Engaging in sexual behavior is always risky on some level, but it is vital to understand the age of your partner before doing so. In the event that you do not abide by the age of consent laws in Arizona, you may find yourself dealing with serious criminal charges.
Even though all 50 states have the age of consent laws, they differ between states. According to Age of Consent, the age of consent in Arizona is 18 years old.
What does this mean?
In the event that you engage in sexual conduct with an individual under the age of 18, Arizona may subject you to criminal charges. The severity of the charges depends on how severe the crime is. For instance, continuous sexual abuse of a child younger than 14 is a Class 2 felony and may result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Are there any exceptions?
The State of Arizona does have “Romeo and Juliet” laws, which intend to protect individuals who are close in age engaging in sexual relations. For example, if the defendant in question is younger than 19 years old or still attending high school, this is a defense against engaging in sexual relations with an individual 15 years of age or older.
Arizona also does allow an ignorance defense. Essentially, if the defendant can prove that he or she did not know the victim was between 15 or 17 years of age and there is no reasonable way that the defendant could have known this, this may possibly be a defense in some circumstances. Another defense against the age of consent laws is if the individuals in question are spouses.