Sexual Consent in Arizona

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Sexual Consent in Arizona

In Arizona, all sexual offense laws are based on consent. If one of the parties does not consent or is unable to consent to sexual activity, criminal charges can be filed against the other party. Sexual offenses in Arizona are typically met with harsh punishments. Failing to obtain consent, or becoming sexually involved with someone who is not legally able to give consent can have you facing felony charges. 

What Is Consent? 

Consent is an agreement between two or more individuals to engage in sexual activities. It must always be clearly, enthusiastically, and verbally expressed. However, there are several instances when consent cannot be given. Even if the other party agrees, there may be extenuating circumstances that negate their consent. 

Even with consent sexual contact can still be a crime in Arizona for: 

  • Underage individuals
  • Intoxicated individuals 
  • Mentally impaired individuals
  • Asleep or unconscious individuals
  • Those under threat, pressure, or intimidation
  • Individuals experiencing a power imbalance (for example, sexual relations between a guard and a prisoner)

Sexual Assault in Arizona

Intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact without the consent of the other person is a crime. In Arizona, sexual assault is a class two felony. Penalties for class two felonies consist of 3 years to 35 years in prison, parole, and/or fines, fees, and restitution. 

The Age of Consent In Arizona 

In Arizona, you are only considered an adult at the age of 18, which is why the age of consent is the same. Any adult that has sexual contact with a minor between the ages of 15-18 can face a class 6 felony. Penalties for class six felonies consist of 3 months to more than 5 years in prison, along with parole, and/or fines, fees, and restitution.

If the child is under 15, or the relationship with the older minor has a power imbalance, it is a class 2 felony. Penalties for sexual assault of a child might look the same as the penalties above but are often much harsher, with sentences of up to 35 years in prison. 

Arizona’s Romeo and Juliet Law

Under this Arizona law, people between the ages of 15 and 19 may have consensual sex if they are no more than 2 years apart in age from each other.

Sharing Nudes Violates a Person’s Consent

Arizona’s revenge porn laws detail that if someone shares an explicit photo with you, it does not give you consent to share it with anyone else. That means if someone sends you a nude, you should keep it to yourself. Sharing the photo violates their consent and could land you in hot water. Depending on the content, the number of times you shared it, and where it was shared, you could be looking at anywhere from 3 months in jail all the way to 4 years in prison. 

If You’re Facing Charges, You Need a Good Attorney 

Since violating someone’s consent could land you with felony charges, hiring a certified criminal defense attorney is very important. Felony convictions in Arizona carry life-altering penalties. Along with the loss of your freedom for a possible 35 years, having a felony on your record can cause problems when looking for jobs and housing, and make you ineligible for public benefits.

If you or someone you know is facing sexual assault charges, the right lawyer could be the difference between spending time behind bars or with your family and friends. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in the Arizona justice system, and a long list of satisfied clients. Our belief that every case deserves time and attention makes us the best choice if you are in need of defense. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.



Images used under creative commons licence – commercial use (2/28/24).Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash.