In Arizona, per ARS §13-1405, Sexual Conduct with a Minor is defined by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under eighteen (18) years of age.
Sexual intercourse includes anything involving “penetration.” Sexual conduct with a minor who is fifteen (15), sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years old is charged as a class six (6) felony. Sexual conduct with minor (14) years of age or younger is charged as a class two (2) felony, and is punishable pursuant to the Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) statue.
Possible Punishment for Sexual Conduct with a Minor
For charges of sexual conduct of a child / alleged victim that is 15 to 17 years of age, this is a class six (6) felony and has a range of punishments of the following:
- Probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or four (4) months in prison to two (2) years in prison for a first offense.
- If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is nine (9) months to two and three quarters (2.75) years in prison.
- If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) to five and three quarters (5.75) years of incarceration.
If the alleged victim is between the ages of 12 and 14, this is a Class 2 Felony and carries the following punishments:
- The Judge can sentence the defendant to thirteen (13) years minimum in prison; twenty (20) years presumptive in prison; and twenty-seven (27) years in prison maximum.
- If the defendant is convicted of two (2) counts, then by law the Judge must “stack” or run these charges “consecutive”. This means the range of punishment now becomes twenty-six (26) years minimum; forty (40) years presumptive; and fifty-four (54) years maximum in prison (day-for-day prison time).
- If the defendant has previously been convicted of a predicate offense, (any Dangerous Crime Against a Child, or other crimes) the range of punishment is a minimum of 23 years, presumptive 30 years, and maximum 37 years incarceration.
If the child is twelve (12) years of age or younger, then the judge has only two (2) sentence choices:
- Twenty (20) years in prison, or thirty-five (35) years to life in prison! Again, this must run “consecutive” with any other DCAC charge.
NOTE: A conviction will also require you to Register as a Sex Offender for the rest of your life! Additionally, you are not allowed to have any contact with anyone under the age of eighteen (18) (this includes your own children), without going through numerous testing procedures and with the consent of your probation officer.
Possible Defenses to Sexual Conduct with a Minor
Many times these charges for Sexual Conduct with a Minor arise during the process of a divorce proceeding where the defendants soon to be ex-spouse or an angry teenager who wants her father or step-father “out of the picture”, makes up these false allegations.
Timing is Critical to Your Case
It is important to challenge these charges immediately by reviewing how the report was initially received, obtaining any Child Protective Service reports which were prepared, questioning any forensic interviewers which may have talked to the child, obtaining any divorce paperwork that may have previously been filed, and potentially obtain a polygraph of the defendant in order to show that he is innocent.
This is why these allegations of Sexual Conduct with a Minor are so dangerous. Another defense to this charge is that the defendant did not know that the minor was under the age of eighteen. This situation often occurs when the minor lies about their age to the defendant. Cross-examination and interviewing all parties involved are crucial to establishing this defense.
Largest Libraries on Research Materials
Sexual Conduct with a Minor has far-reaching and drastic consequences. Thus, it is very important to have the best defense team possible. At DM Cantor, we handle a very high percentage of the Sex Crime cases involving private counsel in the State of Arizona.
We have one of the largest libraries with research materials devoted to challenging accusations involving sex crimes, sex crimes against children, including Sexual Conduct with a Minor. In addition, our attorneys have attended numerous seminars sponsored by the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center (the leading center in the United States which assists in the defense of the falsely accused).
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Our attorneys have been highly trained in the clinical and forensic interviewing techniques of children and their families. This allows us to properly question detectives and other mental health professionals who may have initially interviewed the alleged victim.
If the interviewing process was not done correctly, it can often be shown that the detective “led” the alleged victim into giving the necessary answers required to charge the defendant.
Miranda Rights Violation
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.”
In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard.
If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into confessing to a crime or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.
Additional Defenses to Sex Crime Charges
In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney but is denied and questioning continues.
Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case.
Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding:
- Blood, breath, and urine testing
- Fingerprints analysis
- DNA testing; ballistics
- Computer forensics analysis/cloning hard drive procedures
- Forensic financial accounting reviews
Sloppy or Misleading Police Reports
Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups, and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction.
It is important to hire a skilled Sexual Conduct with a Minor lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case. Be sure to review our Sexual Conduct with a Minor case victories and compare them with other lawyers in Phoenix.