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Public Sexual Indecency in Arizona – A.R.S §13-1403

The State of Arizona has strict guidelines regarding what constitutes appropriate behavior between people and stiff penalties await those who break these statutes. According to A.R.S §13-1403, public sexual indecency is defined as the occurrence of a person engaging in a sexual act that includes such conduct as sexual intercourse, oral sexual contact or other sexual contact with the knowledge that it would be offensive to a person witnessing such act. Bestiality, a sexual act done with, or to an animal, is also included within the definition of this statute. These acts must also be done within the presence of another person with the defendant showing reckless judgment regarding whether a reasonable person might be offended at seeing such acts.

The age of the person exposed to the act plays a significant role in how this charge will be classified. If the alleged victim was over the age of 15, then it will be classified as a class one misdemeanor. If they were under the age of 15, then the charges can be elevated to a Class 5 felony.


Punishment for Public Sexual Indecency

The possible penalties faced by anyone charged with this crime will vary according to the level of classification. Those with a class one misdemeanor conviction can be penalized with the following punishments:

  • Probation with zero to six months in jail
  • $2500 fine with 84% surcharges imposed
  • Up to three years of probation, including classes and counseling

A first-offense class five felony conviction for public sexual indecency in Arizona carries the following penalties:

  • Probation with zero days to one year of jail time
  • Possible sentence of 6 months to two and one-half years in prison custody

Those with prior historical allegeable prior felony convictions face extended sentences according to the following schedule:

  • One prior felony conviction is penalized with one to three and three-quarters years in jail
  • Two prior felony convictions are penalized with three to seven and one-half years in jail

Defenses for Sexual Indecency Charges

The most effective way to defend a sexual indecency charge is to assert that the defendant was not acting with reckless disregard to the offense of others and that a reasonable person might expect to witness a sexual act in the public area. An example of this would be a defendant who was charged with a sexual act while inside of a sexually-oriented business or other area defined as “adults only”. In this instance, we could argue that a reasonable person might expect to see others engaged in a sexual act due to the nature of the business and any associated merchandise or services offered within the building.

We can also further investigate the use of the word “reckless” in this statute. If the defendant had taken the appropriate actions to avoid being seen by others in a public space, then the charges can be disproved. Another example of this would be if someone had gone to a hidden corner of a room or was engaged in a sexual act while in a locked car that was parked in a distant parking area. If we can prove that a police officer acted unreasonably by sneaking up on a person who had taken the appropriate measures to avoid acting in a reckless manner, then we have an effective defense strategy.

At DM Cantor, we also investigate a case from multiple angles and often find mistakes made in the prosecution’s investigation that can be used to defend our clients and in some cases have the charges lessened or dropped. In Arizona, incriminatory statements are only valid as evidence if it was given voluntarily by the defendant. Even if you made a confession, it may not be valid if your Miranda rights were not upheld, or if you were denied access to legal counsel at any time during the investigation.

If you have been charged with public sexual indecency in Arizona, then it is important to hire a skilled lawyer who knows how to defend you from every angle. Contact DM Cantor by clicking here for our confidential online form or by calling us at (602) 307-0808 so we can start your free initial consultation today.

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