SEXUAL ASSAULT (ARS 13 1406)

Sexual assault is a Class 2 Felony. The punishment for sexual assault, or what is commonly referred to as rape, is severe and often involves imprisonment and placement on the Arizona sex offender registry.

Adding to the stress of a rape accusation, the accusations come with severe societal consequences because of the associated social stigma. The law presumes the accused to be innocent until proven guilty, but society often assumes a person’s guilt. So, not only does a person accused of rape face some of the harshest legal penalties, but they also face severe damage to their reputation and ability to maintain or obtain employment.

sexual assault

SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFINITION

Sexual assault is commonly referred to as rape. People generally think that sexual assault involves forcible rape where a person uses violence or threats of violence to force a victim into sexual intercourse. However, sexual assault in Arizona can occur in a number of ways under ARS 13 1406. For example, rape can occur when a person prevents a victim from resisting sex by giving the victim alcohol or drugs. And rape is not restricted to sexual intercourse, but also involves oral sexual contact.

Under Arizona law, ARS 13 1406, sexual assault or rape requires the prosecutor prove that:

  • You intentionally or knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with another person; and
  • You engaged in the act without the consent of the other person.

rape

IMPORTANT TERMS & CONCEPTS

The following terms and concepts are important to understand, particularly if you are facing a sexual assault charge:

Sexual Intercourse

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.

Oral sexual Contact

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

Without Consent

Without consent includes any of the following:

  • The victim is coerced by the immediate use or threatened use of force against a person or property;
  • 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;
  • The victim is intentionally deceived as to the nature of the act;
  • The victim is intentionally deceived to erroneously believe that the person is the victim’s spouse.

Mental Defect

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.

Statutory Rape

Statutory rape is sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with a minor. A minor is anyone who is under age 18 at the time of the sexual act. When a person has sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with a minor, it does not matter whether the minor expressed consent or gave apparent consent. In Arizona, statutory rape is called sexual conduct with a minor and is defined under ARS 13-1405. Read more

Arizona Age of Consent

Under ARS 13 1405, the Arizona age of consent is 18 years old. This means that a person under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to sexual contact with an adult, and technically a juvenile for that matter could be in violation of the Arizona age of consent law.

Romeo and Juliet Law Arizona

While the Arizona age of consent is 18 years old, the law does have special rules for minors between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Known as the Romeo and Juliet law, it allows for consensual sex between two young partners between the ages of 15 and 19, so long as they are not more than 2 years apart in age.

The Romeo and Juliet law does not apply if the minor is younger than 15 years old or if the age difference of the parties involved is more than 2 years. Also, the Romeo and Juliet law does not apply when the sexual intercourse was not consensual.

romeo and juliet law

SEXUAL ASSAULT SENTENCE

Sexual assault is a Class 2 felony under Arizona law. The expected sentence depends on the facts of the case and the age of victim.

Victim at least 15 years old:

  • A minimum of 5.25 years in prison and up to a maximum of 14 years in prison.

Victim 12, 13 or 14 years old – DCAC:

  • A minimum of 13 years in prison and up to a maximum of 27 years in prison.

Victim is 12 years old or younger – DCAC:

  • Life in prison.

The sexual assault sentence applies to defendants who are 18 years or older. If sexual assault is committed by a juvenile under the age of 18, Arizona will bring juvenile crime charges.

arizona sex offender registry

ADDITIONAL SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

In addition to the harsh penalties for a sexual assault conviction, there are other aggravated factors and collateral consequences which may also impact those convicted.

Use of Date Rape Drugs

If drugs were given to the victim, then the prison terms are increased.

  • If a defendant committed sexual assault and gave the victim what is commonly called a “date rape drug” without the victim’s knowledge, then the presumptive, minimum, and maximum allowed sentence is increased by an additional 3 years.
  • A “date rape drug” includes flunitrazepam (also called Rohypnol or roofies), gamma hydroxy butyrate (also called GHB or liquid ecstasy), or ketamine hydrochloride (also called Special K).

Serious Physical Injury

If a defendant committed sexual assault or rape and intentionally or knowingly inflicted serious physical injury on the victim, then the defendant may be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dangerous Crime Against Children (DCAC)

If a defendant who is at least 18 years of age (or was tried as an adult) commits sexual assault against a victim who is under 15 years of age, then the sexual assault is considered a Dangerous Crime Against Children. This means that the defendant must be sentenced to prison according to the dangerous crimes against children statute ARS 13-705.

Arizona Sex Offender Registry

Arizona sex offender laws pursuant to ARS 13 3821, require those convicted of sexual assault, to register as a sex offender and be placed on the Arizona sex offender register.

