Sexual abuse comes with serious penalties in Arizona. If you’re facing sexual abuse charges or an adult or minor, you should speak with a Phoenix sexual abuse defense attorney as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights and protect your future. A person convicted of sexual abuse, whose victim was under 18 years of age, is required to register as a sex offender. Sexual abuse is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1404, which states that “a person commits sexual abuse by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact with any person who is fifteen or more years of age without the consent of that person, or with any person who is under fifteen years of age if the sexual contact involves only the female breast”.
Note that sexual contact involving anything other than the female breast would constitute molestation of a child when the victim was under 15 years of age. It is not acceptable to use the defense that the other person consented if the other person was 15, 16, or 17-years-old and the defendant was in a position of trust (i.e. parent, stepparent, teacher, clergyman, coach or romantic partner of the victim’s parent) for sexual abuse charges. See A.R.S. § 13-1401(A)(2).
Sexual contact is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1401. It means “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.” However, sexual contact does not include direct or indirect touching or manipulating during caretaking responsibilities, so long as an objective, a reasonable person would recognize the touching as normal and reasonable under the circumstances.
Meanwhile, A.R.S. § 13-1401(A)(7) states that “without consent” includes situations where the victim is:
The language of the sexual contact statute language makes clear that non-consensual sexual contact with a person who is 15 or older is unlawful. Meanwhile, the sexual abuse statute flatly prohibits sexual contact with any person under 15-years-old due to the legislature’s conclusion such a person is incapable of consenting to such contact due to their youth. If you are facing sexual abuse charges and have questions about sexual contact laws in Arizona, speak with a Phoenix criminal lawyer experienced in defending against sexual abuse charges.
A conviction for sexual abuse carries significant ramifications, including the possibility of required sex offender registration, lifetime sex offender probation, and a term of imprisonment. If you are charged with sexual abuse, you need an aggressive and experienced Phoenix sexual abuse defense attorney to fight you so that you have the best chance possible of avoiding life-altering consequences. Call Stone Rose Law now at (480) 498-8998 for a free consultation.