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What Is the Difference Between Sexual Assault and Rape?

Sex Crimes in Phoenix AZ. Blischak Law

Sex Crimes in Phoenix AZ. Blischak Law

Sex crimes are serious criminal offenses that are prosecuted aggressively in Arizona. Under Arizona’s sexual crimes statutes, rape is a form of sexual assault. Therefore, we will review what is meant by sexual assault first to help you understand the difference in the two crimes.

What is Meant by Sexual Assault and Rape in Arizona?

Sexual assault is defined under Arizona State Statute 13-406 as the intentional engagement of oral sexual contact or sexual intercourse while knowing the other person has not granted consent for the sexual act. It should also be noted that this type of physical contact with a person who lacks the mental capacity to give consent or a person who is incapacitated is considered sexual assault.

Sexual assault describes an assault that lacks consent (i.e. victim is intoxicated, unconscious, mentally ill, etc.) or an assault that was committed because the attacker deceived the victim in some manner to accomplish the sexual act.

On the other hand, rape is also oral sexual contact or intercourse without consent, but the act involves force. The perpetrator uses force to accomplish the assault without the consent of the victim.

Penalties for Sexual Assault and Rape in Arizona

Sexual assault, including a rape charge, is a class 2 felony in Arizona. Depending on the facts of the case, including the age of the victim, the age of the perpetrator, prior felony convictions, and other aggravating circumstances, a person convicted of sexual assault could serve between 5.25 years and 28 years in prison.

In addition to a prison sentence, you are required to register as a sexual offender, which could negatively impact your ability to obtain employment or live in a desired neighborhood or location.

Defending Allegations of Sexual Assault and Rape

Unfortunately, false accusations of sexual assault are far too common. If you have been accused of rape or sexual assault, it is crucial you exercise your right to remain silent except for requesting an Arizona criminal defense attorney.

It may be very difficult to resist the urge to defend yourself when you did not commit the crime. However, telling your “side” of the story cannot help you. The police and the prosecutor have already made up their minds that you are the guilty party; therefore, anything you say while trying to defend yourself will only be twisted and used to strengthen the case against you.

Our Arizona criminal defense attorneys understand how sex crimes are prosecuted in our state. Therefore, we know how to deal with aggressive prosecutors and single-minded police officers. Our legal team works closely with you to review every moment of the alleged crime to search for evidence that can help prove a potential defense such as:

  • You had a reason to believe the sexual contact was consensual;
  • It is impossible for you to be the perpetrator because you have an alibi;
  • A lack of physical evidence;
  • You were physically incapable of performing the alleged act;
  • The accuser is falsely accusing you of a crime to harm or threaten you;
  • The sex was consensual;
  • Seeking eyewitnesses to support your defense; and,
  • Attempting to discredit an eyewitness by proving the identification was false.

By working with an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney, you can increase your chance of the charges being dismissed or reduced. You also have a better chance of mitigating the potential damage of a guilty verdict.

Call us today to schedule your confidential case consultation with an Arizona sexual assault defense lawyer.

Posted in: Sex Crime