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Sexual Conduct With A Minor – ARS §13-1405

Watch this video of David Michael Cantor explain Charges of Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Arizona.

Sexual conduct with a minor is among the most serious types of sex offenses for which you might be charged in Arizona. If you are facing this charge, you could be sentenced to spend decades up to life in prison, depending on the victim’s age and the allegations against you. You should not take this offense lightly, and it is crucial for you to get help from an experienced and highly skilled Sex Crimes Defense Attorney to help defend against the offense of sexual conduct with a minor. The DM Cantor  law firm has the experience and knowledge to aggressively fight for you against your charges. Here is some information about sexual conduct with a minor and the penalties that you might face if you are convicted, as well as the defenses that might be available to you.

 


What Defines Sexual Conduct with a Minor?

Sexual conduct with a minor is criminalized under A.R.S. § 13-1405. According to this statute, sexual conduct with a minor occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally engages in oral sex or sexual intercourse with someone who is younger than 18 years old. Sexual conduct with a minor can also include any sexual activity that involves penetration, and the offense can be divided into two categories.

The first category is if a person over the age of 18 years of age and is accused of sexual conduct with a minor who is 15, 16 or 17 years old. If you are accused of this type of sexual conduct with a minor, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony unless you are in a position of trust.

A person who is in a position of trust is defined under A.R.S. § 13-1401 to include people who have the following relationships to the victim:

  • Parent
  • Adoptive parent
  • Stepparent
  • Foster parent
  • Legal guardian
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Instructor
  • Priest
  • Clergyman

If you are a person in a position of trust with your alleged victim, you will be charged with a Class 2 felony.

The second category of offenses occurs when a person who is older than 18 engages in sexual conduct with a minor who is younger than age 15. These offenses are deemed to be dangerous crimes against children and are punishable under A.R.S. § 13-705. If the alleged victim was 12 or younger at the time of the offense, it is a Class 2 felony and you will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If the alleged victim was 13 or 14 at the time of the offense, you will face up to 27 years in prison under the Dangerous Crimes Against Children statute.

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Sexual Conduct with a Minor Victories

Sexual Conduct With A Minor: Penalties & Sentences

The penalties for sexual conduct with a minor are quite severe. If you are convicted of a first offense of sexual conduct with a minor who was 15 to 17 years old, it is a Class 6 felony with the following penalties:

  • Probation with zero days up to 1 year in jail
  • Prison ranging from 4 months to 2 years
  • Additional 84% surcharge of imposed fines
  • Probation with classes and counseling

If you have one prior conviction that can be alleged and are convicted of sexual conduct with a minor who is 15 to 17 years, you will face the following penalties:

  • Prison only range will be increased to nine months to 2.75 years
  • Additional 84% surcharge of imposed fines
  • Probation and counseling with up to 1 year in jail

If you have two or more prior felony convictions that can be alleged and are convicted of sexual conduct with a minor who was 15 to 17 at the time of the offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • Prison only range is increased to 2.25 years up to 5.75 years
  • Additional 84% surcharge of imposed fines
  • Probation and counseling with jail for up to 1 year

If you are convicted of a first offense of sexual conduct with a minor who was between the ages of 12 and 14 at the time of the offense, it is a Class 2 felony carrying the following penalties:

  • Minimum sentence to prison of 13 years
  • Presumptive sentence to prison of 20 years
  • Maximum sentence to prison of 27 years
  • Additional 84% surcharge of imposed fines

*NOTE: If you are convicted of two counts, the judge will be required to run your convictions on each count consecutively. This means that the minimum, presumptive, and maximum sentences will all be doubled, and you will face from 26 years to 54 years in prison. You also will be required to serve all of your prison time and will not be eligible for early release.

If you have a prior conviction of a predicate offense and are convicted of sexual conduct with a minor, you will face the following penalties:

  • Minimum prison sentence of 23 years
  • Presumptive prison sentence of 30 years
  • Maximum prison sentence of 37 years
  • Additional 84% surcharge of imposed fines

If you are convicted of sexual conduct with a minor who was 12 years old or younger, the judge will only have two choices when you are sentenced. The judge could either sentence you to 20 years in prison, or to 35 years to life in prison. If you are convicted of two counts, the judge will be required to run them consecutively to each other.

