State v. Mr. G (DMC 15347) – Felony Securities Fraud ($120,000) – Fugitive of Justice Warrant Dismissed – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2018-003632): Mr. G had been investigated by the Alabama Securities Commission for allegedly conspiring with another subject from California in order to refer prospective investors to purchase oil and gas wells. The alleged victim had invested $120,000 into the “security,” and the wells turned out to be dry. That money had not been refunded and the authorities in Alabama issued a Fugitive of Justice warrant to arrest Mr. G.
We became involved in the case in order to handle the Extradition issues related to Arizona and Alabama. Through negotiations with the authorities in Alabama and with co-counsel who was located in Alabama, we were able to have the Arizona warrant Dismissed in exchange for a promise to appear in Alabama. The case was ultimately successfully concluded by co-counsel in Alabama.
State v. Mr. D (DMC No. 14909) – Felony Custodial Interference, Felony Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Felony Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation, and Felony Sending Obscene Internet Materials to a Minor – Reduced to Probation With 90 Days of Jail – Yuma County Superior Court (Case No. CR2017-00299): Mr. R was a school teacher at the local high school and he was 32 years of age. He befriended a 17-year-old student at the high school while he was the sponsor of the chess team. She was constantly with Mr. R, and eventually she went on a three-day vacation with him to an out-of-state location. The student eventually told her friend that there had been some fondling, digital penetration and exchange of some lewd photographs via the Internet. The girl’s friend told the other girl’s boyfriend, and teachers were notified.
Mr. R was ultimately charged with Felony Custodial Interference for taking the minor out of state. He was also charged with Felony Luring a Minor for Sex Exploitation when he requested photographs from her on the Internet. Lastly, he was charged with Felony Sexual Conduct with a Minor and also charged for sending obscene Internet materials to her. If he were to be convicted of all charges and sentenced to the maximum, he could have spent well over a decade in prison. Ultimately, the case was handled by a local Yuma attorney along with our Firm, and was reduced to Probation with 90 days in Jail and Sex Offender Registration.
State v. Mr. F (DMC No. 15669) – Felony Failure to Register as Sex Offender – Reduced to Probation With Zero Days in Jail – Yavapai County Superior Court (Case No. CR2018-01528): Mr. F was convicted in Wisconsin of Sexual Assault on a child in 1993 and was placed on probation for five years with lifetime sex offender registration. As part of sex offender registration, there is a requirement that within 72 hours of moving, the individual must notify the local Sheriff’s Office and register. Mr. F had worked both in Wisconsin and Alaska for approximately 15 years, but had moved to the Valley a year before the incident in question. He registered when he got into Arizona with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. He would travel back and forth to Alaska for work, and he would notify the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
At some point, a Detective for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office claimed that Mr. F had not properly registered within 72 hours when he left for Alaska. He was ultimately charged with felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender per ARS 13-3821(A). We retrieved all of Mr. F’s records and we were able to show that he had, in fact, notified Wisconsin of his travel plans to Alaska. We also pulled all of his phone records in order to show that he had been trying to leave messages and speak with the Detective in Yavapai County. Initially, the Prosecutor offered a plea to 2.5 years in prison. Ultimately, Mr. F was given an “no agreements” plea which could have resulted in Probation with no jail, all the way up to 3.75 years in Prison. At sentencing we were able to show the judge that he was attempting to properly comply, and the judge gave him the lowest possible sentence under the law – Probation with No Jail.
DM Cantor is proud to announce that on March 1, 2021, we are celebrating our 25 year anniversary as a law firm! On March 1, 1996, David Michael Cantor formed the law firm with his then-partner, Phillip D. Hineman. That firm was known as Hineman and Cantor. Approximately one year later, Phil Hineman departed in order to form his own solo practice, and then David renamed the firm the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor. The firm later became DM Cantor in 2017.
The original 1996 office was located in Tempe, Arizona and only occupied 800 square feet. The office then moved to Mesa, Arizona, where it occupied 3,200 square feet before moving back to Tempe, where the offices eventually exceeded 10,000 square feet. Later, the decision was made to move to downtown Phoenix to correspond with the opening of the new Maricopa County Courthouse. Currently, DM Cantor occupies 25,000 square feet on the 23rd and 24th floors of the Renaissance II Tower in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
DM Cantor consists of 10 lawyers who practice exclusively in the area of criminal defense. DM Cantor’s companion law firm, Cantor Law Group, consists of 11 lawyers who practice exclusively in the area of family and juvenile law. The firm has amassed over 150 complete jury trial acquittals – “not guilty” on all charges – over the last 25 years. The next closest law firm only lists 16 complete jury trial acquittals on their website. Partners David Cantor, Christine Whalin, and Joey Hamby, are all board-certified criminal law specialists – resulting in DM Cantor having the most criminal law specialists of any law firm in Arizona.
