A false accusation is terrible enough, but when it pertains to sexual assault, it can ruin your life and reputation. Arizona laws are stringent; offenders can face serious consequences, including hefty fines, lengthy jail sentences, a permanent record, and several other repercussions in their personal life. Many complicated moving parts are involved, and only an experienced defense attorney can help you.
The Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC believes that people are innocent until proven otherwise. Cases involving sexual assault are not easy to deal with, and many lawyers refuse to take up these complicated cases but not us. We have handled cases related to child molestation, child porn, aggravated sexual assault, indecent exposure, prostitution and solicitation, date rape, failure to register as a sex offender, and lewd behavior.
Contact us for a free consultation. We have the necessary resources, skills, and experience to fight for your rights and even represent you in court, should it come to that.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1404, sexual abuse is defined as an intentional act or knowingly engaging in sexual activity with another individual over the age of 15 years, without their consent, or with another individual under the age of 15 years, when the activity involves female breasts.
If you are facing charges related to sexual abuse, you could be charged with a class 5 felony, but if the victim is below 15 years, it could be changed to class 3 felony.
Penalties for sexual abuse include:
- Minimum two years state prison time
- Fines rising to $15,000, excluding surcharges
- Up to three years of supervised probation
What is Sexual Assault?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1406, sexual assault is defined as an intentional act or knowingly engaging in oral or sexual intercourse with another individual without their consent.
If you are facing charges related to sexual assault, you could be charged with a class 2 felony, meaning that you will not be considered for a pardon, release from confinement, probation, or lessening of your sentence. If the victim is below 15 years, you will face charges for aggravated sexual assault.
Penalties for sexual abuse include:
- Minimum five years state prison time
- Fines rising to $150,000, excluding surcharges
- Up to seven years of supervised probation
Under Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 13-1405 defined having sexual conduct with a minor. It is defined as an intentional act or knowingly engaging in oral or sexual intercourse with another individual, below the age of 18 years, without their consent. If the victim is under 15 years, it would be charged with a class 6 felony, and if the victim is above 15 years, it would be charged with a class 2 felony.
You would also face class 2 felony charges if you are the following of the victim’s:
- Foster parent or legal guardian,
- Priest, clergypersons, or teacher.
Laws are complicated, and penalties are hefty. This is just one of the reasons to contact The Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC as soon as you can. Once the case heats up, it becomes near impossible to turn the tides in your favor and undo what has already been presented or said. It is best to appoint a defense lawyer early on. Contact us to start discussing your options.
Defense To Take Against Sexual Assault Charges
Taking defense against sexual assault accusations requires an in-depth investigation, including looking into your personal life, seeing if there is a possible ulterior motive, checking witness statements phone records. When you appoint an attorney, they will get started right away.
Not Proving All Elements of Sexual Assault
In Arizona, for a person to be accused of committing a sexual assault crime, they need to meet ALL of the following criteria:
- The acts were intentional and were done knowingly.
- The defendant engaged in oral sexual contact or sexual intercourse with the accuser.
- The actions were done without the accuser’s consent.
To successfully convict a person, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements mentioned above. If any one element cannot be established, there is a strong chance of acquittal. The best strategy is to find the weakest point of evidence or argument and attack it.
Not Enough Damning Evidence
Physical evidence, such as a rape kit, DNA, semen, bruising, is not always present when the allegation was made much later than the supposed crime. When there is a lack of evidence, and it is difficult to prove the crime, the jury decides which version of events is more credible. A defense lawyer’s biggest task is to discredit the other side’s story and build credibility for their client.
Even when proper evidence is present, it does not always mean that accusations are true. With evidence, we can examine everything closely and build a more realistic timeline of the events.
Creating Reasonable Doubt
Our team at Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, pours over every witness statement to find inconsistencies. It helps us pinpoint where the version of events does not corroborate and what happened.
Some potential defenses that can be taken against assault are:
- There could be miscommunication, or an individual may consent to the act, only to change their statement later on due to regret or embarrassment. In some cases, a false allegation is also made for monetary gain when the accuser believes that the defendant will have no option but to pay up.
- Due to confusing circumstances, a victim could identify the wrong perpetrator or cases that involve underage victims who have lied about their age.
- The accuser may have the motive of destroying the defendant’s reputation or may be seeking revenge.
- Presenting an alibi that puts you in a place different from where the crime occurred
- Establishing that the defendant was physically unable to perform the sexual actions they were accused of.
- Proving that the plaintiff has made an error in identifying you as an attacker.
- Asserting that plaintiff provided consent for the acts (this can only happen in a situation where the victim was of age, not mentally challenged, unconscious, impaired, intoxicated, or was not fit to consent).
False accusations are more common than you would think. If you have been charged, you must not say anything or provide your statement in the presence of a skilled defense lawyer – The Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC.
We know that there can be two sides to every coin, and we listen to everyone who comes to us with an open ear. There is nothing wrong with defending yourself, especially when you haven’t committed any crime. We know Arizona’s laws inside and out and how to deal with police officers and prosecutors. We comb every inch of evidence present to ensure that the truth is presented.
Statute of Limitations in Arizona for Sexual Abuse Cases
Statute of limitations means the limited time in which one can file their claim after the crime has been committed. Every state’s statute is different. Here is the rule in Arizona:
Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse
In civil lawsuits for sexual abuse, the victim seeks monetary compensation for the alleged claim. These claims should be filed within two years of occurring or within two years of the plaintiff’s 18th birthday (in case of a minor).
If the crime occurred at a workplace, the option to pursue a sexual harassment claim in court is also available.
Criminal Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse
There is no time limit in Arizona in case of violent sexual assault or abuse with a minor below 15 years. The plaintiff is legally allowed to file criminal charges at any time.
Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC
Our team knows what is at stake in a criminal case. Society rarely cares whether the person accused of a sexual crime committed the crime or not. The minute the accusations come to light, you are shunted off to the side and can even lose your job, dignity, relationships, anything that makes your life worth living.
In Arizona, sex crimes offenders are met with severe jail time and penalties. Knowing this, our dedicated attorneys focus on getting you the best option available, including:
- Getting the charges dropped
- Ensuring that your rights are protected
- Having the court dismiss your charges
- Preventing the charges from being filed
- Getting fully acquitted
Our attorneys stand by your side when you are being questioned, advise you and make sure you are kept in the loop of everything that’s happening, negotiate behind the scenes with the parties involved, and try their best to ensure you get the outcome that is favorable to you. We never push you to accept a plea bargain either, especially when it wouldn’t be in your best interests.
We are determined and relentless in our pursuit of justice. We also maintain 100% confidentiality and work in a way that helps ensure minimum disruption to your routine, future, and life.
The more you wait, the less there is to do in these cases. Call Hernandez & Hamilton, PC now. Meanwhile, we recommend not to speak to any law enforcement until you have talked with us.