If you have been charged with the offense of luring a minor for sexual exploitation in Arizona, you are facing severe consequences. All sex crimes in Arizona are subject to extremely harsh penalties. A conviction for a sex offense can have life-altering consequences for the rest of your life. Your life can be seriously impacted by the consequences of a sex offense conviction.
This pages talks about the following topics:
- What is Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation?
- Police Sting Operations
- What if an Actual Child was Not Involved?
- Is “Sexting” Against the Law?
- What are Possible Punishments if Charged?
- What is a Felony Aggravated Luring a Minor?
- Potential Defenses to the Charges
Whether you are in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, luring a minor for sexual exploitation happens when a defendant lures someone for sexual purposes when he or she has reason to believe or knows that the person is a minor. If you are convicted of this offense, you can face decades in prison when the minor is younger than 15 years old. Getting help from the experienced sex crimes attorney at DM Cantor may help you to obtain a better outcome in your case.
Watch this video of David Michael Cantor explain charges of Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation.
What is Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation?
The crime of luring a minor for sexual exploitation is defined in A.R.S. § 13-3554. Under this statute, you can be charged with the offense if you offer sex, solicit sex, or lure a person who you know or have reason to know is a minor. This crime is classified as a Class 3 felony. In many cases when people are arrested for luring a minor for sexual exploitation, the conduct in question is committed using the internet.
How Police use Sting Operations to Catch Luring a Minor
Police conduct sting operations in an effort to catch people for luring minors for the purposes of sex. While the details vary, the operations often involve police officers who pose as children who are younger than age 15 in online chatrooms or websites. The officers then participate in conversations with the defendants, and the conversations become sexual in nature. Pictures may be exchanged. The officers may ask for the targets to send them pictures by email. In return, the officers will use pictures of minors and pretend that they are their own pictures when they send them to the targets. Next, the officers will arrange for a meeting to take place. When the defendant arrives, he or she will be greeted by police officers who are there to arrest him or her.
What if an Actual Child was Not Involved?
Under the statute, the fact that the other person is not actually a minor is not a defense to the charge of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. Instead, the crime happens when the solicitation or offer is made by the defendant. Despite the fact that the person who was solicited for sex was actually an adult police officer, you can still be charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation. The key is the age that the person online claimed to be. If the person claimed to be someone who is younger than age 18, offering or soliciting sex to or from that person is unlawful.
Is “Sexting” Against the Law?
Transmitting sexually orientated text messages, or “sexting” as commonly referred to, may be a sex crime in Arizona, depending on the ages of the participants. If one of the participants who has engaged in sexting is younger than age 18, it could constitute the offense of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. However, it is a defense to the charge when neither of the participants is younger than 15 and the older participant is under 19. It is also a defense when both participants are still in high school and are within two years of one another. Finally, under A.R.S. § 13-1407, the sexting must be consensual for these defenses to apply. (View page: How “Sexting” can lead to a Sex Crimes Charge)
Possible Punishments for Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation
The penalties that you might face if you are convicted of luring a minor for sexual exploitation will depend on the online persona’s or actual person’s age that you are accused of luring or soliciting. If the person is aged 15 to 17, it is a Class 3 felony carrying a potential sentence of up to 8.75 years in prison. In many cases, however, the purported child will be younger than age 15. In these cases, the offense is considered to be a Dangerous Crime Against Children or DCAC. This can result in an enhanced penalty ranging from a minimum of 5 years up to a maximum of 15 years in prison for a first offense. It is possible to receive a sentence to probation.
If you have one prior conviction, the prison sentence that you might face will range from 3.25 years up to 16.25 years. If you have two prior convictions, the prison sentence will range from 7.5 years up to 25 years.
If you are convicted of a DCAC and have a prior predicate conviction, your punishment range will be increased to a minimum of 21 years, a presumptive of 28 years, and a maximum of 35 years. A DCAC conviction will require you to serve 100% of your prison sentence before you will be eligible to be released. If you are convicted of two separate counts, they will be run consecutively. This means that the prison sentences at the minimum, presumptive, or maximum levels will be doubled.
Finally, if you are convicted of the DCAC luring of a child, you will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. You may also be prohibited from having contact with any person who is younger than age 18, including your own children. Any contact with a minor will likely first require you to undergo a variety of tests and to secure your probation officer’s consent.
