Arizona residents who are accused of sexual crimes face a difficult proposition. In many cases, a person accused of a sexual crime is battling not only the legal system but public opinion as well. Sexual crimes are particularly difficult to defend because they often involve proving what someone else did rather than what you did. Alex Lane, a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, may be able to help you if you are charged with any type of sexual crime.
What is Sexual Abuse in Arizona?
When most people hear the term “sex crime” they think of either rape or child molestation, but Arizona law focuses instead on the term “sexual abuse,” a charge which can cover a multitude of actions.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1404 outlines the burden of proof the state has in proving sexual abuse. In order to be convicted of sexual abuse, the state must show that the accused person acted intentionally or knowingly and engaged in contact defined as sexual. The accused must be at least 15 years of age to be charged, and most importantly the accused person must have acted without the consent of the victim.
Arizona does not use the term “rape” any more, but the sexual abuse statute is designed to cover these situations. The punishment for a conviction for sexual assault depends on the severity of the crime, the age of the victim and how badly the victim was injured. Arizona requires convicted sex offenders to register with the state and makes public certain information about their whereabouts and the crimes of which they were convicted as a public safety measure.
Defenses to Sexual Assault
Once someone has been charged with sexual abuse, it can be very difficult for that person to “prove” he or she is innocent. Theoretically, a criminal defendant is not required to prove innocence, but in the case of sex abuse just an accusation can be enough to disrupt a person’s life substantially.
There are several legal defenses to sexual abuse including tainted evidence, insufficient evidence of a crime and, if the victim is of age, consent. However, the accused person may not be able to show that the victim consented or may not have a way of disproving the victim’s statements. This makes sexual crime accusations very difficult to combat.
Alex Lane can help you choose the right way to fight sexual abuse charges. This Phoenix criminal defense attorney is ready to help you clear your name and get your life back when you stand accused of this terrible crime.