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Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation in Arizona

Arizona has made the protection of minors in the state a top priority, and uses harsh penalties to enforce crimes such as luring a minor for sexual exploitation. The state law that defines and punishes luring a minor is A.R.S. §13-3554, which makes it illegal to offer sex to, or lure a minor into sexual contact while knowing, or having reason to know, the minor is underage.

Many prosecutions under A.R.S. §13-3554 occur where an undercover police officer pretending to be a minor in an online chat room contacts a man 18 years of age or older. The officer then engages the defendant in conversation, providing a fake photograph of a young girl to convince the defendant of the officer’s false identity. Once the defendant’s suspicions have been allayed, the officer will set up a meeting, often at a fast food restaurant or similar destination, and the defendant will be arrested by a team of police officers when arriving for the rendezvous.

 

Potential Penalties for Luring a Minor

The crime of luring a minor in Arizona is considered a class-three felony, and a first-time offender will face a sentence of between two (2) years minimum to eight years and nine months (8.75 years) maximum in prison, or up to one year in jail, along with probation. If the defendant has one (1) prior allegeable conviction, the potential prison sentence is between three years, six months (3.5 years) and sixteen years, three months (16.25 years). Meanwhile, third-time offenders are subject to prison terms of seven years, six months (7.5 years) to twenty-five (25 years).

Certain circumstances can give rise to higher penalties under the Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) statute. This statute applies where the defendant lured an actual minor rather than an undercover officer, and that minor was under the age of fifteen (15). As a result of the DCAC application, the minimum prison sentence is five (5) years, with a presumptive sentence of ten (10) years, and a maximum sentence of fifteen (15) years. If the defendant has one prior conviction under the DCAC or another qualifying felony, the maximum penalty is twenty-two (22) years in prison, with a minimum of eight (8) years and a presumptive penalty of fifteen (15) years.

Sentencing under the DCAC is harsh, with those convicted of multiple counts required to serve the sentences back-to-back, effectively doubling the applicable prison term. And the DCAC requires that the entire duration of the sentence is served; no early release is possible. Another serious consequence is that a conviction will require you to register as a Sex Offender for your entire life. This status means that you cannot have contact with minors — even your own children — without the approval of your probation officer and a rigorous testing process.

Potential Defenses to Luring a Minor

It is important to fight serious charges with strong defenses. One particular sticking point of this charge is that you can be convicted even if the victim is not a minor – which is why contact with an undercover officer can result in arrest. However, one effective defense is demonstrating a lack of intent to actually follow through with sexual contact. If the defense can demonstrate the contact was initiated for a legitimate purpose, such as friendship only, this indicates a lack of intent to engage in sexual activity. As part of this defense, we will present evidence such as the lack of detailed plans for sex, the lack of possession of large amounts of cash (where solicitation of child prostitution charges are brought), lack of possession of condoms, gifts or presents.

Because prosecutors use computer-based evidence for these charges, we will investigate the contents of your hard drive to ensure we are prepared for any additional charges that may be brought and to make sure all evidence brought against you is legitimate. For example, if the prosecution alleges they found child pornography on your computer, they can bring charges of actual sexual exploitation of a minor, a much more serious charge.

When it comes to sex crime defense, the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor is a top rated firm with extensive experience in the field. Our attorneys have access to the firm’s comprehensive library of sexual crime defense resources and have attended many seminars hosted by the renowned organization, the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center. As a result, the firm’s attorneys have unique insights into defending the falsely accused and have received training involving forensic questioning techniques and interviewing. These skills can help identify improprieties in the interviewing process of the minor involved and uncover any leading of the minor into confessions to facts necessary for charges.

The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor is committed to offering a robust defense, so we will also assert Constitutional defenses on your behalf. These include violation of your Miranda rights, such as when your rights were not properly read to you, or you were forced, tricked, or otherwise improperly induced into making statements that incriminate you. Another defense is denial of the right to counsel, in which the police fail to allow you to contact a lawyer when you request one and continue questioning you regardless.

Our firm can also attack the validity of police procedures, such as the use of an improper search warrant; forensic flaws in the investigation stage; erroneously conducted photo lineups; or sloppy, misleading or inaccurate police reports.

Due to the serious and life-changing consequences of conviction for crimes such as luring a minor for sexual exploitation, it is crucial that you have a top law firm to defend you. The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor features many former prosecutors and has the highest Martindale Hubbell® rating of AV®. Mr. Cantor is also a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and he and the rest of the firm are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. Call us anytime at (602) 307-0808 or click here to access our confidential online contact form to request a free consultation.

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