Any crime can hurt the individuals directly involved. Still, a sex crime tends to take on a different gravity given the terrible impact it can have on the victim.
The people who commit sex crimes can leave behind deeply traumatized victims in their wake. We need to recognize if we see a crime of that nature, we should act against it as soon as possible.
Throughout this article, we will discuss the different acts considered as sex crimes in the state of Arizona. We will also talk about the potential penalties those guilty of committing sex crimes may face.
Infidelity is among the leading causes of divorce in the United States. Discovering evidence of infidelity can be a devastating revelation. It can erode the foundation of a family and cause the victim to lose trust in any potential partner moving forward.
Cheating on one’s spouse by having sexual relations with another person is considered a crime in Arizona.
According to state law, any married person who has sexual intercourse with anyone other than their spouse is guilty of adultery. Furthermore, an unmarried individual who has sexual intercourse with a married person can also be guilty of adultery.
An important thing to note about adultery is that the charges will not push forward until the spouse they cheated on files a complaint.
The act of adultery is a class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona. Class 3 misdemeanors come with a jail sentence that is no longer than thirty days and a fine no greater than $500.
Molesting a child is one of the most heinous acts any person can commit. In Arizona law, they define child molestation as intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual conduct with a child under fifteen years old.
If the sexual contact only involves the female breast, that is a different crime.
Child molestation is a class 2 felony in Arizona and has severe penalties. The minimum prison sentence is ten years, while the maximum sentence is twenty-four years. Guilty parties will also pay a fine no greater than $150,000.
Anyone guilty of child molestation must also register as a sex offender.
Exposing certain parts of the body carelessly when another person is present can constitute an indecent exposure charge. To be more specific, those who expose their genitals and anus can be found guilty of the mentioned offense.
Officials can charge women who expose the areolas and/or nipples of their breasts with this sex crime. It is important to note that an exception is made to this when a mother is breastfeeding.
Urinating in public can potentially lead to an indecent exposure charge. It is possible that the person urinating unwittingly exposed their body to someone nearby. There is an argument to be made that such an action constitutes indecent exposure.
A factor that can determine the severity of the penalties in indecent exposure cases is the age of the individual exposed.
If the victim of the crime is over fifteen years of age, the defendant will receive a class 1 misdemeanor. Violators may spend up to six months in jail and pay a fine no greater than $2500.
If the victim is under fifteen years of age, the charge will be a class 6 felony. The prison sentence for a class 6 felony ranges from six months to eighteen months. Defendants will also pay a fine no greater than $150,000.
Note that repeated charges of indecent exposure can lead to significantly longer prison sentences. It is possible that an offender may spend up to twelve years in prison for indecent exposure.
Public Sexual Indecency
People sometimes confuse indecent exposure and public sexual indecency with one another. Indecent exposure stems from exposing certain parts of the body. Public sexual indecency focuses more on committing sexual acts in public while another person is present.
The sexual acts in question include sexual conduct, oral sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, and an act of bestiality.
Public sexual indecency is a class 1 misdemeanor if the person exposed to the sexual acts is over fifteen years old. If the victim is younger, the charge will be a class 5 felony. Class 5 felonies carry a potential prison sentence ranging from nine months to two years.
Being charged with public sexual indecency more than once will also lead to a longer prison sentence.
Sexual abuse accounts for a wide variety of crimes. The definition of sexual abuse can also change depending on the age of the victim.
Let us focus first on the definition of sexual abuse that concerns two adults.
According to Arizona law, anyone who intentionally or knowingly engages in sexual contact with another adult without that person’s consent is guilty of sexual abuse. Committing sexual abuse against another adult is a class 5 felony.
Sexual Abuse Involving Minors
Sexual abuse varies quite a bit when a minor is involved.
Earlier, it was noted that engaging in sexual contact with a person under fifteen years of age constitutes child molestation, but not if the contact is limited to the female breast. Sexual abuse is the crime that accounts for sexual contact limited to the female breast of minors under fifteen years of age.
In cases where one party is an adult and the other is fifteen to eighteen years old, they can still receive a sexual abuse charge. That holds true, whether the victim consented to the act if the defendant is a person in a position of trust.
