Sexual Assault Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

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Sexual Assault Defense Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

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sexual assault defense attorney
Sex crimes are very serious criminal offenses in any state and are prosecuted quite aggressively. This is especially true in the state of Arizona. As such, those who are charged with a sex offense in Phoenix, AZ face serious consequences, including lengthy jail time, large fines, a permanent criminal record, and several other criminal and personal repercussions. That is why, if you’ve been accused of a sex crime such as sexual assault, you require the assistance of an experienced Phoenix sex crime attorney. Sexual assault is a sex crime that embodies a whole realm of actions, and the law surrounding these crimes can sometimes be difficult to understand and even harder to defend yourself against. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it’s important you know what you’re up against legally. In order to protect yourself, your freedom, and your future, you need a knowledgeable attorney who is experienced in handling sexual assault cases. That person is Belén Olmedo Guerra. At Belén Law Firm, our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers know what it takes to craft the strongest possible defense strategy to combat your sex crime charges. Immediately after you’ve been accused of sexual abuse, call Belén at 602-715-0908 for a free consultation to discuss your case and ensure your rights remain protected.

ARS 13-1406

What is sexual assault in Arizona? According to Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1406, a person commits sexual assault by “intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without consent of such person.”

The term “sexual assault” describes any sexual act that lacks consent. In addition to using force or coercion, this includes physical sexual conduct with a person who lacks the mental ability to give consent or a person who is incapacitated. This includes if the other person was:

  • Intoxicated;
  • Unconscious;
  • Mentally ill;
  • Under the age of consent;
  • Consenting out of fear;
  • Or if the other person feels they were deceived in order for the sexual act to take place.
phoenix sexual assault penalties

Penalties for Sexual Assault in Arizona

Sexual assault, including the crime of rape, is a Class 2 felony in Arizona. However, the exact penalties of a sexual assault conviction depend on the facts surrounding the case. A few of the factors that might influence sex crimes charges may include:

  • Age of the victim
  • Age of the defendant
  • Whether or not the defendant has previous convictions
  • Whether or not the defendant knowingly inflicted physical harm
  • The presence or absence of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon

All factors considered, a person convicted of sexual assault in Arizona may serve anywhere between 5.25 years and 28 years in prison. If the person knowingly inflicted physical harm, or if the victim is under the age of 12, the defendant could be subject to life in prison.

Furthermore, sex offender registration is mandatory for those convicted of sexually violent crimes in Arizona. Being publicly registered as a sex offender can negatively impact a person’s everyday life with respect to employment, housing, relationships, and more.

It is important to note that Arizona has very detailed sand enhanced sentencing structures for those who have been convicted of illegal sexual conduct multiple times.  Also, if the sex crimes were against children, if they were considered dangerous, or if the sexual acts involved date-rape drugs, these will also enhance the penalties.

Phoenix Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

False sexual assault allegations in Arizona are more common than one would think. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is important that you practice your right to remain silent and contact Belén Olmedo Guerra as soon as possible. 

It is human nature to want to defend yourself, especially when you did not commit what you are being accused of. However, in any situation, the Phoenix sex crimes attorneys at Belén Law Firm strongly urge you to follow our advice. Telling “your side” of the story will never help you in the back of a cop car. The prosecutor and police officers have already made up their minds about your guilt and will likely go to great lengths to secure it. It’s true what they say – anything you say can and WILL be used against you in the court of law. You can trust us on that!

At Belén Law Firm, we understand how aggressively sexual assault charges are prosecuted in Arizona. We also know what it takes to properly handle these aggressive prosecutors and police officers in this area. We work directly with you, going over every moment, conducting research, and searching for evidence to help prove and create your defense if you must go to trial.

phoenix sex crimes defense lawyer belen

Potential Defenses for Sexual Assault in Arizona

In order to establish the best defense for a sexual assault case, after ruling out things like illegal search and seizures or a statute of limitations violation, the Belén Law Firm will explore both technical defenses as well as holistic defenses that show the lack of credibility for the prosecution.

Statute of Limitations Violation

The Arizona statute of limitations protects individuals from having to defend themselves against alleged offenses so far in the past that the facts become obscured. Generally, the clock starts ticking from the time the alleged sexual assault took place. If the defendant isn’t formally charged with the crime before the statute of limitations is up, he or she cannot legally be prosecuted. If we find that the prosecuting attorney’s office is attempting to prosecute one of our clients in violation of the statute of limitations, we will file a motion to have the charges dismissed immediately.

