Accusations of a sex offense can lead to lifelong criminal and social penalties. If you’ve been accused of a sex crime it is imperative you retain a defense lawyer capable of fighting charges of that magnitude. Phoenix sex crimes attorney Elizabeth Mullins has experience defending people charged with sex offenses across Arizona, California, and internationally. Convictions for sex crimes in Arizona carry severe mandatory minimums which often include mandatory prison terms, lifetime probation, and lifetime sex offender registration. Those fortunate to avoid life imprisonment will still face crippling social consequences if convicted. Impacts on employment and registry as a sex offender will all but guarantee a life wrought with challenges. If you’ve been accused of a sex offense in Arizona there is a lot weighing on the outcome of your case.
Arizona Sex Offense Charges
In Arizona, sex offenses include many sex-related crimes, each with their own sentencing guidelines. Sentences for sex crimes are typically subject to sentencing enhancements. These include increasing prison sentences due to the alleged victim’s age, the defendant’s criminal and personal history, the dates of the alleged offenses, and many other aggravating factors.
In Arizona, sex offenses can include:
Sexual Assault (ARS 13-1406). Anyone accused of performing willful, intentional, and non-consensual acts on another person may be charged with sexual assault. Sexual assault charges are Class 2 felony offenses with prison sentences ranging up to 14 years for a first offense.
Sexual Abuse (ARS 13-1404). Sexual abuse charges result from any sexual contact with any person over 15. For cases where the alleged victim is under 15, these charges may be applied in cases of inappropriate contact limited only to the breast. Age will play a large role in determining the type of felony charge and potential sentencing for conviction.
Indecent Exposure (ARS 13-1402). For indecent exposure charges, the act and age of the victim(s) can affect the severity of charges. Indecent exposure charges can result from exposure of the genitalia or breast if another person is present, regardless of whether the other person actually saw the nudity. Indecent exposure charges are misdemeanor charges if the alleged victim was aged 15 or above. If the other person was under the age of 15, the charge will be upgraded to a Class 6 felony. Misdemeanor convictions may result in jail sentences of up to six months and felony indecent exposure convictions carry up to two years in prison. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions carry the possibility of lifetime sex offender registration.
Sexual Offenses Against Children
Sexual offenses against children carry increased sentences and criminal penalties for conviction. Offenders with previous convictions can expect to face heavy sentence enhancements atop lengthy minimums. The age of consent in Arizona is 18; the court will not recognize the defense of a minor offering consent.
Child Molestation (ARS 13-1410). Child molestation charges follow accusations of engaging in sexual contact with a minor. This includes any sexually-motivated fondling or touching, direct or otherwise, of any minor under the age of 15. Child molestation is classified as a Class 2 felony and Dangerous Crime Against Children (DCAC). Prison terms for child molestation range from 10 years for each count and longer depending on the circumstances of the case.
Sexual Conduct with a Minor (ARS 13-1405). An adult who engages in sexual intercourse, digital penetration, or oral sexual contact with a minor may be convicted of sexual conduct with a minor. Cases in which the alleged victim is aged 15 -17 may result in Class 6 felony convictions. Cases involving minors under the age of 15 are tried as Class 2 felonies. Crimes involving children under 12 years old carry the most severe penalties. Depending on the age of alleged victim, number of victims, and number of acts, someone accused of sexual conduct with a minor may face probation up to life in prison.
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (ARS 13-3553). Charges of sexual exploitation of a minor are often referred to as child pornography charges. Law enforcement agencies are continually performing sting operations for child pornography. Their broad powers include pressing charges against anyone suspected of knowingly possessing, recording, duplicating, transporting, distributing, or otherwise encountering child pornography or associated equipment. In cases of minors under the age of 15, defendants will be charged with a Dangerous Crime Against Children (DCAC) and will face a minimum of 10 years for each image. Child pornography convictions can result in mandatory sentences of hundreds of years.
Arizona Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Sex crimes in Arizona often carry harsher penalties than murder. The consequences for conviction go well beyond incarceration. Registering as a sex offender can lead to a lifetime of difficulties finding employment or even a place to live. Convicted sex offenders may face challenges visiting with their own family members. If you are facing a sex offense charge, you are facing a lifetime of consequences. Contact the Law Office of Elizabeth Mullins to defend against sex crimes charges. Elizabeth has defended sex cases throughout Arizona, in federal and state courts. She has also appeared pro hac vice in the Central District of California to defend against international child pornography charges and related charges. She has successfully gained pretrial release and favorable outcomes for dozens of clients. As a certified criminal law specialist and experienced sex crimes attorney, Elizabeth has also trained other lawyers on how to defend and try sex cases. She has also successfully modified or terminated sex offender probation in both state and federal court.
Sex crimes are complex and prosecutors usually have doctors, computer forensics experts, and psychologists assisting them in the investigation and available testify at trial. Elizabeth Mullins maintains a network of some of the most highly respected expert witnesses in the country. She can access computer forensic examinations, obtain psychosexual risk assessments, polygraphs, and expert testimony for your defense. She will challenge improper forensic interviewing techniques by law enforcement and the validity of sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) reports. If you’ve been arrested for a sex offense, or suspect that you may be accused, call the Law Office of Elizabeth Mullins and begin working on your defense NOW.