Sexual conduct with a minor is a sex crime in Arizona. You face extremely harsh penalties if you and long-term consequences in your life if are convicted of this offense. After your arrest, one of your first steps should be to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you mount an aggressive defense to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
What Is Sexual Conduct With a Minor?
Sexual conduct with a minor is referred to as statutory rape in other states. Under ARS §13-1405, a person can be found guilty of this crime if both of the following are proven:
- They intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with an individual.
- The individual is a minor.
Under Arizona law, sexual intercourse is defined as a sexual activity involving the penetration into the penis, vulva, or anus by any part of a body or an object or masturbatory contact with the penis or vulva. Oral sexual contact is oral sexual contact with the vulva or penis.
Anyone under 18 years old is a minor in Arizona. A person accused of sexual conduct with a minor cannot use a claim that they thought the minor was over 18 years old as a defense.
What Are the Penalties for Sexual Conduct With a Minor?
Sexual conduct with a minor would be a Class 2 or a Class 6 felony, depending on the child’s age and the facts of the case. If the minor is 14 years or younger, the crime would be a Class 2 felony. The accused could be charged under ARS §13-705, which is Arizona’s dangerous crimes against children law.
When the victim is 15 years or older, the offense would be a Class 6 felony in many cases. However, if the offender were in a position of trust, the charge would be elevated to a Class 2 felony. An individual would be considered in a position of trust if they are one of the following:
- Parent of one’s own children
- Stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, or foster parent of the child
- The minor’s teacher
- The child’s coach or instructor
- The minor’s priest or clergyperson
The penalties a defendant can face if they are convicted include:
- Minor under 15 years old. If the individual is convicted under Arizona’s dangerous crimes against children law, they could face a minimum sentence of 13 to 27 years in prison if this is their first offense. The penalty could be increased to life in prison if the victim was under 12 years old.
- Minor 15 years old or older. If the defendant is convicted of a Class 2 felony, they could be sentenced to between six months and two years in prison. If they were in a position of trust and convicted of a Class 6 felony, they face a prison sentence of four to 12.5 years.
- Repeat offenders. A defendant sentenced as a repeat offender could face a much harsher punishment, including up to life in prison.
In addition, a person convicted of sexual conduct with a minor would face long-term consequences. They would have a permanent criminal record that could limit their ability to obtain employment, housing, education, and more. In addition, they would have to register as a sex offender on Arizona’s Sex Offender Registry. This can further impact where they could live, and the jobs could perform.
Are you facing sexual contact with a minor charge in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona? Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys are here to explain what you can expect in your criminal case and can help you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation. Call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We also invite you to order our free book, Accused of a Crime in Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You.