If you are facing allegations of being involved in a sexual act with a minor, it’s imperative to get effective legal support on your side as soon as possible. These charges are serious and can have far-reaching consequences on your life. If you are convicted of this offense, not only could you face a lengthy prison sentence, but you could also be required to register as a sex offender. This legal obligation means your personal and conviction information is accessible to the public, which could result in developing a social stigma that might affect your relationships with others in the community.
What Is Sexual Conduct with a Minor?
Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1405 lists the elements for the offense of sexual conduct with a minor. It states that a person commits this crime when they participate in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with someone under 18 years of age. For the act to be a violation of this law, it must be committed knowingly or intentionally.
How Are Oral Sexual Contact and Sexual Intercourse Defined?
Under ARS 13-1401, oral sexual contact occurs when a person puts their mouth on someone else’s penis, vulval, or anus.
That same statute defines sexual intercourse as penetrating the penis, vulva, or anus with any part of the body or with an object.
When a prosecutor is trying to land a conviction, they must prove that you violated every element of the offense and that your alleged actions met the legal definitions. An experienced lawyer will know how to spot weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and challenge the accusations made against you.
What Are the Potential Punishments for Sexual Conduct with a Minor?
The penalties for sexual conduct with a minor are harsh, and they vary depending on the age of the alleged victim. If the minor was 14 years of age or younger at the time of the alleged incident, the offense is considered a dangerous crime against children, and the judge must impose specific prison sentences according to the circumstances.
The potential consequences for a sexual conduct with a minor conviction could include the following:
- If the minor was between 15 and 17 years of age:
- Class 6 felony
- Up to 1 year in jail or up to 2 years in prison
- Sex offender registry for life
- If the child was between 12 and 14 years of age:
- Class 2 felony
- Up to 27 years in prison
- Registration as a sex offender for life
- If the alleged victim was under 12 years of age:
- Class 2 felony
- Up to life in prison
- Lifetime registration as a sex offender
Are There Defenses for This Type of Charge?
In a sexual conduct with a minor case, you might be the victim of false allegations, or you might have been misidentified as the alleged perpetrator. Several defenses can be brought up in this type of matter, and a skilled attorney will thoroughly review the facts of the case and build a defense strategy to fight the accusations.
However, it is not a defense if the minor gave consent for the sexual act. For instance, in October of 2019, a Mesa man was charged with this offense after allegedly exchanging explicit images and having sex with a 12-year-old boy whom he met on the app “Grindr.” The boy informed the man of his age and would sneak out at night to meet up with him for sex. Because this allegedly happened numerous times, the man is facing multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor. If convicted of each count, his prison sentence could be “stacked,” meaning the terms for each offense will be added together and ran consecutively.
Reach Out to Naegle Law Firm Today
Being charged with sexual conduct with a minor can be a frightening experience, as you might not be familiar with the criminal justice process and you might worry about the effects of a conviction on your life. At Naegle Law Firm, our lawyer will be with you every step of the way, providing skilled legal guidance and answers to your questions. Backed by over 13 years of experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the law and have achieved case dismissals and not guilty verdicts for past clients. We will work toward obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.
For the aggressive defense you need in Mesa, call us at (480) 378-9000 or schedule a free consultation online.