In Arizona, per ARS §13-1406 “Sexual Assault”, or “Rape”, occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without consent of such a person.
Sexual Assault is one of the most severe crimes that a person can be charged with, and the potential punishments are so lengthy that these charges are sometimes referred to as “life-enders.”
Watch this short video where certified sex crimes specialist David Cantor explains Sexual Assault:
Possible Punishments for Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault is a class two (2) felony and caries serious sentences. These sentences include the following:
- For a first offense, the minimum is five and one quarter (5.25) years in prison, the presumptive is seven (7) years, and the maximum is fourteen (14) years of incarceration.
- If the defendant has one (1) allegeable historical prior felony conviction, the punishment range is increased to a minimum of seven (7) years in prison, the presumptive is ten and one half (10.5), and the maximum is twenty-one (21) years in prison.
- If the defendant has two (2) or more allegeable historical prior felony convictions, the minimum is fourteen (14) years in prison, the presumptive is fifteen and three quarters (15.75) years in prison, and the maximum is twenty-eight (28) years in prison.
- If the Sexual Assault involved any intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury, the defendant can be sentenced sentenced from twenty-five (25) years to life in prison. A person must serve 100% of their time before they are eligible for release.
- Note: In addition, if any type of drug has been used in the commission of the offense (i.e. a “roofie” or “date rape drug”) then an additional three (3) years is added to the minimum, presumptive, and maximum sentences.
If the sexual assault victim was a minor under the age of fifteen (15), it is then considered a Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC), which carries the following punishment for each and every conviction:
- For a first offense, thirteen (13) years minimum in prison, twenty (20) years presumptive in prison, twenty-seven (27) years maximum incarceration.
- If convicted of one previous predicate felony (which includes a prior DCAC, among other serious felonies), the range of punishment increases to a minimum twenty-three (23) years, presumptive thirty years (30), and maximum thirty-seven (37) years.
- If the victim was age twelve (12) or under, the defendant can be sentenced to a term of incarceration of thirty-five (35) years to life, or the judge may impose a sentence of minimum thirteen (13) years incarceration, presumptive twenty years (20), and maximum twenty-seven years (27) incarceration.
Because these are DCAC convictions, 100% of the prison time must be served before being eligible for release. In addition, if the person is convicted of two (2) counts, they must be run consecutive to each other.
Sexual assault charges, regardless of the victim’s age, will require you to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of your life, and 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 only with the consent of your Probation Officer.
Possible Defenses for Sexual Assault
The major defense to Sexual Assault/Rape charges is that the alleged “victim” did, in fact, consent to the sexual activity when it occurred. Sexual Assault charges can be extremely dangerous in the context of college parties or bar situations. We have seen many false claims filed by women who were intoxicated, had sexual relations with another intoxicated individual, and then later regretted their decision for any number of reasons, including because they are worried about their reputation, have a boyfriend/girlfriend who would break up with them, or are angry at the alleged “rapist” for some reason.
For example, after a night of partying, a college student might be taunted by schoolmates who use derogatory terms about their sexual habits. The alleged “victim” is now forced to either acknowledge to their taunting friends that they are a “slut,” or they can “save face” and claim that they were “taken advantage of.” We would use a variety of investigative techniques to contradict the evidence presented by the prosecutor that the defendant raped the alleged “rape victim.”
Elements that are Key to a Solid Defense
In rape cases, time is of the essence. It is important to ensure that all medical evidence (if there is any), including DNA and Rape Kit report are preserved to allow the defense experts to examine; witnesses at the bar or party are contacted and interviewed immediately; video surveillance is subpoenaed and reviewed; a polygraph be conducted on the accused; the “crime scene” be photographed and diagrammed; and potential character witnesses are identified and interviewed to determine the defendant and the alleged victim’s propensity and reputation for promiscuity and untruthfulness.
Additionally, because our law firm of sex crime defense attorneys in Phoenix 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 making a confession 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.
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; Rape Kits; etc.. 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 Assault lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case. Be sure you review our Sexual Assault case victories.