SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR DEFENSE ATTORNEYS IN ARIZONA
WHAT IS SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR?
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR (CHILD PORNOGRAPHY): A.R.S. 13-3553
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor is an offense related to the making, distribution, or possession of child pornography. This type of conduct is criminalized in every jurisdiction. But the State of Arizona carries some of the harshest penalties in the nation, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office aggressively prosecutes these offenses. In Arizona, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor is a Class 2 Felony punishable as a Dangerous Crime Against Children under A.R.S. 13-705. Because this offense is a DCAC, a person must serve 100% of the prison sentence imposed.
Law enforcement is generally easily able to detect these offenses and track them to specific IP addresses, which leads them to investigate, and ultimately obtain a warrant for a person’s home to seize all of the person’s electronic devices and anything on them. Law enforcement will generally serve the warrant on the person’s residence whether or not the person is there, and whether or not the person’s family is there. During the execution of the warrant, law enforcement will seize all electronic devices, including the devices you have on the person when they make contact with them. There may not be an arrest right away, but law enforcement will confiscate all of these items and maintain them for processing. Law enforcement may be able to forensically evaluate the devices immediately, or it could take months. Regardless, it is very important to not discuss anything with law enforcement at any point in time, and to not discuss the situation with anybody except an attorney experienced in handling these matters. There are several issues that may be raised in this type of investigation (i.e., search warrant, computer forensic examination, third party culpability etc.), and if you are the target of an investigation, it is very important to immediately contact a seasoned attorney familiar with this esoteric area of the law.
Jeremy Huss of Oliverson & Huss has been practicing criminal law in Arizona for nearly 20 years, and he is well-versed in how these offenses are treated by the State. Indeed, Mr. Huss has handled these cases as both a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. He understands how these cases are investigated and prosecuted, and develops strategies with that knowledge. Also, Mr. Huss works closely with his own computer forensic experts and investigators that review evidence, police procedure, and assist Mr. Huss in the defense of these cases.
This type of offense is extremely serious, and the State treats it harshly. Many people have the misconception that “just possessing photographs” is treated quite differently than committing the actual act. However, that is not true at all. Possessing just 1 photograph of Sexually Exploitative material is a Class 2 Felony, Dangerous Crime Against Children, carrying a sentence of 10 to 24 years in prison, the presumptive sentence being 17 years. However, the State never charges just one count. An indictment in most Arizona Superior Courts consist of 10 counts, all of them carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years. By law, these sentences must run consecutively (stacked), so the minimum sentence at trial is generally 100 years. These offenses are as serious as any offense in the State of Arizona. It is important to consult with an attorney who can advise you through an investigation, and prosecution.
LURING A MINOR FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: ARS 13-3554
In Arizona, Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person lures or offers sex with a person knowing, or having reason to know the person is under the age of 18.
This offense is generally charged in situations where a person is chatting online with a police officer who is holding himself out to be a juvenile (14 generally). If a person attempts to solicit some type of sexual behavior, the person can be charged and convicted with Luring a MInor for Sexual Exploitation despite the fact that the person they were dealing with was really a police officer over the age of 18. In these “sting operations” law enforcement will generally reach out to people and engage with them. If a person is predisposed, they unknowingly engage with law enforcement, who is holding themselves out as a 14 year old girl. Law enforcement is very skilled in these sting operations, and knows not to push the person, but after a meeting is arranged, law enforcement will ask the person to bring certain items (i.e., 3 Red Bulls, condoms, 4 Butterfinger Bars, etc.) to corroborate.
Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation is a Class 3 Felony. If the arrest arose out of a “sting operation” where the person was communicating with a law enforcement officer posing as a person under the age of 15, the offense is probation eligible, but carries a possible prison sentencing range of 2 to 8.75 years prison, with the presumptive being 3.5 years. If the arrest arose out of a situation where the person was communicating with an actual person under the age of 15, the offense is punishable as a Dangerous Crime Against Children under A.R.S. 13-705. This offense is probation eligible, but carries a possible prison sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison, with a presumptive of 10 years. Because this is punishable as a Dangerous Crime Against Children, any person convicted must serve 100% of the sentence. Also, Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation is an offense that requires sex offender registration.
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