Q: What do I need to know if I’ve been charged with a sex offense?

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1 – What do I need to know if I’ve been charged with a sex offense?

If you have been charged with a sexual offense in the state of Arizona, you should know that you may be facing some of the most severe sentencing penalty ranges in this state and within the entire country.  Sexual offenses committed against children 14 years of age and under, also classified as Dangerous Crimes Against Children, can carry more prison time than murder.  If you’ve been charged with a sexual offense, you should expect to be prosecuted by a highly trained and experienced prosecutor.  Because sex offenses are not only very serious, but highly technical, specialized expertise is required to prosecute them.  As a result, the state governor has mandated that any state prosecutor who prosecutes sexual offenses must participate in a lengthy training process provided by state, government and other local agencies.  It’s important to keep in mind that this training is not required by defense attorneys and therefore you may be at an immediate and significant disadvantage if you have been charged with a sexual offense and you are represented by someone without this training.  

Additionally, because sexual offenses carry such severe penalties, you should expect the process to take longer than most other cases.  It can take the state months to thoroughly investigate the case before you’re ever even charged with the crime.  Once you’ve been charged with a crime, a good defense attorney should take the time needed pick apart the state’s investigation for any constitutional violations or legal errors, and to thoroughly investigate the case independently before the case is resolved.  Depending upon the legal strategies adopted by you and your defense attorney, you may decide to present mitigating evidence or a psychosexual evaluation.  This process also takes time when done effectively.

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