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Lawmakers lengthen prison sentences for certain sex crimes in Arizona

Legislation has been signed that lengthens prison sentences for defendants convicted of certain sexual crimes against minors.

PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers have tripled the length of time defendants convicted of certain sex crimes against children will spend in prison. 

House Bill 2696 extends the prison terms for Arizonans found guilty of continuous sexual abuse against a minor, a Class 2 felony. 

The minimum prison term for this offense has been increased from 13 to 39 years. The presumptive sentence jumped from 20 to 60 years and the maximum sentence rose from 27 to 81 years. 

To be convicted of continuous sexual abuse against a juvenile, the adult offender must have committed at least three sexual criminal acts with a child under 14 within the span of at least three months, according to Arizona law.

HB 2696 additionally requires that defendants convicted of the following sex crimes are not eligible for probation or early release until their prison sentence has been served or commuted:

  • trafficking of persons for forced labor or services; 
  • sexual extortion; 
  • participating in human smuggling organizations or operations; 
  • causing a spouse to become a prostitute; 
  • detaining a person in a house of prostitution; 
  • luring or aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation; 
  • the unlawful sale or purchase of children.

The legislation was signed into law this week by Gov. Doug Ducey.

HB 2696 also revises the criminal offense of participating in a human smuggling organization by including anyone who knowingly assists in the transportation of a person to either conceal the person from a peace officer or assist the person in fleeing from a peace officer.

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