Does a sex crime conviction in Arizona mean I register as a sex offender?

Arizona has very strict laws when it comes to prosecuting and sentencing sex crimes.

Just before Halloween 2015, federal and state law enforcement teamed up to target sex offenders and suspects in Arizona. According to AZ Central, there were 70 arrests made for people who were suspects of sex crimes, had outstanding warrants or were fugitive offenders.

Law enforcement officers also reviewed if registered sex offenders were living in their listed homes and ensured they were not opening their doors to trick-or-treaters. People charged with or convicted of a sex crime in Phoenix should know what the consequences may be, especially when it comes to registering as a sex offender and the mandates that follow.

People required to register

Certain sex crimes are linked to mandatory sex offender registration. The law has an extensive list of such offenses, including the following:

  • Sexual abuse of someone younger than 18
  • Kidnapping if the victim is younger than 18 and not a child of the offender
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual conduct with a minor and continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Taking a child with the intent of prostitution, sex trafficking of a minor and child prostitution
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor or luring a minor for sexual exploitation

Even seemingly minor offenses could require someone to register as a sex offender. Someone convicted of a second or subsequent incident of indecent exposure to someone younger than 15, or a third or subsequent offense of indecent exposure – which can include public urination – will have to register.

Registration process and duration

Under the law, someone who is convicted of a sex crime will have 10 days to register as a sex offender with the sheriff’s office in the county where the offender lives. People who register have to provide their names, fingerprints, photographs, blood samples and mailing address, among other items. This step must be taken and the information must be kept updated or else the offender risks a felony offense.

Arizona takes a serious stance against sex crimes, which is why most registrations will last the offender’s lifetime. Juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent for certain offenses may also have to register. However, their registration may expire when they turn 25 or upon completion of a probationary period.


In Arizona, registered sex offenders are classified into a three-tiered system that determines their risk level. Level three offenders are considered the most serious risk, and notification of their residency is sent to surrounding schools, neighborhoods and prospective employers. A press release is sent to media and there will be a flier with the person’s name, photograph and criminal record.

Level two offenders face a similar notification process, though only immediate neighbors, schools and groups are made aware. Law enforcement need only maintain information regarding a level one offender. That information could be shared with people with whom the offender resides and other law enforcement agencies.

Lastly, registered sex offenders face consequences that include residency restrictions. People convicted of a sex crime in Phoenix may not be permitted to live within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility.

Due to the extreme nature of Arizona’s laws, it is imperative for anyone facing a sex crime charge to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.