Often, having sexual contact is a way for people to express their feelings for their partners. In some cases, however, having sexual contact with a partner could lead to you facing serious criminal charges. At The Baker Law Firm, LLC, we are often asked about sexual assault charges. In this post, we will discuss what constitutes sexual assault in the state of Arizona, as well as the consequences you could face if convicted of this offense.
Under Arizona state law, intentionally engaging in sexual contact with someone who did not give his or her consent is considered sexual assault. This includes sexual intercourse, as well as oral sexual contact. The contact does not necessarily have to involve threats of harm or violence to constitute this type of criminal offense.
Sometimes, your partner may agree at the time to sexual contact. Due to certain circumstance, however, he or she may have lacked the legal capacity to consent. The types of situations that may constitute a lack of consent include the following:
- Intentionally deceiving your partner regarding the nature of the act
- Purposely leading your partner to falsely believe that you are his or her spouse
- Knowingly coercing a partner who is impaired due to drug use, alcohol intoxication, a mental disorder or some other condition
Under these circumstances, you could be charged with sexual assault even though your partner consented to the contact.
In general, sexual assault is considered a class 2 felony. As such, you could face a minimum of five years and three months in prison for a first time offense. The maximum imprisonment sentence for this charge is 14 years. The presumptive sentence for a first time sexual assault charge is seven years, under Arizona state law. If you have been previously convicted on felony charges, the potential penalties you could face for a sexual assault conviction are increased. With one felony conviction on your record, the minimum sentence is increased to seven years, and the maximum to 21 years. With two or more previous felony convictions, you could be sentenced to a minimum of 14 years and a maximum of 28 years in prison.
For more information about these serious charges, please visit our assault and domestic violence page.