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Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges

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Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges

In the state of Arizona, people who are convicted of sex offenses are punished very harshly. One of the most serious offenses with which you can be charged is criminal sexual conduct with a minor. The penalties you might face for a conviction of this offense will depend on the victim’s age, the circumstances, and your past criminal record.

In some cases, a conviction could result in a sentence of up to life in prison. At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our experienced sex crimes defense attorneys provide knowledgeable and skilled representation to people who are charged with sexual conduct with a minor, child molestation, and other similar offenses.

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Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Arizona

What is Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor?

Criminal sex with a minor falls under Arizona laws and statute ARS 13-1405. Within this statute, sexual conduct with a minor can be charged if you engage in sex sex with a minor, that is, with anyone younger than 18.

If the victim is under the age of 15, this offense is considered to be a Dangerous Crime Against a Child (DCAC) and is subject to the special sentencing scheme outlined in ARS 13-705.

According to Arizona laws, minors are considered to be incapable of legally consenting to sex, so you could be charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor even when the victim otherwise agreed to engage in sex with you.

However, there may be several defenses available to you, depending on the age difference between you and the alleged victim and other factors.

Penalties for Having Sex with Someone Under the Age of 18

With this type of crime, there are numerous variables that can affect the fines and jail/prison times. Continue to read below on the different levels of punishments for charges of sex with a minor or child molestation.

If you are charged with criminal sexual conduct of a minor with someone under the age of 18 but who is at least 15, a conviction is a Class 6 felony.

For a first offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • Up to 1 year in jail with up to lifetime probation
  • Prison from 4 months up to 2 years
  • Fine of up to $150,000
  • Mandatory sex offender registration

If you are convicted of a second offense with one prior felony that can be alleged, you will face the following penalties:

  • Prison from 9 months up to 2.75 years
  • Fine of up to $150,000
  • Mandatory sex offender registration

If you are convicted of this offense when you have two previous felonies that can be alleged, you will face the following penalties:

  • Prison from 2.25 up to 5.75 years
  • Fine of up to $150,000
  • Mandatory sex offender registration

If the victim was under age 15 but at least 12 years old, sexual conduct with a minor is a Class 2 felony and a Dangerous Crime Against Children. If you are convicted of this crime as a first offense, you will face the following potential penalties:

  • A minimum prison sentence of 13 years
  • A presumptive prison sentence of 20 years
  • A maximum prison sentence of 27 years
  • Fine of up to $150,000
  • Mandatory sex offender registration

As a Dangerous Crime Against Children, you will have to serve all of your prison sentences and will not be eligible for early release. You can be charged and convicted of separate offenses for each act of sex with a minor.

If you are convicted of multiple counts, the judge is required to stack your charges, which means that you will be forced to serve the prison sentences for each count consecutively.

Even for a first offense involving a victim ages 12 to 14, this means that you could face a maximum of 54 years in prison if you are convicted of two counts, for example.

If you are convicted of sexual conduct with a minor age 12 to 14 and have a predicate felony on your record, you will face the following penalties:

  • A minimum prison sentence of 23 years
  • A presumptive prison sentence of 30 years
  • A maximum prison sentence of 37 years
  • Fine of up to $150,000
  • Mandatory sex offender registration

If you are convicted of more than one count, you will have to serve your sentences consecutively. You will also be ineligible for early release and will have to serve your entire prison sentence.

The stakes are even higher if the alleged victim is under the age of 12. If you are convicted of a first offense involving a victim younger than 12, you will face the following penalties:

  • A presumptive 20-year sentence or;
  • From 35 years up to life in prison
  • Fine of up to $150,000
  • Mandatory sex offender registration if you are ever released from prison

Like other DCACs, a conviction of multiple counts will require you to serve your sentences consecutively, and you will not be eligible for early release from prison.

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration

Under ARS 13-3821, people who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor are required to register as sex offenders, and this requirement continues for the rest of their lives. Registration means that you will have to report to the sheriff’s office and provide your name, contact information, offense type, and other data. This information will be published with your photo on the state’s sex offender registry website, which is publicly accessible.

You will also face restrictions on where you can live and will not be allowed to have contact with minors, including your children. Before you can have contact with minors, you will have to gain the permission of your probation officer after undergoing rigorous tests.

Sex offender registration also has strict deadlines, and if you fail to comply, you can face new felony charges and penalties.

Sexual Conduct with a Minor vs. Child Molestation

Molestation of a child is a separate offense that is found in ARS 13-1410. Under this statute, you can be charged with child molestation if you knowingly engage in sexual contact with a child under the age of 15 other than contact involving the breasts of a female.

Child molestation is also a Class 2 felony and is punishable as a Dangerous Crime Against Children. However, sexual contact does not require you to have engaged in intercourse or oral sex and can include any touching, manipulation, or fondling of the alleged victim’s anus or genitals with your genitals, hands, or an object.

Sexual Conduct with a Minor vs. Child Rape Charges

Sexual assault of a minor or child rape charges can be filed when someone rapes a child younger than age 15 under ARS 13-1406. Rape involves knowingly or intentionally engaging in oral sex or sexual intercourse with a person without his or her consent. In many cases, threats of violence or violence are involved.

If you are convicted of sexually assaulting a child under age 15, it is a dangerous crime against a child and will expose you to a prison sentence of 13 to 27 years for victims who are from ages 12 to 14, or up to life in prison if the victim is under age 12.

Defenses to Sexual Conduct with a Minor

There are several defenses that might be available to a charge of sexual conduct with a minor found in ARS 13-1407. This statute provides several defenses to this charge. If the sexual contact was completed as a part of legal, medical practice, it is a defense.

If the victim was aged 15 to 17, and you did not know or reasonably could not have known that he or she was a minor, and he or she otherwise consented, you can also defend against this charge. This type of situation commonly happens when a minor lies about his or her age to the defendant before engaging in sex.

If the alleged victim was your spouse, you can also defend against a charge of sexual conduct with a minor.

Finally, the Romeo and Juliet laws in Arizona can be asserted as a defense. Under the Romeo and Juliet laws, you could defend against a charge of sexual conduct with a minor if the alleged victim otherwise consented, was ages 15 to 17, and you were still in high school or under the age of 19 as long as you are no more than two years older than the alleged victim.

Other defenses might also be available, including the following:

  • You were falsely accused.
  • You could not have committed the offense because you were somewhere else at the time it was committed.
  • You did not know the victim and were identified through a faulty eyewitness identification procedure.
  • Inconclusive or improperly obtained DNA evidence.
  • The alleged conduct did not involve penetration, masturbatory contact, or oral contact.
  • You made a coerced confession.

Your sex crimes attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta will analyze what happened to identify the best defense strategies to take.

Get Help from an Experienced Sex Crimes Lawyer

A charge of criminal sexual conduct with a minor is very serious. If you have been arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor, child molestation, child rape, or statutory rape, you need to get legal help immediately.

Contact the elite team of sex crime lawyers at Colburn Hintze Maletta today by calling (602) 825-2500 and scheduling your completely confidential and free consultation. Your freedom is our absolute top concern!

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