What Does Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Mean?
Many people ask what does sexual exploitation of a minor mean? Sexual exploitation of a minor is a charge related to making, distributing, or possessing child pornography, or of luring a minor, via the Internet for example, for purposes of sexual exploitation. What you must be going through after getting wrongly accused of sexual exploitation of a minor cannot be understood as much as our Phoenix sexual exploitation of a minor attorneys at Snader Law Group. We will ensure we understand your unique case so we can strategize better.
If you have been arrested in Arizona for child exploitation, you are urgently in need of immediate help from a fully qualified Phoenix criminal defense lawyer. Here’s why: Arizona has some of the harshest laws in the nation on sexual exploitation of a minor, carrying penalties so severe that some people believe that they violate the constitutional prohibition against “cruel and unusual” punishment!
Contact Snader Law Group to schedule your free case consultation with a Phoenix sexual exploitation of a minor lawyer.
The Penalties for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
Penalties for sexual exploitation of a minor are severe because of the seriousness associated with this crime. A conviction qualifies as a Class 2 felony, which carries the following penalties:
- A first-time offender can expect to receive anywhere from 3 to 12.5 years imprisonment.
- Those with one prior felony conviction may face between 4.5 years up to 23 years in prison.
- Offenders with 3 felony convictions face 10.5 years up to 35 years in prison.
If the minor involved in the sexually exploitative images or videos is under 15 years of age, it escalates a “dangerous crime against children.” This classification comes with significant legal implications.
The sentencing for exploitation of a minor below 15 can range from 10 to 24 years in prison.
It’s critical to understand that an Arizona conviction for sexual exploitation of a minor carries a penalty of a minimum of ten years prison time for each violation. That means 10 years of incarceration for possessing a single pornographic image!
If you are caught with more than one pornographic image, each one can add 10 more years to your sentence, because state law requires that the sentences for multiple counts must be served consecutively.
If you have downloaded only 10 pictures depicting a minor engaged in a sexual act, you could be sentenced to 100 years in prison! A number of people are currently serving sentences of several hundred years in Arizona prisons for possessing multiple images of child pornography.
What Constitutes Sexual Exploitation of a Minor?
You can be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor if you knowingly:
- Record, film, photograph, develop or duplicate any visual depiction showing a minor engaged in any kind of exploitative exhibition or sexual conduct.
- Distribute, transport, exhibit, receive, sell, purchase, electronically transmit, possess or exchange any visual depiction in which a minor is engaged in exploitative exhibition or sexual conduct.
“A person commits sexual exploitation of a minor by knowingly:
- Recording, filming, photographing, developing or duplicating any visual depiction in which a minor is engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct.
- Distributing, transporting, exhibiting, receiving, selling, purchasing, electronically transmitting, possessing or exchanging any visual depiction in which a minor is engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct.
- If any visual depiction of sexual exploitation of a minor is admitted into evidence, the court shall seal that evidence at the conclusion of any grand jury proceeding, hearing or trial.
- Sexual exploitation of a minor is a class 2 felony and if the minor is under fifteen years of age it is punishable pursuant to section 13-705.”
In short, if you film, distribute, or simply possess any type of child pornography, you could be facing child exploitation charges.
Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation
You can be charged with “luring a minor for sexual exploitation” charges if you offer or solicit sexual conduct with someone while knowing or believing that the other person is under the age of 18.
“A person commits luring a minor for sexual exploitation by offering or soliciting sexual conduct with another person knowing or having reason to know that the other person is a minor.
- It is not a defense to a prosecution for a violation of this section that the other person is not a minor.
- Luring a minor for sexual exploitation is a class 3 felony, and if the minor is under fifteen years of age it is punishable pursuant to section 13-705. A person who is convicted of a violation of this section is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed by the court has been served or commuted.”
So if you are chatting with an undercover police officer online who pretends to be a minor, and you solicit some kind of sexual behavior, you can be charged and convicted, even though you were never dealing with a minor at all.
The Role of the Internet
Because of the prevalence of computers and use of the Internet, anyone who goes online may come into contact with child pornography. Who hasn’t struggled with malicious programs that somehow get into one’s computer unbidden? Or received an email with an interesting-sounding subject line, only to discover upon opening it that its content is pornographic? And with the prevalence of online chat rooms, it is possible to be set up and unknowingly be enticed into a conversation by a police officer.