The fact that the victim is not a minor may not eliminate the Arizona sex offender registry requirement. Sex offender registration can also be required by the judge if you are convicted of a sexual offense under chapter 14 of title 13 and the judge determines that the crime was sexually motivated pursuant to ARS 13-118.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON SEXUAL ASSAULT

Generally speaking, most felony offenses have a 7 years statute of limitations in Arizona. However, the statute of limitations on sexual assault is 7 years only after police determine the identity of the defendant. Prior to determining the perpetrator, there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault.

arizona age of consent

SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFENSE

Apart from various defenses that apply to a host of different crimes there are several defenses that are often raised in sex crimes and sexual assault charges. When someone has been accused of rape, it is important that any sex crimes lawyer employ a robust sexual assault defense. Common defenses when someone is accused of rape, often include:

  • Coerced Confessions. Sexual assault charges often depend on a confession by the accused. Many times, these confessions are obtained only after intense interrogations. As such, attacking the reliability of a confession is paramount to a solid defense strategy.
  • Illegal Confrontation Calls. In addition to confessions made to police, there is often evidence of a secretly recorded confession made to the victim or a third party. These calls, referred to as confrontation calls, make the caller an agent of the State and as such, make the caller subject to the same laws as the police. Additionally, it is also important to evaluate the legality of obtaining secretly recorded confessions pursuant to individual state laws.
  • Lack of Physical Evidence. There may be no physical evidence of rape or statutory rape, which means that the entire case could hinge on the testimony of a victim or a witness which may be a complete fabrication of the truth.
  • Illegally Obtained Evidence. When police collect physical evidence such as DNA, items of clothing or trace materials they will normally apply for search warrants. The circumstances, legal basis and procedural requirements for a valid search warrant must then be carefully scrutinized by an experienced sex crimes attorney. The failure to properly obtain physical evidence can lead to valid attacks of the State’s case pursuant to illegal search and seizure laws.
  • False Accusation. As is the case with many sex crimes, often times the accuser or a person close to them has a motivation to pursue a false accusation. Often times, the accuser in a sexual assault case may make false accusations to avoid the repercussions faced from an existing romantic partner or family member. If someone is falsely accused of rape, identifying and investigating the allegation is an integral part of a well-established defense strategy.
  • Witness Credibility. Many rape cases involve victims unknown to the defendant. Establishing and eroding the credibility of an eyewitness or victim’s testimony is an essential a part of an effective defense.
  • Technical Legal Deficiencies. Sexual assault charges can involve charges that may have been brought under the wrong statute, with the wrong allegations or incorrect aggravating circumstances. Evaluating the legal technicalities is something that should be required of any sex crimes attorney.

molestation vs rape

OTHER DISTINGUISHABLE SEX CRIMES

It is easy to confuse the various sex crimes since they often sound similar and often have overlapping legal concepts. Below are several common examples that illustrate the differences.

Rape vs Sexual Assault

Under the law in Arizona, rape and sexual assault are the same thing. Sexual assault is generally the legal name for the colloquial word, rape.

Molestation vs Rape

Rape generally refers to sexual assault and often includes force, a threat of force or having sexual contact with someone who is unconscious. Molestation, instead, includes the touching, fondling or manipulating of the genitals or anus of a person under the age of 15 – the offense does not require force or violence of any kind.

Statutory Rape vs Rape

Rape generally refers to sexual assault and often includes force, a threat of force or having sexual contact with someone who is unconscious. Statutory rape, on the other hand, involves an adult engaging in sex with a minor – the offense does not require force or violence of any kind.

sex crimes lawyer

SEX CRIMES LAWYER

If you have been falsely accused of rape, you are facing a complex and stressful situation. It’s important to remember that not all allegations of sexual assault are true and false or mistaken allegations can be made.

Regardless of the facts of a rape allegation, hiring an experienced sex crimes lawyer is key to a positive outcome. To learn how a sex crimes lawyer at Feldman & Royle can conduct an independent investigation, establish weakness in the State’s case, build a defense strategy, and mitigate potential consequences, call today. We offer a free and confidential consolation.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)


1 What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault, or rape in Arizona under ARS 13 1406 occurs when someone engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with another person without the consent of the other person.

2 What is statutory rape?
Statutory rape pursuant to ARS 13 1405 occurs when someone engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual conduct with a person under the age of 18. Sexual assault, or rape, under ARS 13 1406, occurs when someone engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with another person without the consent of the other person, regardless of their age.

3 Is sexual assault a felony?
Yes. In Arizona all types of rape is a felony. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony and punishable by a minimum of 5.25 years in prison and up to a maximum of life in prison.

4 What is the statute of limitations on sexual assault?
There is no statute of limitation on sexual assault, provided the police do not know the identity of the defendant. If, however, police know who committed the rape, then the statute of limitations on sexual assault is 7 years.

5 What is the punishment for sexual assault?
The possible sentence for sexual assault depends on the facts of your case and the age of the victim. That said, the punishment for sexual assault rages from a minimum of 5.25 years in prison to life in prison. A conviction for sexual assault also requires placement on the Arizona sex offender registry.

6 What is the age of consent in Arizona?
Pursuant to ARS 13 1405, the age of consent in Arizona is 18. Anyone engaging in sexual contact with a person under the age of consent runs the risk of being charged with statutory rape. It should be noted, however, that the Romeo and Juliet law may protect those engaging in sex with a minor, provided the accused meets the requirements.

7 What is rape and statutory rape?
Rape generally refers to sexual assault under ARS 13-1406 and often includes force, a threat of force or having sexual contact with someone who is unconscious. Statutory rape under ARS 13-1405, on the other hand, involves an adult engaging in sex with a minor – the offense does not require force or violence of any kind.