Not All Elements of Sexual Assault are Proven

In Arizona, a person commits the crime of sexual assault by meeting ALL of the following:

  • The defendant engaged in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with the accuser
  • They acted knowingly or intentionally
  • They without consent from the accuser

In order to convict someone of sexual assault, the prosecution must prove all of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one of these, the defendant will be acquitted. 

An effective strategy is to find the weakest point of evidence and vigilantly attack it for one or more elements of the alleged crime.

Not Enough Corroborating Evidence

Physical evidence, such as DNA, bruising, or semen is not always available in cases where the accusation was made well after the alleged contact. It is also not often available when the contact does not involve penetration or use of force, or, of course, when there are false allegations made. When there is a lack of physical evidence, the judge or jury must determine whose version of the story is more credible. Therefore, the goal of any criminal defense attorney is to discredit the prosecution’s tale of events and build credibility for the defendant.

Even if there is corroboration evidence available, however, one must realize that this still doesn’t always mean that the accusations are true. In addition, having this evidence gives us the opportunity to examine, analyze, and use it to discredit any false accusations. 

Creating Reasonable Doubt with Accuser’s Statements

Before beginning any trial, Belén Law Firm will meticulously inventory every single statement given by the accuser and his or her witnesses. This gives us the ability to recognize and explore any remarks that are inconsistent with previous statements. It also gives us the ability to capitalize on statements that can be proven implausible, sometimes even impossible. Testimony that generates unreliable statements should be inferred by the jury as inconsistent with what’s expected from someone telling the truth and thus, creates reasonable doubt.

False Allegations

Unfortunately, false allegations are relatively common in cases of sex crimes. As a result, proving that the accuser made false accusations and establishing their motivation can be an extremely relevant defense. A thorough pre-trial investigation of the accuser’s background, as well as the circumstances surrounding the allegation, can uncover facts that can easily stack up to motivation.

A few of the motives for an individual to make false claims include:

  • Embarrassment. Even though the accuser involved themselves in a consensual sexual encounter, the person may make a false accusation to cover up the fact that he or she willingly participated out of embarrassment. 
  • Revenge or Contempt. A person may make accusations in an effort to seek revenge or because the accuser has developed contempt for the defendant. 
  • Financial Incentive. A false sexual assault accusation can be a way for one person to gain money from another. More often than not, these accusations are intended to take place without the involvement of law enforcement. Although we see this with celebrities, this can happen anytime the accuser believes that the defendant will have no choice but to comply with his or her demands. A classic example is extortion associated with extramarital affairs. 
  • Divorce and Custody Disputes. One parent may falsely accuse the other of having sexually molested one or more of their children in order to gain an edge in family court. This has become so common that there have even been books, articles, and podcasts written about it over the past decade.

Use of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses testify about facts or general areas that are beyond the knowledge of the typical juror. There are forensic psychologists who can analyze videotaped interviews, especially with respect to children. This area of the law is evolving and is almost a necessity for most of the defenses in trial. 

An expert witness can also expose what are called “taint” hearings. Taint occurs when a child is subjected to biased or suggestive interviews. Parents, teachers, police officers, even therapists often ask leading questions, such as “he touched you there, didn’t he?” Sometimes, the adult is not even aware of the suggestive nature of his or her questioning. Other times, the adult may deliberately or maliciously attempt to distort the child’s understanding of what actually happened. Either way, children who are eager to please adults will often give the answer that they feel like the adult wants to hear and can even build false memories that never actually occurred.

sexual assault defense attorney phoenix

Contact Sexual Assault Criminal Defense Attorney, Belén Olmedo Guerra

At Belén Law Firm, we handle all kinds of sex crime cases, including allegations of sexual abuse, rape, child pornography, sexual exploitation or online solicitation of a minor, prostitution and solicitation of prostitution in Arizona, molestation, and any other form of sexual misconduct

If you’ve been charged with sexual assault or any other sex crime, you need an experienced, aggressive Phoenix criminal defense attorney like Belén Olmedo Guerra. Sexual assault charges are among the most serious types of sex crimes, and a conviction can lead to not only several criminal penalties like prison time, but also mandatory sex offender registration, which can brand you as a sexual predator for the rest of your life.

Belén understands the severity of sexual assault charges in Arizona, and for that reason, she gives her all in defending each and every one of her clients. To get in touch with a 24 hour criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, call 602-715-0908 and schedule a free initial consultation to establish your attorney-client relationship as soon as possible. 

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