Currently, there are only 68 board-certified criminal law specialists in the state of Arizona. In addition to David, Christine and Joey, the firm has had the following board-certified criminal law specialists who were either produced by, or worked at, DM Cantor over the last 25 years: Barry Handler, Kristen Curry, Paul Ramos, Rachell Ferraro, Vicki Lopez, Todd Nolan, Elizabeth Mullins, Steve Garcia, Omer Gurion, Cindy Castillo, Todd Coolidge and Bob McWhirter. All of these fine lawyers helped make DM Cantor what it is today.
High profile cases handled by the firm include the dismissal of capital murder charges against Lisa Randall (a daycare provider falsely accused of murdering a child in her care); the turndown of all charges against Valinda Jo Elliott (accused of starting the Rodeo-Chediski fire, which burned over half a million acres and 440 homes); the dismissal of charges against Celebrity Fitness Expert Richard Simmons (who was accused of slapping an MMA fighter in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport); the dismissal of charges against WNBA Star Brittany Griner (accused of a domestic dispute with her partner); and the turndown of all charges against NBA Star Michael Beasley (falsely accused of sexual assault).
DM Cantor’s high-profile cases have resulted in international media coverage. Members of the Firm have appeared on Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper Live, Inside Edition, CNN, Hannity & Colmes, the CBS Morning Show, along with every local news channel, Univision, and even Howard Stern.
DM Cantor will continue to provide the best defense possible for those facing criminal allegations. Eventually, the Firm will be led by managing partner Christine Whalin, and partner Joey Hamby, during the upcoming decades.
The phrase “age of consent” refers to the age at which a person is legally allowed to give consent to having various forms of sexual activity with another person. Age of consent laws are State laws, and therefore every State has different statutes that define the age that a person can legally consent to sexual activities. The phrase “sexual activities” is used instead of “sex” because different types of contact can have different ages of consent.
In general, however, the idea is that if you have sex or a sexual contact with someone younger than the age of consent – then you have committed “statutory rape.” That is, rape by law, even if the person is “willing.” Note that the phrase “statutory rape” is not actually contained within Arizona law. This is just a form of legal slang to describe sex that is prohibited by law and not because the person engaging in it didn’t want to.
This article will focus solely on Arizona law. In Arizona, there are many different sex crimes that can be charged. These crimes focus on different ages, different forms of sexual contact, and different circumstances – such as whether the adult is considered to be “in a position of trust.”
Types of Contact
The different types of contact are defined in Arizona law at A.R.S. Section 13-1401. These are legal definitions and are not necessarily what you would think of from a real-world perspective.
“Sexual Contact” is defined by Arizona law as “any direct or indirect touching, fondling, or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus, or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact.”
Note – this includes the use of sex toys, for example, as this would be “any object.”
Also, this includes causing a person to engage in such contact. So if an adult-directed someone underage to touch an object to their own female breast, for example, the adult would still have committed a “sexual contact,” even if the adult never made contact themselves.
The “indirect touching” language encompasses things such as “dry humping” or “petting,” where there is clothing between the two people’s body parts.
“Oral Sexual Contact” is defined by Arizona law as “oral contact with the penis, vulva, or anus.” Note – this does not include kissing on the lips or breasts.
“Sexual Intercourse” is defined by Arizona law as “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.” Note – this definition means that if an adult gives a “handjob” to a minor male, this is considered “sexual intercourse” even though no penetration occurs. Why? Because it would be “masturbatory contact” and therefore falls under Arizona’s legal definition.
There are many sex crimes in Arizona that have an age component—ranging from an adult and teenager having sex, to crimes like child pornography, molestation of a child, and child sex trafficking. However, “Age of Consent” or “statutory rape” typically refers to a teenager and adult having consensual sex; however, because the minor is under the “age of consent,” the act is considered statutory rape. In other words, this article will not deal with other sex crimes that involve children, such as child pornography, etc.