Any number of possible scenarios can be conceived in which a person might wrongly appear to be violating the law, simply as a result of owning a computer with an Internet connection. It takes a skilled and practiced Phoenix sexual exploitation of a minor attorney to determine the best defense strategy and apply it in order to preserve your freedom.
Legal Defenses To Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
If you have been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, adequate legal representation is crucial to help mount an effective defense. Here are some strategies used by Phoenix sexual exploitation of a minor lawyers:
No Intent: This defense seeks to prove that the accused did not intend to commit a sexual act with the minor. This would hinge on showing that there was another reason the defendant wanted to meet with the minor.
There might be other plausible explanations for your interactions with the minor which are significantly different than exploitation. Perhaps you were mentoring or providing support as a trusted adult figure in their life
Entrapment: In circumstances where a law enforcement officer lured or persuaded someone into committing illegal activities that they wouldn’t otherwise be inclined to commit, the defense of entrapment could be used.
The critical factors that contribute to proving entrapment include:
Initiation by Law Enforcement: You must prove that the criminal offense was instigated by law enforcement. For instance, if an undercover officer or their agent initiated communication leading to the act in question.
Inducement by Officers: Undue encouragement or persuasion by law enforcement should be evidenced to prove entrapment. This requires showing that the officers provided more than a mere opportunity, but actively convinced you to commit the offense.
Lack of Predisposition: Predisposition refers to your readiness or inclination to commit the offense in question. Your defense has the high task of proving that you were not inherently disposed towards exploiting minors prior to engaging with officers.
Finally, keep in mind that a simple guise or hidden identity used by police does not qualify as entrapment per se. The totality of the law enforcement officers’ behavior and tactics will be examined when determining if entrapment is a valid defense.
“It is an affirmative defense to a criminal charge that the person was entrapped. To claim entrapment, the person must admit by the person’s testimony or other evidence the substantial elements of the offense charged.
- A person who asserts an entrapment defense has the burden of proving the following by clear and convincing evidence:
- The idea of committing the offense started with law enforcement officers or their agents rather than with the person.
- The law enforcement officers or their agents urged and induced the person to commit the offense.
- The person was not predisposed to commit the type of offense charged before the law enforcement officers or their agents urged and induced the person to commit the offense.
- A person does not establish entrapment if the person was predisposed to commit the offense and the law enforcement officers or their agents merely provided the person with an opportunity to commit the offense. It is not entrapment for law enforcement officers or their agents merely to use a ruse or to conceal their identity. The conduct of law enforcement officers and their agents may be considered in determining if a person has proven entrapment.”
Your Phoenix sexual exploitation of a minor lawyer can explain these defenses more thoroughly and evaluate how they could be applicable to your case.
Top Rated Board Certified Criminal Defense for Child Exploitation
If you have been accused of exploitation of a minor in Arizona, you should waste no time in hiring the best criminal defense attorney you can find. In Phoenix and Scottsdale, Howard A. Snader is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist since 1995, who has succeeded in having sex crime charges dropped or reduced for many clients, as well as winning numerous acquittals at trial.
Howard will determine if the search and seizure of the evidence against you was done properly, in accordance with your constitutional rights. If it was not, he will seek to have that evidence suppressed. In some cases, he may be able to build a case that the alleged “pornography” is not pornographic but rather is a work of art. Or he may show that you were unaware that the images were on your computer, that they could have been placed there by another party without your knowledge. You have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and Howard is often able to find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, or to present an alternative explanation that will create that doubt and secure your acquittal. Or, he may be able to work with the prosecutor to reduce the charge to one that will penalize you to a lesser extent. Each case is different, and the best outcome for you will depend on the facts and the quality of the State’s evidence. But rest assured that with Howard Snader on your case, you will have the advantage of the most rigorous, aggressive, and knowledgeable representation available in Arizona.
For experienced defense by a seasoned, results-oriented, and board certified criminal lawyer, call the Snader law offices immediately. Do not talk to police until your Phoenix sexual exploitation of a minor lawyer is present, as doing so could harm your case substantially.