Arizona law defines people in a “position of trust” as the minor’s parents, adoptive parents, stepparents, foster parents, legal guardians, teachers, coaches, priests, or clergymen. An individual committed to a romantic/sexual relationship with the minor’s parent, adoptive parent, stepparent, foster parent, or legal guardian is a person in a “position of trust.”
Sexual abuses involving minors are class 3 felonies. The prison sentence for a class 3 felony ranges from two and a half years to seven years. Violators must also pay a fine and register as sex offenders.
The depraved act of sexual assault is a horrendous crime in Arizona. Sexual assault is when one person intentionally engages in sexual intercourse or oral contact with another person who has not consented to the act.
Sexual assault is a class 2 felony, but it carries different penalties compared to the other crimes classified as such.
The minimum penalty for sexual assault is five years and three months in prison. The maximum prison sentence goes up to fourteen years. Repeat offenders can also spend up to twenty-eight years in prison due to their crimes.
The penalties are even harsher for those found guilty of sexually assaulting a child under twelve years of age.
A person who sexually assaulted a minor can receive life in prison. They are also not eligible to be pardoned, released, or have their sentence suspended until they have served thirty-five years in confinement. The state also requires sex offenders to register.
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
The exploitation of children is another form of abuse. The exploitation can become sexual depending on what actions the children perform.
Officials can charge any person who records or photographs a minor engaging in sexual conduct with sexual exploitation of a minor. Even those who develop or duplicate the exploitative content in question can receive the same charge.
Sexual exploitation of a minor is not limited merely to producing or duplicating the exploitative content. Officials can also charge individuals if they distribute, transport, sell, purchase, or merely possess the graphic images and/or videos.
The crime is a class 2 felony in Arizona but has different penalties compared to other crimes in that group.
Upon being charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, the guilty party could face ten to twenty-four years in prison. Any person who commits this crime must also register as a sex offender.
Morally corrupt individuals will resort to underhanded means to get what they want. They are not above extorting others to satisfy their sexual desires. Anyone who resorts to that action is guilty of sexual extortion.
The first part of sexual extortion involves making a threat of some kind.
Typically, the threat comes in the form of the defendant saying they will tarnish their target’s reputation or damage their property. In some cases, the guilty party will attempt to extort the other party by threatening to release content depicting the other person performing acts of a sexual nature.
The other part is related to what the guilty party wishes to receive from their target. They may ask the party to engage in sexual acts together.
They may also ask for sexually explicit photos and/or videos from the other person.
Sexual extortion is a class 3 felony if the parties involved are adults. If the party is under fifteen years of age, the crime is a class 2 felony. An individual convicted of sexual extortion of a minor could spend five to 15 years in prison.
Unlawful Disclosure of Images Depicting States of Nudity or Specific Sexual Activities
Releasing images featuring a person who is naked and/or performing some kind of sexual act can be a crime in the state of Arizona. The act of releasing those images becomes a crime when they meet certain conditions.
First, the person in the image must be identifiable. They may be identifiable through their likeness or other identifying details present in the picture.
Next, the person in the images must also have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the image went to another person with the clear intent to be seen privately, it should not be released. The image taken by an electronic device like a smartphone does not change that.
Lastly, releasing the image becomes a crime if the person who did it had the intention of harming, harassing, threatening, or coercing the person in the picture.
As soon as it meets those conditions, the authorities can charge the person accused of disclosing the image with a crime. Releasing the images is typically a class 5 felony, but it becomes a class 4 felony if they use an electronic for the images.
One more thing to note here is that authorities can still charge a person with a crime even if they did not release the images. The mere act of threatening to release those pictures is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Last up is the sex crime known as voyeurism.
Voyeurism involves knowingly invading another person’s privacy without their knowledge to satisfy their sexual desires.
Invading their privacy in this context means photographing or recording them when they were not expecting to be photographed or recorded. The person being recorded or photographed must also be nude or partially nude, engaged in a sexual act, or urinating or defecating.
If the person in the picture or video also had their buttocks, genitalia, or their breasts exposed to the camera, that is also an act of voyeurism. Distributing the content produced from an act of voyeurism is a crime.
Voyeurism is a class 5 felony in Arizona. However, if the person in the photos and videos is recognizable, the crime elevates to a class 4 felony.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sex crime, you must seek justice right away. Reach out to us at the Schill Law Group and allow us to fight for justice in your case.