Sexual Abuse ARS 13-1404
This criminal charge involves “sexual contact” with anyone who is 15, 16, or 17 without consent or with a person who is under 15 if the sexual contact only involves the breast. This is a bit confusing as the crime can turn on whether the 15, 16, or 17 years old is willing – despite the fact that they are under 18. Note, however, that pursuant to subsection B of this statute, the adult CANNOT use the defense of consent if they are in “a position of trust.”
A position of trust is defined in Arizona law at ARS 13-1401. It includes the minor’s parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, legal guardian, teacher, coach or instructor (whether volunteer or paid), clergy, priest, or anyone engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship with the minor’s parent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, foster parent or step-parent.
Sexual Conduct with a Minor ARS 13-1405
This criminal charge involves the activities of “sexual intercourse” and “oral sexual contact.” Note, this DOES NOT cover “sexual contacts,” as defined above. If an adult and a minor have consensual sex, this is the likely charge the adult will face. It is also known as simply “Sex Conduct” or “Sex Con” amongst lawyers, police, and judges.
The statute simply makes it illegal for anyone to have “sexual intercourse” or “oral sexual contact” with anyone that’s under 18. However, the punishment faced will vary widely depending on the underage person’s age and whether the adult was in a “position of trust” or not (see above). If you are an adult and you have sex with a teenage minor, in Arizona, this is the crime that you are most likely to be charged with.
Punishments for Sex Conduct with a Minor
If the minor is under 12 (i.e., 11 years and 364 days), then it is a Class 2 Felony and is punishable by Arizona’s DCAC statute (Dangerous Crimes Against Children) and will be punished by life in prison unless it involves masturbatory conduct. If it involves only masturbatory contact, then the court may give life (at the court’s discretion), else 13-27 years in prison with a presumptive of 20 (assuming no prior felonies).
If the minor is 12, 13, or 14, then it is a Class 2 Felony and punishable by Arizona’s DCAC Statute and requires 13-27 years in prison with a presumptive of 20 (assuming no prior felonies).
If the minor is 15, 16, or 17 and the adult is NOT in a position of trust, then it is a Class 6 Felony and punishable by either probation or prison. If prison, then the range is .33-2 years in prison with a presumptive of 1 (assuming no prior convictions).
If the minor is 15, 16, or 17 and the adult I.S. in a position of trust, then it is a Class 2 Felony and punishable by either probation or prison. If prison, then 3-12.5 years in prison with a presumptive of 5 (assuming no prior convictions).
Arizona law provides for several defenses to sex abuse and sexual conduct. Such as:
Medical Practice – Actions that are done “in furtherance of a lawful medical practice” are not considered to fall under the sex abuse or sex con statutes.
Mistaken Age – If the allegation is that the person could not have consented based on their age (i.e., statutory rape, not forced rape), then it is a defense if the adult 1) did not know the minor’s age and; 2) could not have reasonably known the minor’s age.
For example, a 20-year-old female meets a male who says that he’s 18. But, in fact, he’s 17. They have sex. Whether the woman can use the mistaken-age defense will turn on whether she could have reasonably known his age. Did she take reasonable steps to figure out his true age? If yes, then she may be able to use this defense. Simply not knowing the true age, alone, is not enough. And what is meant by “reasonably known?” That is up to a jury to decide.
Good Samaritan – If a person is 1) rendering emergency services, 2) at the scene of an emergency, and 3) it is a recognized and lawful form of treatment; that is 4) reasonably adapted to promote the health of the person; and 5) the person rendering aid REASONABLY believed that no one competent could be consulted and that 6) a REASONABLE person would consent – then they may use this as a defense to allegations of sex abuse or sex con.
What’s reasonable? That’s defined by a jury. If a jury thinks it’s reasonable, then it is. If a jury doesn’t think it’s reasonable, then it’s not.
Marriage – If the minor is the spouse of the adult, then it is not sexual abuse or sexual conduct with a minor. Note, forced rape (known as “sexual assault” in Arizona) is still illegal, even if the victim and perpetrator are married.
Age of Perpetrator – i.e., “The Romeo and Juliette Defense.”
This is to protect young couples from having one person prosecuted just because they hit their 18th birthday before the other person. However, there are very specific requirements to use this defense.
First, the minor must be 15, 16, or 17 years old. If the minor is 14 years and 364 days old, this defense is out.
Second, the adult must either be A) 19 years or younger; or B) attending High School.
