Being accused and convicted of Sexual Conduct with a Minor pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1405 is a potentially life altering event.
Arizona penalizes sex crimes involving minors and children harshly. You could be facing a jail or prison sentence, as well as a felony conviction that will remain on your record forever.
If you find yourself in this situation, contact a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at AZ Defenders right away. We will take prompt and aggressive action to defend your rights. Our attorneys work hard to protect clients from the worst possible outcomes of the charges they are facing. Learn more about your case during a free and confidential consultation when you contact us.
Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1405(A), a person commits sexual conduct with a minor by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person under the age of eighteen.
“Sexual intercourse” is defined by Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1401(A)(4) as penetration into the penis, vulva, or anus by any part of the body or by any object or masturbatory contact with the penis or vulva.
“Oral sexual contact” is defined by Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1401(A)(1) as oral contact with the penis, vulva, or anus.
Sexual conduct with a minor, known in many other states as statutory rape, involves Arizona’s age-of-consent law. The age of consent is defined as the age when a person can legally consent to engage in sexual activity with another person. Arizona’s age of consent is 18 years old. Only when a person turns 18 years of age is he or she legally capable of giving consent to sex acts with another person.
Even if a minor under the age of 18 says yes to sexual activity, his or her consent has not been legally given due to the issue of being younger than the age of consent. This is true unless an exception applies, such as the marriage exception or Romeo and Juliet Law.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-102, a person who is at least 16 years old but under the age of 18 may get married if he or she has received an emancipation order or if a parent or guardian consents to the marriage. In both of these cases, the person’s prospective spouse must not be more than three years older. Anyone under the age of 16 in Arizona cannot legally get married.
A Romeo and Juliet Law refers to an exception that exists in many states to sex crimes against minors statutes. Arizona has such a law that could protect you if you are being accused of sexual conduct with a minor in Phoenix. Arizona’s Romeo and Juliet Law (also known as the close-in-age exemption) provides a limited exception to the general rule that it is against the law to engage in sexual intercourse with someone under the age of eighteen.
The close-in-age exemption applies when the sexual act is consensual, the minor is older than the age of 15, and the defendant is no more than 2 years older than the minor and is under 19 years old or in high school. Under these circumstances, the Romeo and Juliet Law could provide a legal defense to an allegation of sexual conduct with a minor in Phoenix.
Your lawyer must show that all of the required elements were true in your specific situation. Furthermore, this exemption only applies to “sexual conduct with a minor” and “aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation” charges. It does not apply to crimes such as sexual assault, indecent exposure, public sexual indecency or child molestation involving a minor under the age of 18.
The punishment for Sexual Conduct with a Minor pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1405 is dependent on the age of the alleged victim. If they are 15 years or older (but still under 18), then a violation of Sexual Conduct with a Minor is a Class 6 felony. A person convicted of such an offense faces between 4 months and 2 years in prison, or potentially lifetime probation.
If you are convicted of Sexual Conduct of a Minor and the alleged victim is 15 years or older but you are or were in a position of trust, then Sexual Conduct with a Minor is a Class 2 felony punishable by 3 to 12.5 years in prison. Probation would not be available in such a situation.
If the alleged victim is younger than 15 years, then punishment is handled pursuant to the Dangerous Crimes Against Children statute, Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-705. If the alleged victim is younger than 12 years, then a conviction leads to a life imprisonment with no possibility of release until 35 years of the sentence have been served. If the alleged victim is younger than 12 years but the contact was masturbatory contact only, then a conviction leads to either a life imprisonment with no possibility of release until 35 years have passed or 13 to 27 calendar years in prison. A calendar year sentence means that a person is serving “flat time” and cannot be released early. The sentence will always be up to the judge to determine in these cases.
If the alleged victim is older than 12 but younger than 15 years, then a conviction leads to a mandatory prison sentence of 13 to 27 calendar years pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-705(C).
Regardless of the age of the victim, a person convicted of Sexual Conduct with a Minor pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1405 must register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life.
The attorneys at AZ Defenders will aggressively and effectively find any weakness in the government’s case against you and utilize the best defenses to ensure the best possible outcome for you. Every criminal case is different, especially so when a sex crime is charged, but some defenses that AZ Defenders have successfully used to defend our clients include:
When you are potentially facing a life imprisonment sentence, lifetime probation, and registration as a sex offender, you should be represented by attorneys with the knowledge and experience to defend your case.
If you are facing charges for sexual conduct with a minor in Phoenix, contact AZ Defenders right away for a free and confidential case consultation.
You shouldn’t face spending the rest of your life in prison and other horrific consequences without speaking with the Phoenix sex assault defense attorneys at AZ Defenders to figure out how to best defend your Sexual Misconduct with a Minor case. We are here to help you during this difficult and stressful time. Call us at (480) 568-4473 today for more information.