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Sexual Assault

Last Modified: April 27, 2018 at 12:42 am

Regardless of if you’re in the area of Phoenix, or in any location in Arizona, according to ARS §13-1406 Sexual Assault or Rape charges in Arizona takes place when a person knowingly or intentionally engages in oral sexual contact or sexual contact with any person (regardless of gender) without that person’s consent. Sexual assault is considered one of the most serious crimes an individual can be charged with, and the possible consequences are so extensive that this type of charge is often referred to as a “life ender.”

Do you need the services of an Arizona sexual assault lawyer? If so, contact the Dwane Cates Law Group, PLLC if you are facing sexual assault or rape charges.

Potential Consequences for Sexual Assault and Rape Charges

Sexual assault is considered a class two felony. Each time someone faces these charges, the possible punishment is increased. Learn more here:

  • First offense: For a first offense the minimum time in prison is 5.25 years, or five years and three months, with the presumptive being seven years and the maximum sentence being 14 years behind bars.
  • Those with 1 prior offense: If the individual has a prior felony conviction, then the possible punishment range will be increased to a minimum of seven years in jail, with the presumptive being 10 years, six months, and the maximum for this being 21 years behind bars.
  • Those with 2 prior offenses: If the individual has two or more prior felony convictions, then the minimum sentence will be 14 years behind bars, with the presumptive being 15 years and 9 months, and the maximum time behind bars being 28 years.

It is also important to note, that if there is any type of drug proven to be used while the offense is being perpetrated, for example if there is proof of the “date rape drug” or a “roofie” then the individual will have an additional three years automatically added to the minimum, the presumptive and the maximum sentences that were highlighted above.

A last consideration is that if the sexual assault or rape included any type of knowing or intentional infliction of some type of serious physical injury, then the defendant may face additional sentence that ranges from 25 years in prison, up to life in prison. An individual facing these charges will be required to serve 100 percent of the time they are given before they will even be considered to be released.

Additional Considerations for Sexual Assault and Rape Charges

If there are additional circumstances surrounding the case, then additional consequences may be faced by the perpetrator.

For example, if the sexual assault victim was 15 years of age, or younger, then it is considered a DCAC – Dangerous Crimes Against Children. This situation will carry a punishment for every conviction:

  • A minimum of 13 years in prison
  • A presumptive of 20 years in prison
  • A maximum incarceration period of 27 years

If someone is convicted of one of the prior predicate felonies – which includes any previous DCAC or another type of serious felony – then the range of the consequences is going to increase to the following:

  • Minimum period in prison of 23 years
  • Presumptive period in prison of 30 years
  • Maximum period of incarceration of 35 years up to life in prison

If there is a situation where the victim of the crime was 12 years of age or younger, then the person who committed the crime may face a period of incarceration that ranges from 35 years up to life in prison. Additionally, the judge may also impose the following consequences:

  • 13 years in prison as a minimum
  • 20 years in prison as a presumptive
  • 27 years of incarceration as a maximum

Due to the fact that these are considered DCAC convictions, it is necessary for 100 percent of the prison time needs to be served before the person is eligible to be released. Also, if the prison is convicted for two counts, then they have to run consecutive to one another.

Registering as a Sex Offender

If a person is charged with sexual assault charges, regardless of the victims age at the time of the crime, it will require the perpetrator to register as a sex offender – for the rest of the person’s life. This means the individual will not be permitted to have contact with anyone who is under the age of 18 – and this includes the person’s own children – without going through several testing procedures and only if the individual’s probation officer consents to this.

Potential Defenses for Charges of Sexual Assault

The primary defense to any sexual assault or rape charge is that the proposed “victim” agreed or consented to the sexual activity when it took place. In relation to bar situations or college parties, sexual assault charges are often extremely dangerous. Several false claims have been filed by women who (at the time of the event) were intoxicated, wound up engaging in sexual relations with someone else who was intoxicated, and then later regretted the decision they made to do this. There are a wide array of reasons this may have happened, including because the proposed victim was worried about their reputation, they had a girlfriend or boyfriend who would break up with them if it was consensual, or they became angry at the person accused of “rape” for some reason.

One example of this is if after a night of partying with other college students, the “victim” was taunted or teased by schoolmates who used various derogatory terms about their sexual habits. Now, the “victim” is forced to either acknowledge that they are a “slut” or they can try to “save face” and make the claim they were “taken advantage of.” In this situation, the attorney hired would use various investigative techniques to help and contradict the evidence that was presented by the prosecuting attorney that the defendant actually “raped” the proposed “rape victim.”

The Importance of Timing

In any type of sexual assault or rape case, time is a crucial factor to consider. It is essential that a person makes sure that all medical evidence – if there is any available – which includes Rape Kit and DNA reports are preserved to let the defense attorneys examine. Other important factors that can be invaluable when trying to build a defense include witnesses at the party or bar, video surveillance, which can be subpoenaed, and polygraphs conducted on the person accused of these actions.

It is also imperative that the crime scene is diagrammed and photographed and that possible character witnesses are found and interviewed to figure out if the alleged victim and defendant’s propensity and reputation regarding untruthfulness and promiscuity.

Also, because our law firm works to fight a conviction from any possible angle, we would make certain to assert several challenges and defenses to any constitutional violations that may be present in a criminal case. The potential for those is both diverse and numerous.

Defending a Sexual Assault or Rape Case

One of the most common that we assert is a violation of a person’s Miranda rights. In the state of Arizona, the standard of an incriminating statement is only admissible into the case’s evidence is based on a standard of “voluntariness.” If we are able to demonstrate that the police coerced our client – for example tricked or intimidated you – into making the confession or some other type of inculpatory statement, or if they didn’t properly read your Miranda Rights, then we will be able to suppress the statements, as well as any evidence that was gathered because of a direct result of the statements made.

Another extremely common defense we can use is the denial of a right to Counsel. This happens if a suspect is in custody, makes the request to talk to a lawyer, but they are denied this and the questioning goes on.

Additional defenses may include things such as challenging the validity of a search warrant or if there were any type of “forensic flaws” that took place during an investigation of the case. While this will depend on what else a person is charged with, it could include the following:

  • A flawed procedure that includes urine, breath or blood testing
  • A misleading police report which includes a misstatement, flawed photo line-ups, false statements or an inaccurate reconstruction of the crime scene

It is crucial that you hire a professional and experienced sexual assault attorney to defend your case. You need someone who fully understands all the possible defenses to help assert your case. You should make sure that you review all the wins the law firm or lawyer has had in the past.

Make sure to consider all this when trying to find a quality attorney for a sexual assault or rape charge. This will help ensure that you get the best possible defense for your situation and that you have the best possible chance of minimizing the possible punishment that you are facing. At Dwane Cates Law Group, PLLC, our team can help – call us today for a free consultation.