All About sex crimes in Arizona

What can you expect if you are charged with a sex crime?

Arizona has very harsh laws when it comes to sex offenses. Many offenses carry mandatory prison sentences, lifetime probation and sex registration. A conviction for a sex offense can devastate a person's life. The consequences are severe, and a person charged with a sex offense must take the allegations seriously and prepare an intelligent defense with a very experienced child pornograhpy attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, such as the law firm of Robert J. Campos & Associates, P.L.C. 

 

Many attorneys advertise that they handle sex crimes, but unfortunately, offer little in the way of actual trial experience or experience dealing with sex crimes prosecutors. Large firms that advertise on billboards and television are sometimes much worse than simply keeping the public defender that was assigned to you, at no cost, by the court. Large firms operate on volume. Large firms take in hundreds of cases each month. The cases are assigned to inexperienced lawyers, sometimes just fresh out of law school.  Therefore, hiring an experienced sex conduct attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, such as the law firm of Robert J. Campos & Associates, P.L.C., is critical to your defense.

 

With a large large firm that advertises on television or billboards, you may initially meet with a senior attorney who seems capable; however, you must ask who is going to appear in court and handle your case as it progresses through the criminal justice system. One big problem that you will find is that a different attorney may show up for court. This is because large firms have large turnover in staff. Lawyers do not stick around long enough to see your case to the end. Sex crimes cases can last years if litigated correctly, hiring an attorney who will go the distance with you is critical. Do not hire a sprinter for a marathon event.  Instead, hire an experienced child molestation attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona that is here for you.  Robert J. Campos is an experienced child molestation attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona.  He is here to help you if you are changed with any sex crime.


Sex crime statutes and sentencing can be very confusing and difficult to understand. You will likely Google your offense and read the statutes you are charged with. I bet you do not understand fully what you are reading. I do not blame you. Many attorneys do not either. They just will not admit it. Below, I will do my best to give you a basic primer on the law. If you are informed, you can better help your lawyer to defend you. You will be a smarter consumer who can ask better questions and determine if your defense is headed in the right direction. Please return from time to time as I will continue to update this site with current information.  In the meantime, if you are in need of an experienced sex conduct attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, a child pornograhpy attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, or a child molestation attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, call Robert J. Campos and Associates, P.L.C.  We are here to help you.

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Definitions pursuant to a.R.S. Section 13-1401

How do Arizona courts define and interpret certain legal terms?

Definitions are critical when dealing with a legal issue. How a crime is defined is critical to understanding your situation. As improbable as this may sound, there are lawyers who never read the statutes or definitions. Criminal law statutes change from year to year. The definitions also change. Keeping up with the law is important. Knowing how legal terms are defined is basic to understanding you defenses, your strengths in the case and your weaknesses. 

 

Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-1401 contains important definitions. If your offense contains any of the words or phrases below, you must understand the meaning. Legal terms do not necessarily have the ordinary meaning that you may expect. Our legislature enacts laws and create definitions. Not all definitions are clear or even make sense. Below is the is the statute that defines certain sex terms and phrases.

 

13-1401. Definitions; factors

A. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Oral sexual contact" means oral contact with the penis, vulva or anus.

2. "Position of trust" means a person who is or was any of the following:

(a) The minor's parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian or foster parent.

(b) The minor's teacher.

(c) The minor's coach or instructor, whether the coach or instructor is an employee or volunteer.

(d) The minor's clergyman or priest.

(e) Engaged in a sexual or romantic relationship with the minor's parent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, foster parent or stepparent.

3. "Sexual contact":

(a) Means any direct or indirect touching, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact.

(b) Does not include direct or indirect touching or manipulating during caretaking responsibilities, or interactions with a minor or vulnerable adult that an objective, reasonable person would recognize as normal and reasonable under the circumstances.

4. "Sexual intercourse" means 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.

5. "Spouse" means a person who is legally married and cohabiting.

6. "Teacher" means a certificated teacher as defined in section 15-501 or any other person who provides instruction to pupils in any school district, charter school or accommodation school, the Arizona state schools for the deaf and the blind or a private school in this state.

