Public Sexual Indecency – Sex in Public – A.R.S. § 13-1403

Arizona has criminalized sexual acts done where another person can see them.  Like Indecent Exposure, Public Sexual Indecency for a violation of Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 13-1403 is a lower-level sex offense, but one that aggravates and still carries harsh penalties.

To prove that a person committed Public Sexual Indecency in violation of A.R.S. § 13-1403, the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intentionally or knowingly engaged in any of the following:

  • An act of sexual contact
  • An act of oral sexual contact
  • An act of sexual intercourse, or
  • An act of bestiality

while another person was present and the defendant was reckless about whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.

A.R.S. § 13-1401 defines the first three of the prohibited acts:

  • Sexual contact is “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;”
  • Oral sexual contact is “oral contact with the penis, vulva or anus.”
  • Sexual intercourse is “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;”

Bestiality is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1411 as engaging in the above with an animal or causing another person to do the same.  Animals are defined as a “nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian, either dead or alive.”

What Is the Punishment for Public Sexual Indecency

The punishment for Public Sexual Indecency depends largely on the age of the alleged victim and whether or not a person has prior convictions.

If the alleged victim is 15 years of age or older, then a conviction for Public Sexual Indecency in violation of A.R.S. § 13-1403 is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  A Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of 6 months in jail, $2,500 fine plus surcharges, and up to 3 years of probation.  Sex offender registration is discretionary.

If the alleged victim is under 15, and the defendant was reckless about whether a minor under the age of 15 is present, then Public Sexual Indecency is a Class 5 Felony.  It carries a potential prison sentence of 6 months to 2.5 years, up to lifetime probation, and discretionary sex offender registration, as well as a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.  If you have prior felony convictions then the prison range becomes significantly harsher and the offense becomes ineligible for probation.

A violation of Public Sexual Indecency pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1403 also aggravates from other prior convictions.  If you are convicted of felony Public Sexual Indecency and have two or more historical prior felony convictions for a violation of either Public Sexual Indecency pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1403 or Indecent Exposure pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1402 involving public sexual indecency or indecent exposure to a minor under 15 then there is a mandatory prison range of 6 years to 15 years, with no probation available.

Defenses to Public Sexual Indecency

Many defenses can be raised in Public Sexual Indecency.  First is attacking the mental state that the State has to prove.  An effective sex crimes attorney will argue that you did not act intentionally or knowingly, and that you were not reckless in whether the victim would be offended or alarmed.

Next, the specific acts can be attacked.  Often times in these cases the victim does not have a good line of sight, or thinks they see something they didn’t.  If they think they saw you masturbating, but in fact you were massaging your sore leg, that would be a defense.

Finally, an independent investigation guarantees that all possible explanations for false reports are explored and that the victims’ motive and bias are found if they exist.

A good sex crimes attorney also ensures that your constitutional rights are protected, including:

  • Miranda rights
  • Right to counsel
  • Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures

Because Public Sexual Indecency carries with it the potential for such harsh penalties, you need an experienced and aggressive sex crimes attorney in your corner.  Gurion Legal offers the benefit of a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist leading the charge on your case.  Contact us today for your free consultation so we can start making a defense custom-built for your case

“The goal of our Phoenix-based law firm is to defend the best interests of our clients and protect their constitutional right to justice.”