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sexual assault lawyer phoenix

Every criminal case, especially those involving sex crimes, requires competent and skilled representation. A good Phoenix criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts, investigate your case, and protect your rights while exploring all available defenses for you and your case. Here at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we assist a large number of clients in navigating the perplexing waters of state and federal courts and criminal justice systems every year. With our extensive knowledge and experience, we’ll place you in the best possible position for a successful conclusion. Call us now at 602-910-4040 to book a consultation with a Phoenix sexual assault lawyer.

What is Considered Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is defined as sexual contact or activity that occurs without the victim’s explicit consent. Attempted rape is one example of sexual assault. Other examples include unwanted sexual contact, such as fondling and forced sexual actions, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body.

Although the term “rape” is often used to describe sexual assault, it is no longer used in Arizona law. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony in Arizona and is defined as having sex with an adult (over 18) without their consent. The sex must be vaginal, anal, or oral in order to be considered sexual assault. If the sexual act does not fall into one of those categories, it is classified as sexual abuse. 

Harsher penalties are on the table for someone who has committed one or more prior felonies, as well as sexual assault aided by the administering of a drug.

For a variety of reasons, defending a sexual assault case might be difficult. If you or a loved one is facing charges like these, you need an experienced sexual assault lawyer to help you. The Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at the Ybarra Maldonado Group are ready to fight for your innocence.

What is Rape?

Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is frequently used as a legal term to refer to sexual penetration without consent. The FBI defines rape in its Uniform Crime Reports as “any penetration, no matter how minor, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the victim’s consent.” 

Physical force isn’t the only kind of force a perpetrator may use. To coerce a victim into non-consensual sex, perpetrators may use emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation. Threats of harm to the victim or their family, as well as other intimidation methods, are used by certain perpetrators to coerce a victim to comply.

The bulk of attackers are someone the victim knows. In fact, about eight out of ten instances of acquaintance rape (also known as “date rape”) are committed by someone known to the victim. It’s vital to note that dating, previous intimate encounters, or other acts such as kissing do not imply consent for increased or sustained sexual contact.

What is Stranger Rape?

In other cases, the victim may have no prior knowledge of the culprit. Stranger rape is a term used to describe this form of sexual violence. Stranger rape can take place in a variety of ways:

  • Blitz sexual assault: When a perpetrator strikes a victim without warning and with no prior interaction, usually late at night in a public place.
  • Contact sexual assault: When a perpetrator approaches a victim and attempts to gain their trust by flirting, luring the victim to their car, or otherwise coercing the victim into a scenario where the sexual assault will occur.
  • Home invasion assault: When a perpetrator breaks into the victim’s house and assaults them.

Self-blame is often a hallmark of survivors of rape, who frequently blame themselves for encouraging the perpetrator. It’s crucial to remember that the victim is never at fault for the perpetrator’s acts.

Is a Sex Crime a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

In Arizona, you may be prosecuted with either a felony or a misdemeanor if you are charged with a sex offense. The type of sex crime and the accused’s intent both go into how the offense is classified.

Additionally, whether the offense was perpetrated against an adult or a child, has a big impact. The potential penalty is determined by whether the sex offense is determined to be a felony or a misdemeanor. One year in jail is the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor crime.

The penalty is less severe, so the crime is likely to be less severe in intensity. On the other hand, felonies are much more serious and come with stronger punishments, such as more than a year in prison. A seasoned Phoenix sexual assault lawyer can help you navigate these charges.

A.R.S. 13-1406

According to Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13, Criminal Code 13-1406, sexual assault is defined as a person purposefully or consciously engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. As a class 2 felony, any person convicted of sexual assault is only eligible for a suspension of their sentence, probation, pardon, or release from incarceration under very specific conditions or the sentence imposed by the court has been served or commuted.

Is Sexual Assault a Criminal or Civil Case?

If you are accused of sexual assault, you’ll likely have a lot of questions. Whether you may also face civil charges in addition to, or instead of, criminal consequences may not be one of those questions – but it should be. 

A complaining witness (the accuser) may choose to also start a civil action against the accused for claims like assault/battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or false imprisonment.  

The need to get justice via civil court may be desired by an accuser who didn’t receive a guilty verdict at a criminal trial. By filing a civil suit, a complaining witness could potentially be awarded monetary damages by the court or come to a settlement deal with the accused. Additionally, the standard of establishing guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t come into play in civil matters.

What Are the Key Differences Between Criminal and Civil Cases?

In a criminal case, the government brings the charge. The standard of proof is high (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) and a judge or jury determines whether the accused is guilty or not guilty of the crime. Jail time, community custody, or registering as a sex offender are among the possible penalties, as well as a criminal conviction on your record.

The cause of action in a civil case is an intentional tort, such as assault/battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or false imprisonment. The plaintiff/accuser brings the lawsuit and the standard of proof is a preponderance of evidence – a much lower standard. If the case makes it to trial, a judge or jury will find the defendant liable or not liable for the plaintiff’s injury. Among the penalties possible are monetary damages, settlement costs, and attorney’s fees. There will be no criminal record.

Other advantages to a sexual assault civil lawsuit:

  • Multiple people can be sued at the same time. Persons other than the attacker(s) may be held accountable for the attack. For example, if you are assaulted at a bar that lacks adequate protection, the establishment may also be to blame for your assault.
  • Victims have more say in the procedures. The state controls the procedures in a criminal case, with the victim functioning as a state witness. However, in a civil action the plaintiff makes all of the important choices. This process can be empowering for sexual assault victims.

Penalties for Sexual Assault in Phoenix

In Arizona, sexual assault carries a harsh penalty and an experienced sexual assault attorney is critical. A person convicted of sexual assault faces between 5.25 years and 14 years in prison. If the offender has previously been convicted of a felony or felonies, the sentence will be increased to a minimum of 7 years and up to 28 years in prison. The punishment is 25 years to life if the victim suffers a major physical injury in addition to the sexual assault.

Additionally, the prison sentence is increased by three years if a substance was used to make the victim pass out. Finally, the defendant could receive a lifelong prison sentence if the victim is less than 12 years of age. If convicted of sexual assault, the defendant will have to register as a sex offender. 

How to Fight Against Sexual Assault Allegations

A criminal conviction requires evidence that demonstrates guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Common defenses against sex crimes include:

  • Insufficient Evidence
  • Tainted Evidence
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Consent
  • Innocence
  • Mental Illness
  • Illegal Search & Seizure of Evidence

In many cases, the accuser’s credibility is important in defending this claim. The State must also have credible evidence. You want a sexual assault lawyer who will comb the evidence for flaws. The State must also prove that the defendant knew or should have known that the other person could not consent if the allegation is based on incapacitation.

Sexual Assault Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is important that you practice, and continue to practice your right to remain silent. Sexual assault charges are among the most serious types of sex crimes, and you’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, like the attorneys at the Ybarra Maldonado Group on your side.

Contact our offices today at (602) 910-4040 to ensure your rights aren’t infringed. We fight hard for our clients and put up a strong defense that challenges these charges.



Our team of compassionate and experienced attorneys are here to help guide you in your time of need.

Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, Esq.

Founder & Principal Attorney of Ybarra Maldonado Law Group
Criminal Law, Immigration Law, Personal Injury, and Civil Rights
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Brett Turley, Esq.

Senior Criminal Defense Associate Attorney
Ybarra Maldonado & Associates
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