7. "Without consent" includes any of the following:

(a) The victim is coerced by the immediate use or threatened use of force against a person or property.

(b) The victim is incapable of consent by reason of mental disorder, mental defect, drugs, alcohol, sleep or any other similar impairment of cognition and such condition is known or should have reasonably been known to the defendant. For the purposes of this subdivision, "mental defect" means the victim is unable to comprehend the distinctively sexual nature of the conduct or is incapable of understanding or exercising the right to refuse to engage in the conduct with another.

(c) The victim is intentionally deceived as to the nature of the act.

(d) The victim is intentionally deceived to erroneously believe that the person is the victim's spouse.

B. The following factors may be considered in determining whether a relationship is currently or was previously a sexual or romantic relationship pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2, subdivision (e) of this section:

1. The type of relationship.

2. The length of the relationship.

3. The frequency of the interaction between the two persons.

4. If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination. 

 

Let me clarify some important points. "Oral sexual contact" includes the defendant performing oral sex on the victim and the victim performing oral sex on the defendant. The term "position of trust" was recently added. The term now includes teachers and members of the clergy. Once it was unheard of to believe that priests or teachers could commit sex offenses.  Now, it is common to see stories on the news about trusted people charged with a sex offense. 


"Sexual contact" can also occur over the clothing. Touching a victim over the clothing is still a sex crime. The victim does not have to be undressed. "Sexual contact" also includes the victim touching the defendant over the clothes. The defendant does not need to be undressed either. 

 

"Sexual intercourse" means any penetration into the vulva. This includes a finger or a pencil or any object. It is considered "rape". Having the victim masturbate a penis of the defendant or the defendant masturbating the victim is also rape and meets the definition of "sexual intercourse". Many defendants are surprised to learn that placing a finger inside the vulva of the victim is sexual intercourse, or rape. 

 

Having sex with a very intoxicated victim, whose cognition is impaired, or an victim who is passed out drunk, is unlawful too. The term "without consent" is defined very broadly. A person does not have to fight off the attacker. Simply saying "no" indicates lack of consent. The defense of "her no really meant yes" usually does not work in trial as an excuse. The word "no" really means no under Arizona law. 


As hard as it may seem to believe, there have been cases where a female is in bed and does not realize that the other person is not their significant other, while they are engaged in intercourse. The woman is sometimes half asleep or had too much to drink. The law considers this "without consent"too.

sex offenses more commonly charged in arizona

There are many types of sex offenses, below are some of the most commonly charged, along with my explanation and commentary.

13-1402. Indecent exposure; exception; classification

A. A person commits indecent exposure if he or she exposes his or her genitals or anus or she exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts and 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.

B. Indecent exposure does not include an act of breast-feeding by a mother.

C. Indecent exposure to a person who is fifteen or more years of age is a class 1 misdemeanor, except that it is a class 6 felony if the defendant has two or more prior convictions for a violation of this section or has one or more prior convictions for a violation of section 13-1406. Indecent exposure to a person who is under fifteen years of age is a class 6 felony.

D. A person who is convicted of a felony violation of this section and who has two or more historical prior felony convictions for a violation of this section or section 13-1403 involving indecent exposure or public sexual indecency to a minor who is under fifteen years of age is guilty of a class 3 felony and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment as follows:

Mitigated   Minimum     Presumptive Maximum     Aggravated

6 years     8 years     10 years    12 years    15 years

E. The presumptive term imposed pursuant to subsection D of this section may be mitigated or aggravated pursuant to section 13-701, subsections D and E.

 

Indecent Exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor if the victim is 15 years old or older. If the victim is under the age of 15, the crime is a class 6 felony. The defendant does not have to expose himself or herself on purpose. All that is required is "recklessness". A typical defendant is a male, who had too much to drink, had to urinate in public, someone sees him and calls the police. The law punishes a defendant more severely if he or she has prior convictions. I tell clients that it is very important to be honest about their past when I meet with them. Certain prior felony convictions can be used to enhance a defendant's punishment. 


