Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation in Arizona: What You Need to Know About ARS 13-3554
According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3554, it is illegal to know — or have good reason to know — that an individual an alleged perpetrator is luring is not of the age of consent. In other words, when you use anything to attract, bribe, seduce, entice, tempt, or charm an individual you know full well who is either 14 years of age or younger, you could be charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation in Arizona.
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It is oftentimes the case that the person doing the “luring” is doing so online, usually by way of social media or some kind of chat room. In these scenarios, the person “being lured” is not, in fact, a minor child but a full-grown adult pretending to be a child for the purpose of setting up a sting with the alleged perpetrator.
Typically, the alleged perpetrator might ask for some proof that the person s/he is speaking to is, in fact, a minor under the age of 14. At this point, law enforcement will send the alleged perpetrator an image of a girl or boy who has nothing to do with this setup; once the alleged perpetrator bites, the authorities set up a meeting in a public place so as not to scare away the alleged perpetrator — and once s/he arrives, s/he is ambushed by law enforcement, arrested, and from there will be booked for luring a minor for sexual exploitation.
But is this fair? Is this entrapment? Is the deceitful nature of law enforcement doing more harm than good? Are they finding the people who are actually luring small children who are already wise to the tricks law enforcement uses to catch them?
There’s no way to answer all of these questions here, but we can say that yes, it is absolutely possible to beat charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation — especially if there never was a child. You could, therefore, never have lured him or her.
Have more questions about your luring a minor for sexual exploitation case? Give the Law Office of Daniel Hutto a call today at (602) 536-7878 to get started with your free legal consultation right away!
Potential Penalties and Sentencing for Luring a Minor Child for Sexual Exploitation in Arizona
Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3554, luring a minor for sexual exploitation is a class 3 felony. However, when this is the first conviction of the defendant, penalties and sentencing can vary quite a bit.
- For first-time offenders with no prior felony record, sentencing can include everything from probation and 0 days to 1 year in jail. Depending on more nefarious circumstances, sentencing can change from a minimum of 2 years up to 8.75 years in prison.
- For those convicted of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, with one prior felony conviction, there is no option for probation or jail. Prison sentencing starts at a minimum of 3.5 years, with a maximum of 16.25 years.
- For those found guilty of this new crime who previously had two prior felony convictions, probation and jail are taken off the table here as well. Prison sentencing will range from a minimum of 7.5 years to a maximum of 25 years in prison.
It’s important to note that if an actual minor child under the age of 15 — and not an undercover agent representing the law — statute ARS 13-3554 dictates that this type of luring of a minor child for sexual exploitation is now considered a Dangerous Crime Against Children (DCAC).
Each DCAC charge carries with it a single, separate punishment for every single DCAC crime committed according to the following guidelines:
- First-time offenders will spend a minimum of 5 years in prison and up to 10 years in prison for each separate offense s/he is found guilty of.
- If the guilty party has a single prior felony conviction, especially those that broke DCAC laws or were other serious felonies, the prison sentence ranges from a minimum of 8 years per convicted offense up to 22 years in prison per convicted offense.
More on What DCAC Laws Could Mean for Those Convicted of Luring a Child for Sexual Exploitation in Arizona
Those who are serving DCAC time are not eligible for release until their entire prison sentence has been served in full. And, if the perpetrator is convicted of two separate charges of luring a minor child for sexual exploitation, s/he must serve each sentence separately (consecutively) and is never allowed to run their sentences concurrently.
Finally, upon release from prison, a person convicted of luring a minor child for sexual exploitation in Arizona will have to register with both the Federal and the state of Arizona Sex Offender Registry.
Enrollment on this registry is for life and precludes you from having any interaction with anyone under the age of 18 — including any minor children you may have.
The Defense You Need is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Understands Sex Crimes Charges in Arizona.
It surprises many of our clients to learn that they can be charged with luring a minor, even when the person on the other end of the line — so to speak — was actually an adult. In fact, in the state of Arizona, our statute on luring a minor for sexual exploitation is quite clear, stating that the alleged victim need not be a minor for you to be charged.
Ironic though it may seem, there’s no chance the statute will be changed anytime soon, so the best option in most cases is for the defendant to be able to prove that his or her intent was not to follow through with any kind of sex act with a minor (or in some cases, an adult pretending to be a minor).
What’s critical to remember is that the prosecution in these types of cases knows they’ve got nothing to work with if there is no evidence. Things that could help the prosecution would be things like the presence of sex toys, condoms, bondage-type equipment, and so on.
In some instances, a prosecution may try to get a conviction for solicitation of child prostitution instead — this is a case they could win if you were found to have a large amount of cash on your person or in your car upon being ambushed by law enforcement.
Absent this, arguing that what you were looking for was friendship will be a lot easier to prove in court — and to a jury.
Be Prepared for What Could Be Coming Next
In some instances — especially when a prosecution feels their case is not that strong — they will go to extraordinary lengths to obtain search warrants of your home, car, or in some instances, even your office.
Once inside these places, they will seize any electronic device where you may have communicated with an alleged minor, cloning your hard drive before returning it to you in an effort to avoid being accused of having meddled with your device(s).
Your Best Defense: An Arizona Defense Law Team Who Understands Sex Crime Allegations, Charges, and Convictions
The most important part of building any defense against child abuse in the state of Arizona is establishing that any alleged abuse was neither intentional nor done knowingly; by demonstrating this, the most severe punishments cannot be considered in your case. And, if the prosecution tries to argue that you were reckless or negligent, our job as your Arizona criminal lawyer is to demonstrate that you were not in “gross deviation” of the standard of conduct a reasonable person would demonstrate under the same circumstances.
At the Law Office of Daniel Hutto, we will aggressively represent you, ensuring the court and the jury understand your side of the story and every nuance of the circumstances that led to your charges. To get you started right away, our knowledgeable and caring attorneys offer free legal consultations — this helps us to best understand your side of the story and begin building your case. To get started with your no-cost consultation, dial 602.833.2741 today.
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