Adultery Law in Arizona

It really is incredible the things you can learn in law, even after 10 years of study and practice. Generally when it comes to cheating significant others, I think a lot of people who have been there have wished they could do something about it. I know I’ve seen my fair share of cases where some did say they were going to do something about it and were punished for it, but what if I told you there was a legal way to get back at that cheating heart? That’s right, folks: Arizona has a law on adultery.

ARS 13-1408 outlaws adultery in Arizona. Obviously for this to apply, there have to be some parameters - you can’t go trying to legally shake-down every Tinder date that didn’t text you back. ARS 13-1408 constitutes adultery as “a married person who has sexual intercourse with another than his or her spouse” or “an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person.” This is the extent of the verbiage, so some gray areas exist, such as: do you have to have been informed that the other person is married? Do you have to be the one that initiates the romance? There’s wiggle room here, but more on that in a minute.

A violation of ARS 13-1408 is a Class 3 Misdemeanor, which comes with a penalty of up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or a year’s probation. They say love is blind, and usually justice is, too, but I have to say, that’s quite the penalty for anything short of true love.

Back to the gray area, these penalties are only enforceable upon filing of a complaint from the affected partner -the one not cheating- and they have to provide evidence of the alleged infidelity. The next question is: would this charge even hold? To the best of our knowledge, no Arizona court has tried a case on this charge alone. It’s a nice one to try and stack in a divorce court proceeding, but what happens behind closed doors generally tends to stay behind closed doors. Everyone loves a good bit of karmic justice, but you’d have to air a lot of dirty laundry to get legal justice in a case like this, and you’d really have to weigh your options before playing this card.

That being said, if you find yourself on the wrong side of love, Palestini Law is here to help you explore your legal options in your quest to let love and let live. We don’t handle divorces, but we do handle the next best thing: literally any other legal circumstance. They say it’s better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all, to which we say… are you sure about that? If you need any legal defense counsel, call Palestini Law today.


Originally from Toronto, Canada, James Palestini relocated to Arizona where he received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies with a minor in Criminology from Arizona State University. James then attended law school at Phoenix School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctorate degree. While pursuing his doctorate, James interned at a criminal defense firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. James handled a multitude of criminal cases there, including felony, misdemeanor and criminal traffic matters.