Mesa Sex Crimes Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Clients Facing Serious Charges
Sex crimes receive some of the harshest penalties when compared to other serious crimes in Arizona. Not only can it cause permanent damage to a person’s reputation, but it can also mean many, many years in prison, especially if children were involved. Sadly, sex-related crimes are also some of the most common false allegations against an individual who may be otherwise innocent. Our legal team has assisted many clients navigating a sex crime charge and offers some possible answers to common questions about sex offense charges in Arizona.
What Constitutes a Sex Crime in Arizona?
The terms sex crime cover a long list of offenses of a sexual nature. The most commonly charged sex crimes in Arizona include sexual assault, child molestation, sexual contact with a minor, sexual conduct with a minor, indecent exposure, and public sexual indecency. Sex crimes may also be included in a conviction of “dangerous crimes against children” and result in even harsher sentences.
In Arizona, the legal age of consent is 18. Arizona makes it unlawful for anyone over the age of 18 to engage in sexual contact with a person younger than 18. Doing so is a crime of statutory rape. It is important to mention that sex crime charges are aggravated when the victim is under eighteen years of age and become a Class 2 felony if the victim is 15 years old or younger.
What Are the Possible Penalties for Those Convicted of a Sex Crime in Arizona?
Generally speaking, sex crimes are prosecuted almost as harshly as murder. The severity of the penalties depends on the specific crime as well as the age of the victim. Crimes involving a victim who is 15 years old or younger are charged under the “dangerous crimes against children” statute and thus usually result in longer sentences.
The length of the sentence may vary significantly depending on whether the victim was 12, 13, or 14, for example, resulting in prison sentences ranging from 13 to 27 years. If the crime was against a victim under the age of 12, an offender may face a life sentence without release until at least 35 years have been served. Sex crimes can vary from a Class 6 felony to a Class 2 felony.
What Type of Sex Crime Convictions Require a Registration as a Sex Crime Offender?
The state of Arizona takes sex crimes very seriously and maintains its own website with a registry of sex offenders. The information on the website is available to the public and allows anyone to access a database of sex offenders in the state. There are currently 21 criminal offenses that may require a person to register as a sex offender in the state of Arizona – some of these crimes may require a lifetime registration to the sex crime database. Some of the sex crimes that trigger a sex offender registration requirement include:
- Unlawful imprisonment of another person under 18 years of age;
- Kidnapping a victim under 18 years of age;
- Sexual abuse if the victim is under 18 years of age;
- Sexual conduct with a minor;
- Sexual assault;
- Sexual assault of a spouse;
- Molestation of a child;
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child;
- Taking a child for the purpose of prostitution;
- Child prostitution.
These are just a few examples. It is important to mention that failure to register as a sex offender after a conviction is considered a Class 4 felony in Arizona and carries its own set of penalties.
How Can an Attorney Help Defend My Rights After a Sex Crime Charge?
Sex crimes carry a huge stigma to those convicted and it is not unusual for a crime to be overcharged or include false allegations or overstatements. Given that a sex crime conviction can deeply alter one’s life and have many negative consequences, working with a sex crimes lawyer is highly recommended for those wanting a chance to fight for a better outcome.
Sex crimes allegations can be commonly used in heated divorce or custody battles by a parent hoping to gain leverage against the other parent. It is also rather common for a teenager to accuse a stepfather of committing a sex crime against them simply because they have a dislike towards the stepfather and want a way of having him removed from the home. Other times, someone may simply regret getting into a sexual situation with an alleged offender and claim that they did not give their consent.
Luckily, a well-versed Mesa sex crime attorney can conduct their own investigation of what happened and analyze every piece of evidence presented against you. He or she may also call in experts to help with your case, or rely on content posted by the victim on social media (for example) to build an argument in their client’s favor. In addition, a lawyer for criminal defense charges can argue that their client’s constitutional rights have been violated by an illegal search and seizure, and thus any evidence obtained from that search is not admissible in court.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime, contact the Naegle Law Firm, PLC as soon as possible. We will carry out an in-depth assessment of your case and put together a solid defense strategy to increase your chances of having your case dismissed or your charges de-escalated. Contact our Mesa office at (480) 378-9000 and request a consultation to see how we can help you fight back.