A recent case in which a Florida couple convicted of "lewd and lacivious" conduct for having sex on the beach (admittedly in daylight), and who refused a number of plea offers prior to trial, appears to exhibit the harsh reality of sex offense laws throughout the country. It appears from the news articles that both boyfriend and girlfriend will have to register as sex offenders and that the man, who has a prior conviction, will receive a mandatory period in prison, possibly 15 years.
In the State of Arizona, the laws regarding sexual offenses, from sexual assault and indecent exposure to possession of child pornography and sexual abuse, carry severe penalties and collateral consequences that include mandatory prison, sex offender registration, community notification, and probationary terms that restrict one's ability to use computers, work in certain jobs and maintain an otherwise normal life.
While such penalties may arguably be appropriate in certain cases, the charging polices of most prosecutor offices are to bring the most severe charges possible and bargain from there. This allows the State to use mandatory sentencing and sex offender regisration to leverage guilty pleas in cases where clients may otherwise choose to go to trial or otherwise assert their rights -- for example, by litigating a motion to suppress evidence.