Most individuals are under the impression that the government cannot interfere in their private life, especially in the realm of sexual activity. However, as with everything, there are exceptions. Similar to most states, Arizona prohibits what is known as “public sexual indecency” and those who are charged with this sex crime not only face legal penalties, but also face significant potential damage to their employment, reputation and standing in the community.
If you’ve been charged with public sexual indecency, your first course of action should be to understand the charge and its legal ramifications. With this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to get the legal help that you need.
Public Sexual Indecency in Arizona
A public sexual indecency charge and its implications vary depending upon the circumstances. Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1403, a person commits public sexual indecency by “intentionally or knowingly engaging in any of the following acts, if another person is present, and the defendant is reckless about whether such other person, as a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by the act.” The acts that are prohibited under the public sexual indecency statute include:
- An act of sexual conduct
- An act of oral sexual conduct
- An act of sexual intercourse
- An act of bestiality
Essentially, to be charged for public sexual indecency, your need to intentionally or knowingly perform one of the acts listed above in the presence of another person. In addition, your need to be reckless as to whether the other person, as a reasonable person, is offended or alarmed by the act. While this is the general rule regarding public sexual indecency, there are additional provisions when a minor is involved, which will be discussed below.
Public Sexual Indecency with a Minor
Unlike general public sexual indecency, public sexual indecency with a minor is characterized under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1403(B) as a person, “intentionally or knowingly engaging in any of the acts listed in subsection A and such as person is reckless about whether a minor who is under fifteen years of age is present.”
To be charged with public sexual indecency with a minor, you need to intentionally or knowingly engage in any of the acts listed above in the presence of a minor who is under the age of fifteen.
Another distinction of public sexual indecency with a minor is that the punishment is much more severe. Those who are found guilty of public sexual indecency with a minor can be charged with a class five felony. In Arizona, a class five felony carries with it a presumptive term of two years and an aggravated term of two years and six months. The mitigated charge for class five felony is .5 years. What this means is that at the least, your lawyer can reduce your punishment to .5 years and in the worst case scenario, you can receive 2.5 years.
Punishments for Public Sexual Indecency
The punishment for public sexual indecency depends upon the charge; the more severe the charge, the greater the punishment. Normally, the charge will depend upon whether your action is a first offense, prior convictions, or whether you have a felony on your record.
Here are the potential punishments for public sexual indecency according to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1403:
- First offense is a class 1 misdemeanor. For a class five felony in this instance, punishment ranges from probation and zero days in jail to six months in prison
- If you are convicted of a felony violation, which would mean public sexual indecency with a minor, and you have two prior felony convictions on your record for public sexual indecency with a minor, there are a number of possible punishments. If mitigated, you can receive 6 years in prison. On the other hand, minimum sentencing is 8 years, presumptive sentencing is 10 years, the maximum is 12 years, and aggravated is 15 years.
Keep in mind that whether punishment is a mitigated, minimum, presumptive, or maximum depends upon the circumstances. For example, the court will consider whether there was duress, the defendant’s age, defendant’s ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of the crime, the taking of property, retaliation and if the defendant has any prior criminal offenses.
When considering maximum and aggravated sentences, Arizona courts may also weigh the evidence and opinions of the victim and the victim’s family.
Defenses for Public Sexual Indecency
If you’ve been charged with public sexual indecency, then there are a number of defenses that your attorney may argue for. Below are a few of the possible defenses that your attorney may use depending upon the circumstances and the facts of your case. Most defenses to public sexual indecency arise out of not meeting the statutory requirements.
The first defense that your attorney may raise is that your actions did not meet the conditions statute to constitute public sexual indecency. For example, the statue requires that the defendant “knowingly or intentionally” engage in certain acts. If your attorney can successfully argue that your actions were not done knowingly or intentionally, then you may not be guilty of public sexual indecency.
In addition to attacking your knowledge or intent, the attorney may also argue that your actions were not reckless. For example, your actions may not be reckless if you were hiding your actions, were in a place that was not exactly in public view, someone accidently happened to walk in on you.
The Tyler Allen Law Firm
The success of a public sexual indecency case rests upon the facts of your case, the circumstances of your actions, and most importantly, a quality attorney that is familiar with the law. At the Tyler Allen Law Firm, we work with you to provide you with the quality and thorough representation that you need to ensure that your rights are well protected. Our attorneys will work with you to understand your case, develop a strategy, and to provide you with the defenses that you need for a positive outcome. To get started on your case and for a consultation, feel free to fill out our contact form or call us today at 602-456-0545.