Third, the adult can be no more than 24 months older than the minor. So, for example, imagine Billy is 19.5 years old – but he is in high school (see the 2nd requirement). Then the Romeo and Juliette defense can be applied if his girlfriend is 17.5 or older (2 years apart).
Fourth, the sexual activity must be consensual. That is, forced rape (i.e., “sex assault”) is still illegal, even if the above 3 conditions are met.
There are many ways to defend against criminal accusations besides the ones listed in the statute. These often turn on challenging the State’s evidence. This can range from legal arguments – like evidence obtained from an illegal search must be suppressed; to factual arguments – e.g., the minor is lying, sex never happened, the wrong person has been accused, etc.
Challenges can be made to the witness statements, forensic evidence, and anything else used to “prove” guilt. The various challenges to criminal law are too varied and case-specific to describe in this article. In fact, one can spend their entire lifetime studying these various defenses – and some do. i.e., criminal defense attorneys!
What To Do If Accused of Statutory Rape?
First, do not discuss the case with anyone who is not your attorney. Second, hire a good attorney! And fast. Sex crimes are very complex and can turn on the smallest detail. It is imperative that you hire counsel to begin working on your behalf immediately.
At DM Cantor, we can even begin working on your case before the State has even filed an indictment or an arrest has been made. In other words, if you even think that someone is making allegations of sexual abuse, sexual conduct, or any other crime – against you – you should seriously consider hiring an excellent legal team fast. The consequences of such allegations can be life-ruining and time is of the essence.
Again, do not discuss your case with anyone other than a licensed attorney that you are consulting with or whom you’ve hired to represent you.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, or any crime, please call us today at (602) 307-0808.
If you are convicted of certain types of sex offenses in Arizona, you will be required to register as a sex offender. The restrictions that will be placed on you will depend on your level of risk. To determine which level a sex offender should be assigned to, a designated agency administers a sex offender assessment. This assessment is used to evaluate risk across 19 different areas, and your score on the assessment will be used to assign you a sex offender level.
If you are facing charges that might require you to register as a sex offender if you are convicted, you should talk to an experienced sex crimes defense attorney at DM Cantor.
What are the Risk Levels for Sex Offenders in Arizona?
In Arizona, sex offenders who are required to register with the state are assigned to one of three primary levels of risk. The risk levels are number from one to three:
Level One is assigned to people who have the lowest risk of reoffending.
Level Two sex offenders are deemed to pose a moderate risk of reoffending.
Level Three sex offenders are deemed to have the highest risk of reoffending and of being potential threats to public safety in their communities.
The risks are based on the information that is available about the sex offender and can impact the length of time that an offender will be required to register in Arizona. Other factors that can impact the assigned level can include the time between the registration and the risk level assignment and any pending confirmation or action of the registration of the person.
The different levels also have different restrictions and requirements. Level one sex offenders must register with the sheriff in the county in which they live. The sheriff’s office keeps the sex offender’s records and may provide notice to the people who live with the sex offender.
Level two sex offenders are deemed to be at risk of reoffending but do not have as high of a risk as level three sex offenders. If you are assigned a level two risk, you must register with the sheriff’s department in your county. The sheriff’s office will then notify the homes, schools, and community groups in your neighborhood as well as your employer.
Level three sex offenders are deemed to have the highest risk of reoffending. If you are assigned a level three risk, your registration requirements will be onerous. You will have to register with your local sheriff’s department. People who live in the neighborhoods that surround you will be notified that you live in the area. Flyers will be created with your picture, name, address, and criminal history. These flyers will be handed out door to door to homes, schools, and community groups in your neighborhood. The sheriff’s department will also send press releases to the local newspapers and television stations. Finally, your employer will be notified that you are a registered sex offender.
Additionally, the location of where you live will be publicly posted.
The level of risk that you will be assigned is based on the state’s assessment of how likely you are to commit another sex offense in the future. The state views this risk as a potential danger to your community and society. Your risk level will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case and the likelihood that you might cause harm to someone else when you are no longer in jail or prison.
The popularity of sexting continues to increase amongst the adult population in the United States. According to CBS News, a research project was conducted at Drexel University with U.S. adult residents between the ages of 18 and 82. Of the 870 participants, 88% admitted to sexting once, and 82% admitted to sexting within the past year. While this study proves that adult texting is quite popular, sexting among minors has actually decreased between 2008 and 2013. Nonetheless, minors are still sexting, making it a criminal act.
