Sexual Abuse – A.R.S. § 13-1404

Sexual Abuse, charged for a violation of Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 13-1404 is a serious allegation with potentially serious consequences.

If the State charges you with Sexual Abuse then it is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  • Intentionally or knowingly engaged in sexual contact with a person who is 15 years or older without consent of that person

Or

  • Intentionally or knowingly engaged in sexual contact with a person under 15 years of age if the contact involved only the female breast.

“Sexual Contact” is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1401(3) 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”

“Without consent” is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1401(7) as including those situations where the victim is coerced by the immediate or threatened use of force against them or their property; where the victim is incapable of consent due to mental disorder, defect, drugs, alcohol, sleep, or any other impairment of cognition and the defendant knew or should have known about it; the victim is intentionally deceived as to the nature of the act; the victim is intentionally deceived to erroneously believe that the defendant is their spouse.

Punishment for Child Abuse

Like most sex charges, the punishment for Sexual Abuse depends on the age of the victim.

If the victim is 18 years of age or older, then Sexual Abuse is a Class 5 felony and carries a prison range of 0.5 to 2.5 years in prison, the possibility of lifetime probation, and possible registration as a sex offender.

If the victim is between 15 and 17 years of age, then Sexual Abuse is a Class 5 Felony and carries a prison range of 0.5 to 2.5 years in prison, possibility of lifetime probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

If the victim is younger than 15 then Sexual Abuse is a Class 3 Felony and carries a prison range of 2.5 to 7.5 years, possibility of lifetime probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Regardless of the age, a conviction for Sexual Abuse for a violation of A.R.S. § 13-1404 would lead to a permanent felony for a sex offense and all of the secondary effects that come with that, including difficulty obtaining work, loans, security clearances, and the loss of civil rights and second amendment rights.

What Can Be Done and What Defenses Are Available

If you are accused of committing Sexual Abuse the first step is to contact an attorney.  You should never speak to law enforcement about these allegations with speaking to an attorney first.  Law enforcement is there to get convictions, not to get your story.  They will twist your words and make you seem guilty, even if you are not.  If you are questioned, invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.

A skilled sex crimes attorney can use many tools to make the State unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • An independent investigation to show why the victim and other witnesses might lie
  • Identifying patterns of prior false reports by the victim
  • Ensuring that your Miranda rights and right to counsel were respected by the police

Other tools can be used to reduce the damage of these cases and build mitigation:

  • Risk assessments
  • Child sexual abuse experts
  • Mitigation specialists

Allegations of a sex crime can alter your life forever.  A conviction for a sex crime can destroy your life.  Don’t face these allegations by yourself.  Skilled, aggressive representation can be the difference between freedom and incarceration.

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