. Meaning he or she knew and intended to commit the crime.

  • The defendant engaged in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with the victim. Oral sex contact includes orally touching the vulva, anus, or penis. Sexual intercourse involves penetration of the penis into any part of the body, including vagina or anus. In this case, there must be evidence of the slightest penis insertion.

  • The defendant acted without the consent of the victim. The issue of consent is usually disputed, leaving the jury to decide after hearing all facts. Sometimes in the sexual assault cases, the victim and the offender have a prior relationship, including marriage, where consensual sexual activity is involved. As a result of familiarity with one another, the other party may have interpreted the actions as clues suggesting sexual consent.

  • The victim must be someone else not related to the defendant. This way, the prosecutor would have an easy time proving the criminal charges against the defendant.

The prosecutor must prove all the elements as mentioned above of statute beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain the defendant's conviction. The elements also include the men rea and actus reus. Otherwise, if they fail to prove one of them, the accused will be acquitted.

Related Crimes

In Arizona, sex offenses include several sex-related crimes, and each has its punishment guideline. Penalties for sexual assault crime is generally subject to sentencing enhancements. The enhancements involve increased jail time penalties based on the victim's age, the defendant's personal and criminal history, and the dates the crime was conducted. Here are other sex crimes related to sexual assault:

ARS 13-1404 - The statute refers to sexual abuse that is from any sexual activity with an individual who is over 15 years. For the cases where the victim is under 15 years, the charges are of inappropriate contact only limited to breasts.

ARS 13-1402 - The statute refers to indecent exposure of genitalia or breasts in another person's presence. It does not necessarily involve the other person seeing as long as it was in public. The charges would be a misdemeanor if the victim were 15 years and above. If the victim was under 15 years, the charges could aggravate a class 6 felony.

ARS 13-1410 - This is child molestation, where the offender is accused of engaging in sexual contact with a minor. The conduct involves any sexually-motivated action like touching or fondling, either direct or otherwise. The offender faces prison terms ranging from 10 years for each count or longer, depending on each count.

ARS 13-1405 - This is sexual contact with a child where an adult engages in sexual activity with an underage. The charges for this crime are in a class 6 felony if the victim is 15 to 17. For the under 12 years, the punishment is more severe.

ARS 13- 3553 - The statute refers to the sexual exploitation of a minor. The charges for this crime is known as child pornography charges. Any offender suspected of knowingly possessing, recording, duplicating, or distributing child pornography faces pressing charges against a minor. Child pornography convictions result in mandatory sentences of a hundred years.

Find A Phoenix Criminal Attorney Near Me

If you or your loved one have been charged with sexual assault, reach out to us. We will pursue the most favorable outcome and ensure that you are fully released of every development in your case. Do not settle for less; the penalties for sexual assault can significantly affect your future. Call the Phoenix Criminal Attorney at 602-551-8092 today. We are always available to take your call.

Map

Contact Us Today

Icon Hour

Hours of Operation

Mon-Fri: 8am-8am

Saturday: 8am-8am

Sunday: 8am-8am

Contact us today by calling 602-551-8092

We will give you a free, no-obligation consultation and can give immediate attention to your family law legal needs.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Jn Popup

Charged With a Crime?

Call us now to assess your charges and explain the difference a criminal attorney can make on your case