The question of is sexting a sex crime amongst adults in Arizona varies from case to case because the sexting act can be linked to other offenses, which then can make sexting a crime. Generally speaking, sexting between two consenting adults is not a crime in the State of Arizona. However, if either one of the involved parties does not give consent to the sexting act, charges like harassment, emotional distress and obscenity can be filed. Harassment examples of adult sexting are someone who sends unwanted explicit messages and images to someone, or someone who asks or demands nude pictures or messages from someone.
What Is Sexting?
To be clear on the definition of the term, sexting is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone. While this is the exact definition of the word in the dictionary, sexting is not limited to cell phones. Sexting can be done via e-mail, instant messenger chat rooms, and social media as well. It is a combination of the two words; sex and text. Sexting can be between a married couple who exchange sexy messages and pictures to entice their spouse and give them something spicy to look at to get them through the day. It could also be a man and woman who just met and are mutually attracted to one another. They may want to consensually exchange suggestive pictures and messages for both to enjoy at his or her discretion.
However, there are other forms of sexting that are seen as betraying, perverse, and demoralizing. When minors are involved, the act is criminal, regardless of the conditions. General examples of sexting gone wrong is an exchange of pictures and messages between adults and minors, someone sending sexual messages and photos to someone without the recipient’s consent, or someone using sexting as a coercion tactic, like blackmail. In determining criminality (with the exception of juvenile involvement), this is where it can get murky because the act of sexting can easily spill over into other issues.
If you’re arrested for a crime in Arizona, you will likely be given a bond by the judge in your case. When you receive this bond, you’ll have to abide by several “bail conditions.” What are these bond conditions? They’re particular to every case, but in most instances, they will be based on special factors related to your crime. If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, for instance, you will likely be required to attend alcohol classes or put an interlock device in your car. You may be required to avoid contact with any victim in your case. Almost each types of bond in Arizona will include conditions related to avoiding drug use or future crimes. The interesting question then revolves around what happens if you violate these conditions. Here’s a guide.
Man vs. Judge: What options will the court have if I violate my bail conditions?
At the outset, you should know that the trial judge will have the power to revoke your bond if you fail to live up to the conditions under which it was imposed. Judges have significant leeway to make their own decisions during this process. Some will give you a break, allowing you to continue on bond. Others will drive a hard bargain, revoking your bond the first time you make a mistake. Your will lawyer should have a good sense of just how restrictive your judge will be.
When you are arrested or convicted of drunk driving, resulting criminal charges can heavily affect your daily life. You may lose your job, struggle to find a new position, get expelled from college and even suffer credit problems. Your insurance is likely to cost more. Also, if you are in politics or hold other positions scrutinized by the public, you will likely experience trouble gaining those roles in the future – if you are eligible to hold office, at all.
In Arizona, if you have been convicted of DUI you may be eligible for a Set Aside (ARS 13-907). To find out if your case is eligible for a Set Aside, call DM Cantor.
What a Set Aside / Expungement can do for DUI Convictions
Depending upon the circumstances of each individual’s case, it is often possible to have a DUI, drug-related or other conviction set aside by a lawyer for Set Aside. First, you must complete all of the conditions of your sentence and associated probation. If you have achieved this and have otherwise cooperated as you should, the court may agree to have your DUI or criminal records Set Aside.Read More
Teaching License Preserved (with Drug Test & Probation) – Arizona State Board of Education Hearing – AZ Board of Education v. Mr. F (DMC No. 12888) (Board of Education Case No. C-2013-037): Police had responded to Mr. F’s neighborhood regarding reports of gunshots fired. They made contact with various residents, and spoke with Mr. F and his girlfriend. Although there was no knowledge of the gunshots, or issues between them, the Police smelled an odor of marijuana. They subsequently entered Mr. F’s residence and questioned him and his girlfriend.
In plain sight was some marijuana and a bong. Neither of the occupants had a Medical Marijuana Card, and both were subsequently arrested. The Arizona Board of Education became involved and a Hearing was held in front of the Professional Practices Advisory Committee (“PPAC”). This occurred because Mr. F was employed by an elementary school in the Phoenix area. Although Mr. F was facing potential Felony charges, we were able to convince the Advisory Council that Mr. F should not permanently lose his teaching certification.
The Advisory Council agreed to allow him to be employed at a non-teaching desk job for 1 year while undergoing monthly drug tests. His teaching certification would be restored in full upon successful completion of those requirements. Mr. F successfully completed all requirements and went back to teaching full time. He is currently at work is very well liked and successful teacher.