Sexual conduct with a minor, commonly known as statutory rape, is a serious criminal charge in Arizona. The state vigorously prosecutes these cases and punishes convicted individuals severely. The potential penalties for charges for sexual conduct with a minor in Phoenix are much harsher than sexual assault or other types of sex crimes.
When you face these accusations, you need relentless legal support from an experienced attorney. Reach out to Grand Canyon Law Group immediately to discuss your case and determine a strategy to protect your future.
Statutory rape is legally referred to as sexual conduct with a minor in Arizona. If the alleged victim is under 15, this is a Class 2 felony. If the person is over 15 but under 18, the charge is a Class 6 felony. Additionally, Arizona law says that minors are legally unable to consent to sexual contact or conduct with adults. The prosecution does not have to prove a lack of consent in these cases.
The charges may also be aggravated if the defendant has a special relationship of trust with the alleged victim, such as a parent, guardian, coach, teacher, or religious leader. Our Phoenix attorneys can further explain the legal specifics of charges for sexual conduct with a minor and help develop a defense.
Anyone convicted of sexual conduct with a minor must register as a sex offender. If the alleged victim is under 12, a person convicted of sexual conduct with a minor charge will be sentenced to prison for life, without an option for parole until after 35 years. This is the harshest punishment that exists for a child sex offense.
If the alleged victim is between 12 and 14, the potential sentence is 13 to 27 years per count. If the alleged victim is over 15 but under 18, this is a probation-eligible offense punishable by four months to two years in prison. However, if the defendant has a special relationship with the child, the charge could be prosecuted as a Class 2 felony, with a prison sentence ranging from three to 12.5 years.
Regardless of the specific charges, anyone accused of sexual conduct with a minor should consult our experienced local attorneys immediately to protect their freedom.
A strong defense should be built around weaknesses in the state’s case. A skilled lawyer could bring the following factors into question during a sexual conduct with a minor case:
Additionally, Arizona has a Romeo and Juliet Statute, which provides a potential defense against sexual conduct with a minor. This defense is applicable if the defendant is in high school and within 24 months of age of the alleged victim. For example, an 18-year-old high school senior who has consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend cannot be prosecuted for sexual conduct with a minor.
The state also must prove that the defendant knowingly engaged in sexual contact with a minor. Depending on the circumstances, a Phoenix attorney could argue that the contact was accidental or that there was a lack of intent.
Sexual contact with a child is one of the most severe allegations under Arizona law. When the stakes are this high, you need representation from someone with years of experience handling these types of cases.
At Grand Canyon Law Group, our dedicated attorneys have been through the same training as police and prosecutors. We have successfully tried these cases before juries and are prepared to take your case to court. When you face charges for sexual conduct with a minor in Phoenix, do not hesitate to reach out. Call us today for legal help.