How Serious are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in Arizona?
Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to be charged with sexual assault. People facing this sort of thing feel like they’re in a nightmare. If you know you didn’t do what you’ve been charged with, it can be more than frustrating. It seems as if the prosecutor and police don’t want to hear a word you have to say. That’s when you know it’s time to retain an experienced Arizona defense lawyer. They’ll review your case and let you know if you have any options. They’ll also try to get the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce your charges.
It may not seem fair, but the prosecutor will take you more seriously if you’re represented by an attorney. It’s nothing personal. The prosecutor would simply rather spend time negotiating with somebody who knows the law rather than a would-be criminal. Your Arizona defense lawyer likely has a long working relationship with the prosecutor. They’ll be in a much better position to try to work out the best plea deal possible.
Your Arizona Defense Lawyer Will Review Your Criminal Record
You’re going to be facing serious consequences if you’re convicted of sexual assault. The penalties will be even worse if it isn’t your first time facing this criminal charge. People who have a history of prior sexual assault convictions will be sentenced to a longer prison term than first-time offenders. For example, a first-time offender will be facing up to fourteen (14) years in prison. If it’s your second conviction for sexual assault, then you’ll be facing up to twenty-eight (28) years in jail.
The court will look at your prior criminal history before they sentence you. The prosecutor is going to ask the judge to impose the most serious sentence available. The prosecutor is the one who makes the sentencing recommendation to the judge. When they see that you’ve been convicted of rape before, they will see you as a threat to public safety. They’ll do whatever they can do to keep you off the streets for as long as possible.
You Will Be Facing Jail Time if Convicted of Sexual Assault
Even if it is your first time being charged with sexual assault in Arizona, you’ll still be facing jail time. Even if your Arizona defense lawyer is able to get the prosecutor to recommend a shorter sentence, you can still be sentenced to up to fourteen (14) years for your first conviction. The sentencing guidelines for sexual assault are as follows:
- First offense – 14 years
- Second offense – up to 21 years
- Third offense – up to 28 years
Keep in mind, these sentences are the maximum sentence the judge will impose. Depending on the circumstances, you could be sentenced to less time. It’s within the judge’s discretion.
How Will Your Arizona Defense Lawyer Handle Special Circumstances in Your Case?
There are certain situations that call for a much harsher penalty than regular sexual assault. If the victim suffers a physical injury in addition to the assault, you can be sentenced for up to twenty-five (25) years. The same is true if your charges include the use of a date rape drug. If the prosecutor can prove that you used GHB or some other chemical or drug, your sentence will be increased by three (3) years.
If the victim was younger than 15, the judge is going to come down very hard on you. Your Arizona defense lawyer knows that you’ll be facing anywhere from 35 years to life in prison. This is because sex crimes against children are taken much more seriously than other offenses.
Will You Have to Register as a Sex Offender?
As if it’s not bad enough that you’ll be facing a long prison sentence, you’ll also be required to register as a sex offender. For the most part, this will be for life. Your Arizona defense lawyer can ask the prosecutor to reduce the charges so that you aren’t required to sign this registry. However, unless there are extenuating circumstances, it’ll be very difficult to get them to agree to this.
Retain an Experienced Arizona Defense Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later
If you’re charged with sexual assault, you’ll be facing very serious penalties. It’s in your best interest to retain an experienced Arizona defense lawyer. When you’re arrested, you’ll be allowed to make one phone call. It’s not a bad idea to use that phone call to talk to your lawyer. If that isn’t possible, have your family reach out to our office right away.