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Gilbert Statutory Rape Lawyer

Sexual criminal offenses are among the most serious and punitive charges that a person can face. While most sexual offenses involve sexual contact without the victim’s consent, statutory rape occurs when both parties give apparent express or implied consent, but a participant’s young age limits their capacity for providing legally-recognized informed and willing consent.

Sex crime convictions carry lengthy prison sentences, which is why you need to contact Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as reasonably possible. Your Gilbert statutory rape lawyer is one of your best resources to successfully defend yourself against these charges, as an experienced sex crimes attorney will have the knowledge to challenge the legal elements of the state’s case against you.

Conditions of Statutory Rape

Each state has specified an age of consent that a person must reach before their ability to agree to sexual contact is legally recognized. Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1405 has set that age to 18 years old, which makes most sexual contact illegal when one of the parties is 17 or younger and the other party is over 18, even if the younger person gave apparent consent to the activity.

Because consent is a prominent defense against sexual criminal offenses, statutory rape laws exist to prevent adults from coercing vulnerable minors into providing “consent” as a shield against sexual criminal charges.

Statutory Rape Defenses

Not all people who are charged with statutory rape are predators or intentionally took advantage of a child, however. To reflect this fact, some circumstances can serve as a defense against a sex crime conviction. A defense lawyer in Gilbert can identify the facts of a particular case that fall into exceptions to statutory rape laws.

Reasonable Mistake of Age

If a person over the age of consent reasonably, but erroneously, believed that their seemingly consenting partner was of age, they may have a defense under A.R.S. § 13-1407(B). This defense only applies if the minor was at least 15 years old at the time.

For example, a person above the age of consent who hooks up with a 17-year-old they met at a 21-and-over bar may be acquitted under this provision, if the jury finds that the defendant could not have reasonably known the teen was admitted to the bar by using a fake I.D.

Relative Age Between the Parties

Most people reach the dividing line for age-based consent while in high school. The law recognizes that pre-existing communities and social relationships do not just vanish on a person’s 18th birthday, nor does a significant power imbalance instantly form.

Per A.R.S. § 13-1407(E), sexual contact between a person who is at least 15 years old and a person who is either under 19 years old or is otherwise still in high school generally does not constitute statutory rape. This defense applies so long as their age difference is not greater than 24 months and both parties gave willing and informed consent to the activities. If this situation applies to you, you need to act FAST to retain a lawyer from Grand Canyon Law Group so you can properly defend yourself in court.

Penalties for Statutory Rape

Sexual contact with a minor is a felony offense in Arizona, though the specifics of a given case determine the severity. A statutory rape attorney in Gilbert is an important asset for avoiding the maximum penalties. A.R.S. § 13-3821 requires anyone convicted of sexual conduct with a minor to register as a sex offender.

Class 6 Felony Statutory Rape

If the above defenses do not apply, then sexual conduct between a person over the age of consent and a person who is at least 15 years old is a Class 6 felony. If convicted, defendants receive a prison sentence of:

  • First offense, three to 24 months
  • Second offense, nine to 30 months
  • Third offense, 2.25 to 5.75 years

Class 2 Felony Statutory Rape

If the alleged victim was 13 or 14 years old, it is a Class 2 felony. If convicted, defendants receive a prison sentence of:

  • First offense, three to 12.5 years
  • Second offense, 4.5 to 23 years
  • Third offense, 10.5 to 35 years

Dangerous Crimes Against Children

When the alleged victim is 12 years old or younger, A.R.S. § 13-705(B) designates the offense as a dangerous crime against a child. If convicted, the mandatory sentence is life in prison.

Please Call Our Gilbert Statutory Rape Attorneys Immediately

The harsh consequences of a rape conviction can make a criminal charge terrifying to face on your own, but our Gilbert statutory rape lawyers are here to help you. Grand Canyon Law Group will fight vigorously to get you a fair trial so you can have the best outcome in your case. Call us NOW for a free, private consultation.

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