Sex Crimes

Sex Crimes

Q: What is a sexual offense?

AA sexual offense involves sexual conduct without consent by the other person. Without consent includes any of the following (A.R.S. §13-1401):

  • The victim is coerced with immediate use or threatened use of force against a person or property
  • The victim is incapable of consent due to a mental disorder, drugs, alcohol, sleep, etc.
  • The victim is intentionally deceived
  • The victim is intentionally deceived to believe that the person is the victim's spouse


Q: What types of offenses are considered sex crimes?

AAccording to Arizona law, below is a summarized list:

A detailed list can be found here.


Q: What are the legal consequences for sexual offenses?

A: The legal penalties depend on the type of sexual offense, age of the victim as well as other factors. Many sexual offenses are classified as felonies which are the most serious types of criminal violations. Conviction of nearly all sex crimes requires lifetime registration as a sex offender (A.R.S. §13-3821). Visit and search Chapter 14 - Sexual Offenses for a full listing of legal consequences.


Q: If I am 18, is it illegal for me to have sexual conduct with someone who is 16?

A: According to Arizona law, it is illegal to knowingly have sex with a minor (any person under the age of 18) even if that person “consents” to the act (A.R.S. §13-1405). Sexual conduct with a minor under 15 years old is a class 2 felony (A.R.S. §13-705) and 15 years and older is a class 6 felony.


Q: Can sexual offenses occur even when you are dating or married?

A: Absolutely. The same laws still apply regardless if you are dating or are married to the person who committed the crime or if you are the person who is committing the crime against your partner.


Q: What is sexual assault?

ASexual assault is a crime classified as a class 2 felony. Sexual assault is committed by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without the consent of that person (A.R.S. §13-1406).


Q: What is sexual abuse?

A: According to Arizona Law (A.R.S. §13-1404), sexual abuse occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally engages in sexual contact with a person who is 15 or older without their consent or with a person who is under 15 if the sexual contact involves only the female breast. Sexual abuse is a class 5 felony unless the victim is under 15, then it is a class 3 felony under  (A.R.S. §13-705).


Q: Is it illegal for me to text a naked picture of the 16 year old that I'm dating to my friends?

AYes. Sexual exploitation of a minor is a class 2 felony (A.R.S. §13-3553) and includes:

  • Recording, filming, photographing, developing, or duplicating any images of a minor engaging in sexual conduct
  • Distributing, transporting, exhibiting, receiving, selling, purchasing, electronically transmitting, possessing, or exchanging any visual images of a minor engaging in sexual conduct


Q: Someone I used to date cheated on me, so I posted nude pictures of them all over social media to get back at them. Did I commit a crime?

AYes. This is called "revenge porn". According to A.R.S. §13-1425, it is illegal for you to intentionally share an image of another person who is identifiable from the image or can be gathered from the information in connection with the image if all of the following apply:

  • The person in the image is nude or participating in sexual activities
  • The person has a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • The image was shared with intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the person in the picture


Q: What are the legal consequences for "revenge porn"?

AAccording to Arizona law, a violation of A.R.S. §13-1425(A) is a class 5 felony, except in the following situations:

  • If the image is disclosed electronically, then it is classified as a class 4 felony
  • If a person threatens to disclose the image, but does not disclose, then it is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor



Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.