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Posted on December 1, 2020 in Arizona Law

Is It Illegal to Have Sex in a Car in Phoenix?

A common question people ask criminal defense lawyers is whether it is illegal to have sex in a car. As criminal lawyers, we do not make personal or moral judgments regarding questions like these. However, we do give honest, direct answers.

It can be difficult to get privacy sometimes. However, if you want to avoid sex crime charges, you may want to find another place to engage in sexual activities. If you are caught having sex in your car, you could be charged with a crime.

In addition to state statutes, there could also be local statutes that make it illegal to have sex in a vehicle. If so, you could find yourself facing both state and local criminal charges.

Having Sex in a Public Location?

Arizona criminal statutes make it illegal to have sex in public. You could be charged with a misdemeanor if you are caught having sex in a public location. However, the charge increases to a felony if a minor under the age of 15 witnesses you engage in the alleged act.

Indecent Exposure Charges in Arizona

Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1402 defines indecent exposure as revealing your intimate body parts in view of another person. Intimate body parts include your genitalia, anus, and a woman’s breasts. Therefore, acts of “flashing” or “mooning” would be considered indecent exposure.

Punishments for Indecent Exposure in Arizona

If the police charge you with misdemeanor indecent exposure for having sex in a vehicle, the judge could sentence you to:

  • Up to six months in jail
  •  A fine up to $250
  • And up to three years of probation, including mandatory counseling classes

If a minor under 15 years of age catches you having sex in your vehicle, the penalties increase substantially. You could spend up to a year or more in prison and pay a fine of up to $150,000.

Public Sexual Indecency Charges in Arizona

Having sex in a car can also result in public sexual indecency charges. Public sexual indecency involves engaging in a sex act in public. Sex acts include any act of sexual contact, oral sex, intercourse, or an act of bestiality.

The state must prove that you engaged in a sex act recklessly with the intent of alarming or causing stress to people who see you.

Public sexual indecency can be a misdemeanor or felony, similar to indecent exposure charges. If the sex act is witnessed by a minor under 15 years of age, the charge is a felony.

Defenses to Charges of Having Sex in a Car

While some individuals might be able to have sex in a car without exposing any intimate parts, you are taking a chance of an indecent exposure charge if you try. However, the state must also prove that you knew or reasonably knew that there could be someone present who would be offended by your actions if they saw you having sex in a car.

Therefore, you could argue that the car was not on a public road or in a public area in defense of the charges. The vehicle was parked off the road on purpose so that no one would see you.

You could also argue that you had your clothes on, and no one saw your intimate parts. Another potential defense is that you were not engaged in sex. You were merely engaged in a steamy “make out” session while fully dressed.

There may also be other defenses that are common in other criminal cases. For instance, you could argue that you have been falsely accused. The victim may have incorrectly identified you as the alleged perpetrator of the crime. Maybe it was dark, or the victim was not close enough to your vehicle to accurately identify you.

The prosecutor and the police are not going to explain possible defenses or your options for fighting criminal charges. While you might think telling your side of the story can get you out of the charges, it can be risky to talk to the police without a criminal defense lawyer present. Anything you say could make it harder to defend yourself against the charges.

Having Sex in Your Car in Arizona Is Not Worth the Risk

The consequences of a sex crime go beyond fines and jail. You have a criminal record that follows you throughout your life. Your criminal record could impact your career choices, education, and custody cases.

If you are charged with a felony, you could lose your right to vote or possess a firearm. You could also be required to register as a sex offender for some sex crimes.

 

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