13-1403. Public sexual indecency; public sexual indecency to a minor; classification

A. A person commits public sexual indecency by intentionally or knowingly engaging in any of the following acts, if another person is present, and the defendant is reckless about whether such other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act:

1. An act of sexual contact.

2. An act of oral sexual contact.

3. An act of sexual intercourse.

4. An act of bestiality.

B. A person commits public sexual indecency to a minor if the person intentionally or knowingly engages in any of the acts listed in subsection A of this section and such person is reckless about whether a minor who is under fifteen years of age is present.

C. Public sexual indecency is a class 1 misdemeanor. Public sexual indecency to a minor is a class 5 felony.

D. A person who is convicted of a felony violation of this section and who has two or more historical prior felony convictions for a violation of this section or section 13-1402 involving indecent exposure or public sexual indecency to a minor who is under fifteen years of age shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment as follows:

Mitigated   Minimum     Presumptive Maximum     Aggravated

6 years     8 years     10 years    12 years    15 years

E. The presumptive term imposed pursuant to subsection D of this section may be mitigated or aggravated pursuant to section 13-701, subsections D and E.


Public Sexual Indecency is a class 6 felony if the victim is under the age of 15.  The crime is a class 1 misdemeanor if the victim is 15 years old or more.  The typical offender is someone who was caught masturbating.  Generally, the place is a public place; however, a person can be charged with this offense even if the act occurs in the home.  I have defended clients who have been nude in their backyard or had an open window and engaged in an "act of sexual contact" or simply had sex.  The conduct does not need to be intentional, just reckless.  This means having a sexual encounter in a place or manner where someone can see the sex.  The victim, as a reasonable person,  must be "offended" or "alarmed" by the sexual act.  Certain prior felony convictions can enhance the punishment.


13-1404. Sexual abuse; classification

A. A person commits sexual abuse by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact with any person who is fifteen or more years of age without consent of that person or with any person who is under fifteen years of age if the sexual contact involves only the female breast.

B. It is not a defense to a prosecution for a violation of this section that the other person consented if the other person was fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age and the defendant was in a position of trust.

C. Sexual abuse is a class 5 felony unless the victim is under fifteen years of age in which case sexual abuse is a class 3 felony punishable pursuant to section 13-705.


Prosecutors will likely charge sexual abuse if the defendant is accused of fondling a female's breast.  If the victim is 15 years old, the crime is a class 5 felony offense.  If the victim is under 15 years old, the crime is considered to be a Dangerous Crime Against Children and the punishment is much more severe.  Consent is not a defense if the victim is 15, 16, or 17 years of age and the defendant is categorized as being in a position of trust as defined in Section 13-1401A2.  There are different ways of committing the crime of sexual abuse, but the most common charge arises from an allegation that the defendant touched a female's breast without her consent.  


13-1405. Sexual conduct with a minor; classification

A. A person commits sexual conduct with a minor by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under eighteen years of age.

B. Sexual conduct with a minor who is under fifteen years of age is a class 2 felony and is punishable pursuant to section 13-705.  Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 6 felony.  Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 2 felony if the person is or was in a position of trust and the convicted person is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed has been served or commuted.

 

The accusation that a defendant had sex with a minor is very serious in Arizona. The sentencing can be incredibly severe. There are defendants who end up with sentences that are over 100 years. How can this happen? If the victim is under the age of 15, the crime is a Dangerous Crime Against Children. The mandatory sentence is a range from 13 to 27 years in prison for each count that is charged by the prosecutor. Many defendants face multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor. 

 

Each time there was a sex act, a defendant can expect a criminal charge. Therefore, prosecutors will often file many felony counts. A typical defendant can face an indictment alleging that he or she had sex with the minor once or 2, 5, 10 or 20 times. Each count is punishable with a mandatory prison sentence of 13 to 27 years in prison if the minor was under the age of 15. Each count, by law, must be consecutive. This means that if a defendant is convicted of 10 counts, he or she must serve a minimum prison sentence of 130 years. The maximum sentence is 270 years. 


