Sexual Abuse in Phoenix, Arizona
The previous post on our Todd Coolidge Law Firm Blog covered a breaking news story about a sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. In this post, we’ll discuss laws and statutes regarding sexual abuse in Phoenix, Arizona. We’ll also examine sexual abuse claims in Arizona and their application in both civil court and criminal court.
Sexual Abuse Laws in Arizona
According to ARS 13-1404, sexual abuse is considered a class 5 felony with a presumptive sentence of two years imprisonment and an aggravating term of up to two and a half years. If the victim is under the age of 15, sexual abuse in Phoenix, Arizona is charged as a class 3 felony (much more severe) and is punishable pursuant to ARS 13-705.
Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse in Phoenix, Arizona
In Arizona, sexual abuse cases are handled in civil court as well as in criminal court. If the victim chooses to file a civil lawsuit, they may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages for their suffering. In situations like these, since there is no Statute of Limitations (SOL) specifically outlined for sexual abuse in Phoenix, Arizona, the standard personal injury SOL is applied. This means sexual abuse claims must be filed:
- Within 2 years of the act
- Or, in cases where the victim is a minor, within 2 years of their 18th birthday.
These laws, however, only pertain to compensation in a civil court. Below, we’ve outlined Arizona’s strict laws for holding the perpetrator accountable for his or her crime in a criminal court.
Criminal Cases for Sexual Abuse in Phoenix, Arizona
A victim of sexual abuse in Phoenix, Arizona will file their case with the state. In order to do so, they must notify law enforcement of the incident. Once authorities have investigated the claim, if they have found sufficient evidence, a prosecutor will file charges against the abuser. If the abuser is convicted, they could be sentenced to significant jail time and be required to register as a sex offender.
For criminal cases, the Statute of Limitations is longer. According to Arizona legislation, for class 2 through class 6 felonies, the SOL is seven years. This means if you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, you must notify law enforcement and file a claim within seven years. After the seven-year period has passed, your case cannot be tried in criminal court, and your abuser is free. For this reason, Coolidge Law Firm strongly recommends that victims report their abuser immediately.
There are two instances of sexual abuse in Phoenix, Arizona that have no statute of limitations. In these situations, the victim can come forward at any time, and if there is sufficient evidence, the abuser can be tried in court. These are cases of:
- Violent sexual abuse
- Sexual assault involving a child under the age of 15.
If you’ve been wrongly accused of sexual abuse in Phoenix, Arizona, there is no time to waste. Call Todd Coolidge, your criminal law specialist, today (480-264-5111).