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An Overview of Sexual Misconduct Laws in Arizona

There are a variety of different sex offenses in the state of Arizona. One of the lesser-known laws is sexual misconduct, which is detailed in ARS 13-1418. This sex offense specifically prohibits sexual misconduct between behavioral health professionals and their clients.

According to the statute,

A behavioral health professional commits sexual misconduct by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse with a client. Sexual misconduct by a licensed behavioral health professional is a class 6 felony.

Who are behavioral health professionals?

The Arizona Revised Statutes list the following occupations under the classification of "behavioral health professional" –

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Anyone licensed to practice by the board of behavioral health examiners pursuant to ARS 32-3251.

Prohibited Acts

Behavioral health professionals cannot have a sexual relationship with one of their clients while the client is under their active care. So then, misconduct is any sexual act or intercourse between these two parties, regardless of consent.

It is not prohibited for a former client to have a relationship with their former behavioral health doctor. As long as the client has completed their course or treatment completely and no longer under the behavioral health professional's care.

Penalties for a Class 6 Felony

Anyone convicted of a class 6 felony faces a minimum of six months in prison with the possibility of parole (in cases of first-time felony offenders). If the offense is classified as a "dangerous felony" then the minimum prison time for a class 6 felony increases to 1.5 years in prison. To learn more about Arizona's minimum sentencing guidelines for felonies, view Arizona Mandatory Minimum Sentences on our legal blog.

Anyone accused of a crime deserves a legal advocate they can trust. To learn more about how the Phoenix sex crime attorneys at MayesTelles PLLC could help you, call us today at (602) 490-8732 or fill out a free consultation form.

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