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Sexual Abuse Charges in Arizona – A.R.S. § 13-1404

For anyone visiting or residing in Arizona, A.R.S. § 13-1404 stipulates that sexual abuse may be charged if a person has sexual contact of a specific nature with anyone who is over the age of 15 and who has not provided that person with consent. In these cases, sexual contact is defined as any type of fondling, touching or manipulation of a person’s breasts, genitalia or anus. These charges can also be filed if a person was forced to touch these areas against their will on the defendant. Often, these cases are referred to as “fondling”.

In situations where the alleged victim was under the age of 15, these charges may apply if only the breasts of a female were fondled or manipulated. If any other area of alleged victim’s genitalia or anus were involved, then the charges will be escalated to sexual conduct with a child.

 

Penalties for Sex Abuse Charges

The age of the victim at the time of the alleged crime plays a significant role in the penalties that can be incurred. If the victim was under 15 when the sex abuse occurred, then this crime will be classified as a class three felony. Due to the age of the victim, this will also be classified as one of the Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC). The punishments for this start at a minimum of one and one-half years in prison and extend to a maximum of seven and one-half years incarceration. As with all DCAC classified crimes, anyone who is convicted must serve 100% of their sentence before they can be released.

In cases where the victim was over 15, DCAC charges will not apply. However, this conviction will still entail the following penalties associated with being a class five felony:

  • Probation up to one-year jail sentence, or;
  • Six months to two years prison sentence
  • Prison time extension to three and three-quarter years for one allegeable historical prior felony conviction
  • Prison time extension to seven and one-half years for two or more allegeable historical prior felony convictions

Even though this crime does not carry the same harsh penalties as molestation charges or a conviction of sexual conduct with a minor, it still falls under the list of crimes that require those convicted to register as a sex offender if the victim was under the age of 18. This mandate will include lifetime registration for anyone who is convicted of sexual abuse in Arizona.

 

Defenses for Sexual Abuse Charges

According to A.R.S. §13-1407, the Defenses Statute, when a victim is between 15 – 17 years of age we can use the defense that the defendant was unable to identify the victim as an actual minor and the alleged victim consented to be touched in a sexual manner. This is because anyone under the age of 18, according to the state of Arizona, is not capable of providing expressed consent for sexual touching. However, if the defendant truly believed he was engaged in a sex act with someone over 18, then they did not knowingly fondle without consent. This is a situation that commonly occurs when a person under 18 lies to the defendant and falsely claims to be of legal age to provide consent. Another instance where we can successfully defend someone accused of this charge is when less than two years of an age difference exists between the defendant and the victim. For example, a young couple in which the defendant is 19 and the alleged victim is 17 may fall within the range of legal consent.

Regardless of the victim’s age, A.R.S. §13-1407 also makes it clear that accidental touching cannot be charged as sexual abuse. This defense can be used to protect anyone who may have inadvertently made contact with another person’s sexual anatomy without doing so with intention.

In some cases, the charges may result from false allegations made from an angry ex-spouse or child. In these instances, it is important for us to be able to examine all evidence, statements and to cross-examine witnesses to find obvious untruths that have been told.

If you are facing sex abuse charges, then you must have an experienced team of lawyers at your side who understand the nuances of Arizona laws. For a free initial confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor at 602-307-0808, or you can click here to fill out our confidential  online form that will alert us to your case now.

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