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Phoenix Rape Defense Lawyer

Phoenix Rape Defense LawyerFew crimes in Phoenix, AZ carry the stigma of rape or sexual assault. A rape allegation can leave you feeling frightened and overwhelmed as a conviction can carry dire consequences that affect you for the rest of your life. Along with potential jail or prison time, a rape conviction also requires registering as a sex offender for life thanks to Arizona’s strict laws on sex crimes

If you are facing a charge for rape, it’s crucial to get the experienced legal counsel you need as soon as possible. Time is of the essence; you are facing an uphill battle to protect your reputation and freedom. A Phoenix rape defense lawyer at Orent Law Offices is here to help you protect your legal rights and begin building your defense. 

Why It’s Important to Hire Orent Law Offices If You’re Accused of Rape in Phoenix

gavelSexual assault is one of the most serious charges you can face with consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life, even if you are not convicted. When you are charged with rape, you face an uphill battle and may be presumed guilty by the media, friends and family, your employer, and the general public. It’s crucial to seek qualified legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix to fight for your rights and help you craft a defense. 

A rape defense lawyer in Phoenix will examine every aspect of your case to uncover crucial evidence and build a defense. Your attorney will serve as your advocate throughout every step of the legal process with the goal of having your charges dismissed or reduced out of court. 

The Orent Law Offices has more than 30 years of experience defending clients accused of serious crimes. Founding attorney Craig Orent has worked as a public defender and prosecutor with a unique insight into the tactics the state will use against you. At the Orent Law Offices, we understand the stigma associated with sex crimes and we will work tirelessly to defend you and work toward the best possible outcome.

Sexual Assault and Rape Charges in Phoenix

Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-1406, sexual assault or rape occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly engages in oral sexual conduct or sexual intercourse with someone else without their consent. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony in Phoenix. 

Arizona Revised Statute 13-1405 defines sexual conduct with a minor, or statutory rape, as knowingly or intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with someone under the age of 18. If the minor was under 15, it is a class 2 felony. If the minor was at least 15, it is a class 6 felony charge but the charge can be upgraded to a class 2 felony if you were the parent, stepparent, legal guardian, foster parent, teacher, or clergyman of the minor.

At Orent Law Offices, we represent clients facing all types of sexual assault and rape charges in Phoenix including: 

  • Statutory rape
  • Spousal rape
  • Sexual abuse
  • Date rape
  • Gang rape

If you have been charged with sexual assault in Phoenix, it’s crucial to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and begin building a defense. 

Understanding “Consent” in Sexual Assault Cases

Sexual assault occurs when sexual acts occur without the other person’s consent. It’s important to understand how the law defines consent, which means not having the other person’s permission. 

Sometimes consent is very clear but there are many situations in which consent is not obvious. Arizona law defines situations in which someone is considered incapacitated which means they do not have the capacity or ability to give legal consent. 

In Arizona, there is a lack of consent if the individual was impaired by alcohol or drugs or had developmental disabilities or a psychological disorder and the accused should have known of the impairment. There may also be a lack of consent if the person was deceived about the nature of the sex act. Someone under the age of 18 cannot give legal consent to sex acts. 

What Are the Punishments for Rape in Arizona? 

Sexual assault or rape is considered a very serious crime in Phoenix with stiff penalties. As with other felony offenses, penalties are serious but sex offenses have particularly severe punishments. If you are convicted of rape in Arizona, you face a minimum of 5 years in state prison and up to 14 years for a first offense and stiffer penalties if you have prior felony charges. 

There are different degrees of sexual assault in Arizona. Penalties for sexual assault depend on many factors such as the age of the alleged victim, your criminal history, and certain aggravating factors. 

In addition to imprisonment, explained below, you may also face penalties such as supervised probation and a requirement to register as a sex offender. 

Arizona state law allows for the following penalties for sexual assault, a class 2 felony: 

  • Minimum 5 years in state prison and up to 14 years of imprisonment
  • Up to 7 years of supervised probation
  • Up to $150,000 in fines and surcharges

If you are convicted and have a prior felony conviction, the sentence is increased to a minimum of 7 years and up to 21 years. With two or more prior felony convictions, the penalty increases to 14-28 years in state prison. 

Aggravated rape charges may be filed if the victim was under 15, a “date rape” drug was used, or the sexual assault caused serious physical injury. The following additional penalties may be imposed: 

  • In the case of a “date rape” drug such as flunitrazepam, gamma hydroxybutyrate, or ketamine hydrochloride, the minimum and maximum sentences are increased by 3 years. 
  • If the victim suffered serious physical injury in the assault, the punishment is increased to 25 years to life. 
  • If the victim was under 15, the sexual assault is punishable under “dangerous crimes against children” sentencing criteria. The sentence can range from 13-27 years if the victim was between 12 and 14 and life without release until 35 years have been served for victims 12 and under. 

The penalties for sexual assault or rape are very serious. You face not only losing your freedom for years but additional penalties even once you are released. 

Sex Offender Registration in Phoenix

If you are convicted of sexual assault in Arizona, you will be required to register as a sex offender for life with the sheriff of the county in which you reside. Sex offenders are required to register within 10 days of release or face a class 4 felony with jail time of 1 to 3.75 years which can jump to up to 15 years with prior felony convictions. Failing to register is both a new felony and a probation violation. 

This registration must be updated with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division annually or you can face a class 6 felony with jail time of up to 2 years. 

Arizona also has several levels of sex offenders: level 1 is low risk, level 2 is intermediate, and level 3 is the highest level and considered the highest risk of reoffending. Your classification determines who must be notified of your sex offender status: 

  • Level 1 offenders: the local police department maintains information about sex offenders on the registry and may notify people residing with the offender.
  • Level 2 offenders: the local police department must notify immediate neighbors, employers, schools, and community groups. This may be done with a flyer. 
  • Level 3 offenders: the local police department must notify the surrounding neighborhood, community groups, the employer, and schools. A flyer with the offender’s picture, address, and summary of the offense must be used and a press release must be provided to newspapers and TV stations. 

Mandatory sex offender registration can have a serious impact on your life. It may affect your ability to get a job, qualify for housing, and take advantage of other opportunities. 

How Can I Defend Myself Against a Rape Charge in Phoenix?

Facing prosecution for rape may leave you feeling hopeless, but there are many possible defenses to a sexual assault charge in Phoenix. When defending clients against a sexual assault allegation, our law firm leaves no stone unturned to uncover evidence and examine possible technical defenses. 

A defense to sexual assault may create reasonable doubt by discrediting statements made by the complainant or witnesses or by establishing the accuser’s motivations for a false accusation such as revenge, divorce, or embarrassment. When the charge is a result of incapacitation, the prosecution must show that you knew or should have known the other party could not consent. 

There are also technical defenses for sexual assault. All elements of the sex offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and charges must be filed within the statute of limitations. If these elements are not met, your defense will file a motion to have the charges against you dismissed. 

If you are facing a sexual assault charge in Phoenix, do not lose hope. There are many potential defenses to preserve your reputation, freedom, and rights. 

Contact a Phoenix Rape Defense Lawyer Today

When you are facing a rape charge in Phoenix, you need an attorney with an in-depth understanding of the challenges you face and the experience needed to negotiate with the prosecutor and build a solid defense. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re facing a long prison sentence but an experienced Phoenix rape defense lawyer will serve as your advocate every step of the way. 

Contact our law offices today to schedule a free initial consultation with a sexual assault defense attorney in Phoenix to review your case.