The sentencing range, if the minor is 15 years of age or older, is less severe but still carries very serious consequences, especially if the defendant is in a "position of trust". A person is in a position of trust as a parent, stepparent, teacher, coach or clergy, as more fully defined in Section 13-1401A2.


13-1406. Sexual assault; classification; increased punishment

A. A person commits sexual assault by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without consent of such person.

B. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony, and the person convicted shall be sentenced pursuant to this section and the person is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed by the court has been served or commuted.  If the victim is under fifteen years of age, sexual assault is punishable pursuant to section 13-705.  The presumptive term may be aggravated or mitigated within the range under this section pursuant to section 13-701, subsections C, D and E.  If the sexual assault involved the intentional or knowing administration of flunitrazepam, gamma hydroxy butyrate or ketamine hydrochloride without the victim's knowledge, the presumptive, minimum and maximum sentence for the offense shall be increased by three years.  The additional sentence imposed pursuant to this subsection is in addition to any enhanced sentence that may be applicable.  The term for a first offense is as follows:

Minimum     Presumptive Maximum

5.25 years  7 years     14 years

The term for a defendant who has one historical prior felony conviction is as follows:

Minimum     Presumptive Maximum

7 years     10.5 years  21 years

The term for a defendant who has two or more historical prior felony convictions is as follows:

Minimum     Presumptive Maximum

14 years    15.75 years 28 years

C. The sentence imposed on a person for a sexual assault shall be consecutive to any other sexual assault sentence imposed on the person at any time.

D. Notwithstanding section 13-703, section 13-704, section 13-705, section 13-706, subsection A and section 13-708, subsection D, if the sexual assault involved the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury, the person may be sentenced to life imprisonment and is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until at least twenty-five years have been served or the sentence is commuted.  If the person was at least eighteen years of age and the victim was twelve years of age or younger, the person shall be sentenced pursuant to section 13-705.


Sexual assault is what most people refer to as "rape".  The sentencing can get a bit complex, but what is important to understand is that a defendant faces mandatory prison if convicted.  If the defendant has prior felony convictions, the sentence can be enhanced.  


Sex assault convictions and sentencing  must be consecutive, meaning one sentence followed by the second and third and so on.  If a defendant is convicted on three counts, he must be sentenced to a minimum of 15.75 years in prison.  If the defendant has prior felony convictions, the sentencing is enhanced even more.  


Using drugs, commonly referred to as "date rape drugs", will also enhance the punishment.  If the sexual assault involved the "intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury",  a defendant faces life in prison with the possibility of release after serving 25 years in prison.  If the victim is under the age of 12, and the defendant is 18 years old or more, the defendant faces a life sentence without the possibility of ever being released.  He will die in prison.


13-1410. Molestation of a child; classification

A. A person commits molestation of a child by intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact, except sexual contact with the female breast, with a child who is under fifteen years of age.

B. Molestation of a child is a class 2 felony that is punishable pursuant to section 13-705.

 

The difference between sexual conduct with a minor and child molestation is the lack of penetration into the vulva. If a defendant penetrates the victim's vulva, the crime is considered sexual assault and the penalty is a prison sentence between 13 to 27 years for each count. If the defendant does not penetrate the vulva, for example, touches the outside of the vulva or vagina, the crime is child molestation and the sentence is 10 to 24 years in prison for each count. 

 

13-1424. Voyeurism; classification

A. It is unlawful to knowingly invade the privacy of another person without the knowledge of the other person for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

B. It is unlawful for a person to disclose, display, distribute or publish a photograph, videotape, film or digital recording that is made in violation of subsection A of this section without the consent or knowledge of the person depicted.

C. For the purposes of this section, a person's privacy is invaded if both of the following apply:

1. The person has a reasonable expectation that the person will not be photographed, videotaped, filmed, digitally recorded or otherwise viewed or recorded.

2. The person is photographed, videotaped, filmed, digitally recorded or otherwise viewed, with or without a device, either:

(a) While the person is in a state of undress or partial dress.

(b) While the person is engaged in sexual intercourse or sexual contact.

(c) While the person is urinating or defecating.

(d) In a manner that directly or indirectly captures or allows the viewing of the person's genitalia, buttock or female breast, whether clothed or unclothed, that is not otherwise visible to the public.

