Sex Crime Offenses in Arizona: An Introduction

Sexual offenses are among the most serious crimes you can be accused of in any state, and without a good sex crimes lawyer, an accusation (however unfounded) can land you in an enormous amount of trouble. However, there are many different types of sexual offenses that are all categorized as "sex crimes," and knowing what the deal is with each one can be extremely valuable. 

What counts as a Sexual Offense in Arizona?

Arizona’s criminal laws are among the strictest in the USA, and it is worth knowing the difference between different offenses and their penalties.

Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor: This criminal charge applies to anyone who knowingly records, transmits, duplicates, sells, or purchases any visual depiction of any sort of sexual contact with a minor. It is a class 2 felony and one with a broad definition. It is possible to fall into this category accidentally, and the penalties can be very serious, with at least 10 years in prison as a result. 

Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials to a Minor: Knowingly or recklessly providing any harmful or obscene items to a minor, such as pornographic videos or magazines, is a class 4 felony. Failing to report this is also a class 6 felony, which is easy to fall into. A class 4 felony comes with at least 1 year in prison, while a class 6 comes with at least 4 months.

Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation: Unsurprisingly, offering sex to someone you know is a minor is a serious crime. This is often charged based on undercover officers pretending to be minors in internet chat rooms and is a class 3 felony, coming with at least 2 years in prison.

Child Molestation: Any form of knowing or intentional sexual contact with a child under the age of 15 is a class 2 felony and also counts as a dangerous crime against children (DCAC), so comes with a minimum of 10 years in prison as a penalty. This is not to be confused with Sexual Conduct with a Minor, which applies to any minor between the ages of 15 and 17 and is treated as a class 6 felony instead.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender: If you have been convicted of a felony sex crime, and intend to reside in Arizona for any length of time (permanent or temporary!), then you are required to register as a sex offender. This registration comes with an initial fee of $250, plus another $100 annually to renew the license. This must be completed within 72 hours of moving, or you face a class 6 felony.

Sexual Abuse: This is a very general charge, covering any intentional non-consensual sexual contact with anyone who is over 15 years of age or with anyone under 15 if that contact only involves the female breast. This can also get tangled up with Sexual Conduct with a Minor, meaning you may face further charges. This one can be a class 3 felony if the victim is under 15 or a class 5 felony if they are over 15.

Solicitation of Prostitution: If you offer money or something of value to another person in exchange for sex acts, that counts as solicitation of prostitution. This is an offense with subtly different definitions and punishments in different cities in Arizona, but this broad definition covers most of them. Most cities class this as a class 1 misdemeanor, with a maximum term of 6 months in jail. Offering services in exchange for money, however, is a Prostitution offense, which has a similar penalty.

Public Sexual Indecency: Any form of sexual behavior in the presence of another person who could reasonably be offended or alarmed by the act counts as public sexual indecency. The penalties for this vary, depending on who witnessed the act. It could be anywhere between a class 1 misdemeanor and a class 5 felony, depending on the age of the witness! This is very similar to Indecent Exposure.

Sexual Assault: Otherwise known as "rape," this is one of the most severe crimes that anyone can be charged with. Any engagement in sexual behavior with anyone else who does not consent is a class 2 felony, with an absolute minimum sentence of 5 and a quarter years in prison. It is likely to be much, much higher, however.

Conclusion

These are the basic sex crimes you can be charged with in Arizona.  If you are accused of one of these, your first action should always be to contact a sex crimes lawyer!

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