Smart & Aggressive
attorneys defending you.
click for a free consultation

A Comprehensive Guide to Sex Crimes in Arizona

Posted on August 21, 2023 in Sex Crimes

Navigating the legal landscape that surrounds sex crime cases in Arizona can be made easier with this Comprehensive Guide to Sex Crimes. In this guide, you will receive valuable information about the different types of sex crimes in Arizona, the potential sentences and penalties associated with sex crime convictions, and what to expect from the criminal justice system as a defendant. 

Note that this is general information and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, contact a sex crimes defense attorney at AZ Defenders at (480) 680-7217.

Understanding Different Types of Sex Crimes in Arizona 

The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) list and define many different types of sex crimes. Many types of acts can constitute sexual offenses under state law, resulting in criminal charges being filed against a suspect by a prosecutor. Sex crime charges in Arizona include:

  • Prostitution (ARS § 13-3214): engaging in, agreeing to or offering to engage in sexual conduct with someone else in exchange for a fee or another valuable.
  • Child pornography/sexual exploitation of a minor (ARS § 13-3553): knowingly recording, filming, photographing, developing, duplicating, distributing, transporting, exhibiting, receiving, selling, purchasing, electronically transmitting, possessing or exchanging any visual depiction in which a minor is engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct.
  • Indecent exposure (ARS § 13-1402): exposing the genitals, anus, or areola or nipple of the breast when another person is present and the defendant is reckless in whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.
  • Public sexual indecency (ARS § 13-1403): intentionally or knowingly engaging in an act of sexual contact (including oral sexual contact, sexual intercourse or bestiality) if another person is present and the defendant is reckless about whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.
  • Sexual abuse (ARS § 13-1404): intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact with a person who is 15 or older without consent of that person.
  • Sexual conduct with a minor (ARS § 13-1405): intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under the age of 18.
  • Sexual assault/rape (ARS § 13-1406): intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without consent of such person.
  • Child molestation (ARS § 13-1410): intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact with a child who is under 15 years of age (except contact only with the female breast, which is the crime of sexual abuse).
  • Voyeurism (ARS § 13-1424): knowingly invading the privacy of another person without that person’s knowledge for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

Understanding the specific language of the statute that applies to a sex crime case is imperative for moving forward with a defense strategy, as a criminal defense lawyer can argue against a charge based on the prosecution’s failure to prove all of the elements required for a criminal conviction.

Arizona Sentencing for Sex Crimes

Each type of sex crime in Arizona comes with different sentencing laws. The penalties associated with a sex crime will vary based on the nature and severity of the offense, as well as the defendant’s prior criminal history. Sentences for sex crimes commonly include the following penalties:

  • Years in prison (up to life imprisonment, for some offenses)
  • Thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges
  • Years of probation
  • Mandatory counseling and classes
  • Registration on the Arizona Sex Offender List

If there are aggravating circumstances (e.g., sex crimes involving children or serious bodily injury inflicted on a victim), the defendant’s sentence will be enhanced. With help from a defense lawyer, on the other hand, a defendant may be able to reduce his or her sentence by negotiating a plea bargain.

Investigating and Prosecuting Sex Crime Cases in Arizona

When someone is accused of a sex crime in Arizona, law enforcement will investigate. During the investigative process, they may interview the alleged victim, gather evidence and collaborate with other professionals for further insights. If enough evidence is obtained to give the police probable cause, they can arrest the suspect. The suspect is only allowed to be held in confinement by law enforcement for 48 hours without being charged with a crime. 

If charges are brought against the defendant, he or she will be required to attend a preliminary hearing and arraignment hearing, where the defendant can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. The defendant will also be appointed a public defender if he or she cannot afford to hire a private criminal defense attorney. An attorney can work to resolve the case with a plea agreement if this is in the best interest of the defendant. This means the defendant accepts responsibility for the sex crime for reduced charges or penalties. If not, the case will go to trial.

Legal Defenses in Sex Crime Cases

Various legal defenses could be used to fight against a sex crime charge in Arizona. An attorney can tailor a strong defense strategy to your specific circumstances. Your defense may involve:

  • Innocence or consent
  • Alibi, mistaken identity or wrong defendant
  • False allegations
  • Challenging evidence and witness testimony
  • Insufficient evidence to meet the burden of proof
  • Expired statute of limitations
  • Constitutional rights violations
  • Police misconduct or entrapment
  • Mental incapacity or illness

The best defense strategy for you and your case will depend on the circumstances. Hiring the right attorney can help you strengthen your defense and protect your future as much as possible.

free consultation with a phoenix criminal defense lawyer

How to Contact a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in Arizona

If you are facing charges for a sex crime in Arizona, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Contact AZ Defenders by calling (480) 568-4473 or contacting us online anytime to request a free and confidential case evaluation. We have two office locations:


404 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85282 


67 E. Weldon Ave.
Suite 317
Phoenix, AZ 85012 

Our lawyers at AZ Defenders will listen to your story, help you understand the charge(s) you are facing, explain your legal rights and personalize the best possible defense strategy for you. We will guide you through each step of the legal process. Contact our sex crimes attorneys today for more information.