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Tag Archives: Sexual Assault

When Intimacy Gets Complicated


Victims of sexual assault face devastating consequences for their ordeal. Oftentimes, victims struggle to regain a sense of physical and emotional security, and they can develop a range of disorders and depression. If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual assault, then understanding how your state treats the crime against you can help when it comes to seeking legal recourse. Every state tends to treat sexual assault differently by providing its own guidelines as to what constitutes sexual assault and what does not. If you have been the victim of sexual assault in the state of Arizona, below is an overview of what conditions constitute sexual assault.

Perpetrators of Sexual Assault

According to Arizona’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program, the state has seen a rise in the total number of sexual assault arrest charges. In the past 10 years, there has been a 24 percent increase in sexual assault charges, which means that victims are gaining the empowerment and support they need to take the necessary legal recourse against their assailants. Current statistics also indicate that, unfortunately, two-thirds of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Furthermore, 44 percent of victims are under the age of 18, and 80 percent are under age 30.

In the state of Arizona, sexual assault is treated as a criminal offense. Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1406, sexual assault is a class 2 felony. First-time offenders can face a minimum of 5.25 years in prison and a maximum of 14 years in prison. Prior convictions warrant much more severe penalties, which typically lead to an increased prison sentence.

Intimacy or Sexual Assault

Differentiating between intimacy and sexual assault can be very difficult. However, there are two significant factors that affect whether an encounter is intimate or sexual assault. These factors are the victim’s consent and his or her age. First, an individual is a victim of sexual assault if the assailant knowingly engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual conduct with them without their consent. The second instance, which involves age, is characterized as statutory rape if the victim is a minor under the age of 15 and the assailant is an adult.

The Burden of Proof

When it comes to cases of sexual assault, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. The prosecution must provide evidence and witnesses to prove that the defendant committed a crime. One major difficulty that most courts and victims face is navigating this dilemma when alcohol is involved. Alcohol makes satisfying the burden of proof more difficult, because intoxication tends to cloud judgment and prevents parties from recounting the exact course of events that led to the assault.

Legal Recourse

If you or someone you love has been accused of or is the victim of sexual assault in the state of Arizona, the Law Offices of Gonzales and Poirier can provide you with the legal support you need. Our Flagstaff criminal law firm caters to clients throughout our community and the Northern Arizona area. We can help you navigate through this difficult period to help you get the justice you deserve.

Two College Girls Drinking

Common Crimes Among College Students

College is often a time for experimentation and learning your limits. Many students begin drinking and/or trying drugs for the first time in college. The crimes that are associated with the college party lifestyle come in a vast array of seriousness. Here are five crimes that are prevalent in the collegiate demographic.

Public Intoxication

Two College Girls Drinking

Public intoxication in Arizona, also known as “drunk and disorderly,” is when a person is under the influence of alcohol or even drugs in a public place. The telltale signs of this offense often include lewd or disorderly behavior, a loud or obnoxious voice, or aggressive behavior. College students generally don’t have an extensive amount of experience drinking and may be more likely to underestimate their behavior because they don’t know the effects that alcohol may have on them.

Minor in Possession

Most students enter college at 18 years old. This means that for the first two or three years of their college experience, they are not old enough to drink in the United States. For this time period, college students are generally living on their own in dorms or apartments, and they feel like they are fully mature adults. This leads many students to drink prematurely. Purchasing a for a minor, or being under the age of 21 and in possession of alcohol, is illegal and may result in a Minor in Possession charge.

Possession or Use of a Controlled Substance

The term “controlled substance” means many things. We typically think of this term as referring to illegal drugs; however, this term can also be applied to the misuse of prescription medication. College students may feel the need to use drugs or medication to enhance their performance or to relieve stress. In recent years, drugs such as Ritalin have been used to help students focus for exams. Obtaining this medication or any drug illegally puts students at risk for serious criminal charges.

Driving Under the Influence

Handcuffs, Car Keys & Alcohol

Among college-age people, there is a lot of buzz about DUIs. As many as one in four college students has admitted to driving after drinking. Drinking and driving can result in fatal collisions and is always a serious offense. Many college students do not have a good sense of how alcohol affects them, and because of this, they may think it is okay to drive when it is not. Most people don’t have a clear understanding of how their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) fluctuates based on just a small amount of alcohol.

Rape & Sexual Assault

Rape is a crime that occurs in colleges more often than anyone would like to admit. As many as one in four college females will fall victim to rape, usually involving drugs or alcohol. This very serious crime occurs most often at parties when women are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Men can also be victims of rape. Anyone who is intoxicated is not of a sound mental state to provide consent. Most rape cases go unreported due to the personal nature of the crime. Rape is usually committed by a person that is relatively close to the victim.


Bureau of Justice Statistics: Terms and Definitions

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Harmful Alcohol Use


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