Arizona Statutory Rape Laws

Nobody wants to think that teenager is sexually active. Deep down you know there’s a chance that it’s happening, but you don’t want to accept it. The fear is that someone older than your child could take advantage of them. The truth is that, until somebody reaches the age of eighteen (18), they are still a child. That’s why the statutory rape laws in Arizona use 18 as the threshold age for consent. Arizona criminal defense lawyers understand this. However, they sometimes have a hard time explaining this to their client.

The statutory rape laws in Arizona are intended to protect children. When teenagers are under the age of 18, they cannot be considered adults. They can’t handle adult decisions. That’s why it’s illegal for someone eighteen years or older to have sexual relations with a minor. There’s no way to say the minor gave consent because, under the law, they can’t possibly consent to an adult behavior like this. The penalties under the statutory rape laws in Arizona are severe. If your son or daughter have been charged with this crime, you need to call a criminal defense attorney in Arizona right away.

What Does the State Have to Prove to Convict You of Statutory Rape?

If someone has sex with a minor, it isn’t all that difficult for the prosecutor to prove they’re guilty of statutory rape. According to the statutory rape laws in Arizona, anybody who engages in sexual contact with someone under the age of eighteen (18) is guilty of this crime. In order to prove that you’re guilty, the State must demonstrate the following:

  • The defendant is 18 years of age or older
  • The victim is 17 years old or younger
  • The defendant engaged in any sort of sexual contact with the victim
  • The law covers both sexual intercourse and oral sex

One of the biggest excuses for having sex with a minor is that the defendant didn’t know they were underage. For the most part, the State doesn’t care if you know or not. If convicted of statutory rape, your son or daughter will suffer stiff penalties.

What Are the Penalties for Statutory Rape in Arizona?

The laws defining statutory rape in Arizona are pretty straight forward. The penalties, however, can be a bit more confusing. The exact penalty will depend on two things:
(1) the age of the defendant and (2) the relationship between the victim and the defendant. The statutory rape laws in Arizona proscribe the following penalties:

  • If there is no special relationship with the victim, the defendant will be sentenced to 1.5 years. If the victim is 15 or younger, the sentence will be increased to seven (7) years.
  • If any of the following relationships exist, the defendant will be sentenced to seven (7) years:
    • Parent
    • Stepparent or adoptive parent
    • Legal guardian or foster parent
    • Teacher
    • Priest or clergy

The reason these special cases carry a heavier sentence is because it is classified as a Class 2 felony. The other offenses listed above, for the most part, are deemed a Class 6 felony.

Contact an Experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer Right Away

If someone in your family is charged with a crime under the statutory rape laws in Arizona, you need help. Call and talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Arizona right away. They’ll work hard to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. There is simply too much at stake to try to handle this on your own. Call ur office right away and schedule your initial consultation.