Legal Help For Sexual Assault Charges
Arizona law has a very clear definition of rape, or “sexual assault.” Intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual acts on a person without their consent is sexual assault. This includes individuals who for any reason are legally or otherwise unable to provide consent. If the victim is unable to consent due to their age, the crime can be charged differently.
If you’re facing sexual assault charges, you need to understand what the laws mean, the possible penalties, and how to defend yourself against these charges.
How Sexual Assault Is Punished When The Victim Is An Adult
The court reviews a lot of factors when sentencing someone found guilty of sexual assault. None of these punishments would be considered minor – not even for first offenders. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony, and it’s worth noting that the only class 1 felony is murder. Sexual assault convictions absolutely have the potential to ruin lives.
For a first time offense, the punishment is a minimum of 5 ½ years in prison with a 14 year maximum. The average sentence sits somewhere around 7 years. For people with similar prior convictions, the minimum becomes 7 years and the maximum becomes 21 years, with an average sentence of about 10 ½ years. For two prior similar convictions, the minimum is 14 years and the maximum is 28 years. The average sentence is 15 ¾ years.
Additional Sexual Assault Penalties
Sexual assaults have specific sentencing ranges, but certain factors can add time to a sentence. Some penalties will be imposed no matter the circumstances of the assault as a matter of formality.
If any incapacitating substances (drugs that cause lack of consciousness, anything that may be considered a date rape drug, etc.) were used in the commission of the sexual assault, add three years to any given sentence. It extends the minimums, maximums, and averages. These substances add a layer of complexity to the case.
Sexual assault cases that involve serious physical violence can lead directly to a 25 years to life prison sentencing scenario. There is no early release for these crimes – not even for model inmates. The entirety of the sentence is always carried out—called “flat time.”
It’s also worth noting that no matter the circumstances, you will be required to register as a sex offender for LIFE. This means you are legally forbidden from having contact with anyone under the age of 18 years. If you have children, they are not excluded. You will need to meet a long list of legal requirements before you are allowed to visit with your own underage family members, even if you’ve never committed a crime against a child before.
Sexual Assault Penalties When The Victim Is Underage
Arizona classifies certain actions as Dangerous Crimes Against Children. If the victim in a sexual assault case was under the age of 15, they are part of a protected class of people. Crimes against children are punished especially severely. Every conviction runs consecutively, and they all face the same penalty. There is no early release for these crimes.
Dangerous Crimes Against Children are punishable by a minimum of 13 years in prison and a maximum of 27 years in prison. The average sentence is 20 years behind bars. Previous conviction for a violent felony, whether or not it was a Dangerous Crimes Against Children offense, pushes the minimum to 23 years in prison and the maximum to 37 years in prison.
If the victim was under 12 years of age, the crime becomes punishable by 35 years incarceration to life. The judge may still use the previous penalties, despite this option.
Defenses Against Sexual Assault
False sexual assault accusations are rare, but they do happen. They often stem from personal vendettas, embarrassment, regret, or the desire to protect one’s own reputation. If you believe you are being falsely accused, we can review the evidence against you. If your accuser is not credible or there is insufficient evidence, we may be able to have the case dismissed.
We can also look for inconsistencies or protocol failures. Mismanaged evidence, specifically as it pertains to DNA, should raise a lot of cause for concern. A total lack of DNA can severely hamper a case – perhaps the victim was sexually assaulted by someone else who may walk free as a result of your wrongful conviction. If the case against you hinges on mistaken identity, that wouldn’t be the first time the courts have seen such a scenario. You might have an alibi.
Getting Legal Help
Sexual assault convictions are some of the hardest to live with. If you’re being accused of sexual assault, you need to contact a really good lawyer immediately. Doug Taylor Law is willing to provide you with a free consultation to review the facts of your face and prepare your strongest possible defense. We’re aggressive and we will ruthlessly defend your freedom.