D. This section does not apply to any of the following:

1. Photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording for security purposes if notice of the use of the photographing, videotaping, filming or digital recording equipment is clearly posted in the location and the location is one in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

2. Photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording by correctional officials for security reasons or in connection with the investigation of alleged misconduct of persons on the premises of a jail or prison.

3. Photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording by law enforcement officers pursuant to an investigation, which is otherwise lawful.

4. The use of a child monitoring device as defined in section 13-3001.

E. A violation of subsection A or B of this section is a class 5 felony, except that a violation of subsection B of this section is a class 4 felony if the person depicted is recognizable.


This is your classic "peeping tom" crime.  Filming someone who has a reasonable expectation of privacy, while in a  in a state of undress, or while having sex or while using  the bathroom is against the law.  The offense is class 5 felony.  If the defendant publishes the pictures, the crime is more serious and charged as a class 4 felony.   I have represented people from all walks of life charged with this offense, including a police officer who filmed women in a tanning salon.


13-1425. Unlawful disclosure of images depicting states of nudity or specific sexual activities; classification; definitions

A. It is unlawful for a person to intentionally disclose an image of another person who is identifiable from the image itself or from information displayed in connection with the image if all of the following apply:

1. The person in the image is depicted in a state of nudity or is engaged in specific sexual activities.

2. The depicted person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Evidence that a person has sent an image to another person using an electronic device does not, on its own, remove the person's reasonable expectation of privacy for that image.

3. The image is disclosed with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the depicted person.

B. This section does not apply to any of the following:

1. The reporting of unlawful conduct.

2. Lawful and common practices of law enforcement, criminal reporting, legal proceedings or medical treatment.

3. Images involving voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting.

4. An interactive computer service, as defined in 47 United States Code section 230(f)(2), or an information service, as defined in 47 United States Code section 153, with regard to content wholly provided by another party.

5. Any disclosure that is made with the consent of the person who is depicted in the image.

C. A violation of this section is a class 5 felony, except that a violation of this section is a:

1. Class 4 felony if the image is disclosed by electronic means.

2. Class 1 misdemeanor if a person threatens to disclose but does not disclose an image that if disclosed would be a violation of this section.

D. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Disclose" means display, distribute, publish, advertise or offer.

2. "Disclosed by electronic means" means delivery to an e-mail address, mobile device, tablet or other electronic device and includes disclosure on a website.

3. "Harm" means physical injury, financial injury or serious emotional distress.

4. "Image" means a photograph, videotape, film or digital recording.

5. "Reasonable expectation of privacy" means the person exhibits an actual expectation of privacy and the expectation is reasonable.

6. "Specific sexual activities" has the same meaning prescribed in section 11-811, subsection D, paragraph 18, subdivisions (a) and (b).

7. "State of nudity" has the same meaning prescribed in section 11-811, subsection D, paragraph 14, subdivision (a).


This statute seeks to prevent the classic get even or get revenge by a former spouse or significant other, after a ugly split.  Sending nude photographs of your former spouse or significant other to friends, out of spite, is now illegal.  Showing the photograph is a class 5 felony.  However, the crime is a class 4 felony if the photograph is published through the internet.  It doesn't matter that your spouse or significant other once sent it to you voluntarily.  The photograph cannot be shown or published without that person's consent. 


There are many other sex crimes in the criminal code.  However, the crimes I have listed are the most commonly charged by prosecutors in Arizona.  If you are charged with a sex offense, it is critical to hire an experienced and seasoned child pornograhpy attoney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona. Therefore, hire Robert J. Campos & Associates, P.L.C. today.  Do not put your entire life and future at risk by hiring an unqualified attorney.  If you are in need of a sex conduct attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, call the law firm of Robert J. Campos & Associates, P.L.C. today.  If you are in need of a knowledgeable and effective child molestation attorney in, or near, Phoenix, Arizona, don't wait another day.  You do not have to handle this situation alone.  Call Robert J. Campos & Associates, P.L.C. today and get on the path to a positive result today.


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