Sexual assault is an extremely serious crime in Arizona that is charged as a felony. If you are convicted of a sexual assault offense, you could be sentenced to decades in prison and have many collateral consequences for the rest of your life. You do not want to try to fight the charges you face without the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
What Is Sexual Assault in Arizona?
Sexual assault is commonly referred to as rape in our state. In Arizona, it can involve forcible rape through the use of threats or violence. It can also be committed in other ways, such as having nonconsensual sex with a victim who cannot resist because they have been given alcohol or drugs. The victim can be a woman or a man.
Under ARS §13-1406, this crime is defined as:
- The accused intentionally or knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with the victim.
- The accused engaged in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact without the consent of the victim.
Sexual intercourse involves the penetration into a person’s penis, vulva, or anus. The penetration can be by the accused’s body part, an object, or masturbatory contact. Oral sexual contact is defined as oral contact with the victim’s penis, vulva, or anus.
Under the law, without the consent of the victim can include any of the following:
- Use of force. The victim is coerced by the immediate or threatened use of force against a person or property.
- Incapacity. The victim is incapable of consenting due to a mental disorder, mental defect, drugs, alcohol, sleep, or other similar cognitive impairment. The accused must have known or should have reasonably known of the incapacity. Under this statute, a mental defect means that the victim is unable to comprehend the distinctly sexual nature of the act or is not capable of understanding or exercising the right to refuse to engage in the conduct with the accused.
- Deception. The victim is intentionally deceived as to the nature of the act.
- Victim’s spouse. The victim is intentionally deceived or mistakenly believes the accused is their spouse.
What Are the Punishments for Rape in Arizona?
Sexual assault is a Class 2 felony in Arizona. If a person is convicted of this crime, their sentence will be determined by the facts and circumstances of what occurred when the crime was committed and their prior criminal history.
The judge will determine an individual’s punishment by first considering the presumptive sentence, which is the default sentence for the crime. They would then decrease or increase the penalties based on the facts of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal felony convictions. If the individual is convicted of more than one rape offense, the sentences must be served consecutively. Possible sentences include:
- First offense. The presumptive sentence for a first offense is seven years. This can be reduced to a minimum sentence of five and one-quarter years or increased to a maximum sentence of 10.5 years.
- Second felony conviction. If the person were convicted of one prior felony, the presumptive sentence would be 10.5 years. The minimum prison sentence would be seven years, and the maximum would be 21 years.
- Third or subsequent convictions. If the defendant had been convicted of two or more felonies in the past, the presumptive sentence would be 15.75 years. They could be sentenced to a minimum sentence of 14 years up to a maximum of 28 years in prison.
- Serious physical injury. If the victim suffered a serious physical injury during the rape, the punishment could be increased to 25 years to life in prison.
If you face sexual assault charges in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys can mount an aggressive defense strategy to fight the charges you face. Call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you. Also, order our free book, Accused of a Crime in Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You.