Dangerous Crimes Against Children in Arizona (DCAC)
Children—our most precious citizens, and the future of our nation. Child endangerment laws are meant to keep our children safe. How do they aim to do this? And what constitutes child endangerment in Arizona?
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How Do DCAC Laws Protect Children?
In almost every aspect of legal statute in Arizona, crimes against children are treated with more severe punishment than crimes against adults. Sex offence crimes against individuals under the age of 12 carry automatic life sentences, where as the same offence against an adult carries a maximum sentence of 27 years.
The idea behind DCAC laws is to deter individuals from engaging in child endangerment through stiffer penalties for doing so. The most common scenario in which child endangerment occurs is from parents, or care-takers of the child. This is most often through abuse or neglect.
Arizona state laws also carry mandatory reporting of child abuse and endangerment. Individuals who witness or are made aware of child abuse are required to report said abuse to authorities.
Examples of individuals responsible for reporting child abuse are:
- Medical professionals
- Peace officers
- Parents or guardians
- Anyone else responsible for the care of the child
There are exemptions for clergy who are made aware of abuse through confidential information such as a confession, if they deem that reporting the abuse is reasonably unnecessary.
What Constitutes Child Endangerment under DCAC Laws?
Dangerous Crimes Against Children is essentially a modification of the sentencing recommendations for existing crimes. Specifically, harsh penalties for crimes committed against an individual under the age of 15, with even harsher sentences for crimes committed against children under 12.
Examples of dangerous crimes include:
- Second-degree murder
- Aggravated assault resulting in serious physical injury or a deadly weapon
- Sexual assault
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Commercial sexual exploitation
It’s worth pointing out that these laws specifically apply to crimes committed by individuals 18 or older, or individuals who are being tried as an adult.
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