A conviction for sexual conduct of a minor will also require that you register as a sex offender for life. You will also be prohibited from contacting anyone younger than age 18, including children who are your own unless you submit to multiple tests and receive the consent of your probation officer.

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Defenses Against Charges of Sexual Conduct with a Minor

The defenses that may be applied in your case will depend on the facts and circumstances of what occurred as well as on how the investigation was conducted. Some of the possible defenses that might be raised include the following:

  • The victim’s allegations against you are false
  • Forensic errors were made in the investigation
  • Your Miranda rights were violated
  • Your right to an attorney was denied

In some cases, an estranged spouse or angry teen will make false allegations against a father or stepfather of sexual conduct with a minor during a divorce to get back at the father or stepfather and to remove him from the life of the accuser. False allegations like these must be immediately challenged. An experienced lawyer will look at how the allegation was initially made and review any reports that might have been prepared by Child Protective Services. He or she might also question the forensic interviewer who talked to the child and will obtain copies of the divorce paperwork that has been filed. Your lawyer might also ask you to undergo a polygraph examination to demonstrate your innocence.

If the alleged victim or the estranged spouse has made false allegations in the past, your lawyer might secure documentation about those incidents. This type of evidence might help to show a pattern of making false allegations and help to show the prosecutor or a jury that the current allegations might also be false.

Another potential defense to a charge of sexual conduct with a minor occurs when you did not know that the minor was younger than age 18. Since the statute contains a required mens reaof intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual conduct with someone under age 18, it is a defense to the offense if you didn’t know the person was a minor. This sometimes occurs when the minor lies about how old he or she is to the defendant. To establish this defense, it will be crucial to interview and cross-examine all of the parties involved.

The sex crimes lawyers at DM Cantor have undergone extensive training in the forensic and clinical interviewing techniques that are used by forensic interviewers when they question children and families. This training assists us with understanding the types of questions to ask the mental health professionals and detectives who initially interviewed your alleged victim. If the alleged victim was not interviewed properly, we might be able to show that the alleged victim was led into providing the answers that were needed to bring charges against you.

Your lawyer needs to analyze everything about your case to defend you from every possible angle. Your attorney might assert a variety of constitutional challenges to how the investigation was conducted and how the evidence was gathered. One common constitutional challenge that is frequently raised is a Miranda rights violation. Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have the right against self-incrimination and to have an attorney to represent you. In Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the Supreme Court held that people who are in the custody of the police must be advised of their rights before they can be questioned.

Whether you were in custody at the time that you were questioned will determine whether the police should have Mirandized you. Police officers sometimes try to claim that a person was free to leave and was not in custody by telling people that they are free to leave when they really aren’t. Your rights to be Mirandized attach when you are not truly free to leave. The police must properly advise you of your rights before they start a custodial interrogation. If they failed to do so, any incriminating statements that you might have made after your rights attached may be declared to be inadmissible by the court.

Arizona uses a voluntariness standard to determine whether an incriminating statement is inadmissible. If you were intimidated or coerced by the police into making a self-incriminating statement, your statement might be suppressed. Any evidence that the police were able to uncover as a result of your inadmissible statements will also be suppressed as the fruit of the poisonous tree.

Another common defense arises when you ask the police for an attorney. The police are supposed to immediately stop questioning you when you ask for a lawyer. If the officers denied your right to counsel and continued questioning you, anything that you said after you asserted your right to an attorney may be suppressed.

Your lawyer might also look for forensic mistakes that might have been made in the investigation of your case such as DNA testing errors, chain of custody problems, flawed identification processes, and others. Finally, if the police report contains misleading or false statements, your lawyer may challenge those statements so that the jury can properly weigh them when determining the credibility of the officer who wrote the report.


Contact DM Cantor Immediately for Help

Facing charges of sexual conduct with a minor is very serious and could have lifelong consequences. Even if you eventually get out of prison, you will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Sex offender registration has its own harsh consequences. The attorneys at DM Cantor have a strong record of success defending people against all sorts of sex crimes, and we can fight to protect your freedom and your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential consultation by calling us at 602-307-0808.

A conviction of Sexual Conduct with a Minor has lifelong consequences and the rest of your future is in jeopardy. See our Sex Crime Case Victories.


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