Registration as a sex offender will be required under A.R.S. 13-3821.
Felony Aggravated Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation
Aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation involves sending a sexually explicit picture or video to the online person in addition to soliciting him or her for sex or offering sex to him or her. This is commonly known as “sexting” or sending “d**k pics.” If you share these types of images with the purported child, you can be convicted of aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation.
Under A.R.S. § 13-3560, you will face even greater penalties if you are convicted of aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation. If you are convicted of this offense when the purported child is under age 15, probation will not be available to you. The minimum prison sentence will be 10 years, and you can be sentenced to a maximum prison sentence of 24 years. If the purported child is between 15 to 17 years old, you might receive probation. However, you could be sentenced to serve up to 12.5 years in prison. Aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation will also require you to register as a sex offender after you are convicted.
If the online person was a real minor that you lured and was younger than age 15, it is considered a Dangerous Crime Against Children or DCAC. DCAC would not apply if the alleged victim is not a minor under the age of 15, or a police officer posing as a minor under the age of 15.
Potential Defense Tactics to these Charges
There are a variety of defenses that you might have available to you in your case, including the following:
- No intent to follow through for a sexual act
- Violation of your Miranda rights
- Denial of your right to an attorney
It is important to note that the statute for luring a minor for sexual exploitation specifically states that the fact that the person who you solicited, lured, or offered sex to is not a real minor is not a defense. This means that you can still be convicted of luring a minor even when the person to whom you were talking was an adult.
Because of this, most defenses to this crime will involve you showing that you did not have the intent to follow through to commit a sexual act with the purported minor. The prosecutor will be required to prove that you lured the minor for the purposes of committing a sex act instead of for a different purpose. Some evidence that you might use to show that you did not have the intent to commit a sex act includes whether or not you had condoms or a large amount of cash. Other evidence might include whether you brought any presents and the degree to which your online communications referred to any plans for sexual acts.
When you have been charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation, you should also be prepared for the prosecutor to charge you with additional offenses. In most cases, the police will seek a search warrant once you have been arrested. After they secure the search warrant, the officers will then go to your home or business to confiscate your computer to search for its IP address and the passwords that you used on your computer. The police will first clone your hard drive in an effort to avoid being accused of tampering with your computer to add photos or messages. The officers will search for evidence of the communication that occurred as well as any child pornography. If the officers find child pornography, they will add charges of child pornography with sexual exploitation of a minor, which is more serious.
Under the U.S. Constitution, you have the right against self-incrimination, the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney. If any of these rights have been violated, your lawyers may file constitutional motions to challenge the admissibility of certain types of evidence against you. For example, when you are taken into custody, the police must read you your rights before they can conduct a custodial interrogation. If the officers fail to properly advise you of your rights, your lawyer may challenge the admissibility of any inculpatory statements that you made during your interrogation. Similarly, if you asked for a lawyer and the officers denied your request and continued to question you, your lawyer may ask for your statements and any evidence that may have been derived from them to be suppressed.
In any instance when you are stopped by the police or are arrested, you should remember that you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions that you are asked by the officer. While you must provide them with your identification, you do not have to answer questions about the alleged criminal offense. It is important for you to exercise this right. Many defendants wrongly believe that they can talk their way out of being charged. In actuality, making statements simply means that you will be giving the prosecutor more information to use against you during your criminal case.
Serious Charges Need Serious Legal Representation
If you have been charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation, it is vital for you to get help from an experienced sex crimes lawyer. If you try to represent yourself, you are likely to be convicted and to face substantial prison time and other consequences.
The attorneys at DM Cantor have successfully defended hundreds of people against sex crimes charges and allegations, including luring a minor for sexual exploitation. We believe that all people deserve to the chance to present a strong defense to criminal charges and will aggressively fight to protect your freedom and your rights. David Cantor is Board Certified as a Criminal Law Specialist, and has years of experience defending his clients against all levels of crimes, including serious sex offenses. To learn more about how we can help you, contact DM Cantor today by calling us at 602-691-5907.
For more information on charges of Luring A Minor For Sexual Exploitation, please refer to our parent site for DM Cantor.