Among the crime definitions states have passed into law, two categories tend to get the most severe penalties aside from murder: drunk driving and crimes against minors. For Arizona, the sentence for luring a minor is serious, and the penalties are extreme compared to similar crimes associated with an adult. Not only are the related crime definitions intended to be deterrents; but they also set an example for those charged and convicted for the same.
A Life-Changing Criminal Charge
The conviction for luring a minor for the purposes of sex crimes and exploitation generates a multitude of penalties for the convicted party. First, that guilty party is registered immediately as a sex offender, which carries a lifelong penalty and registration notice requirement. Second, the prison sentence likely to be handed down will be lengthy as well because of damage done mentally and physically to a minor in many cases. Third, there are financial fines. And finally, as mentioned earlier, the sex offender status requires the guilty party even on release to have to register his or her presence and location everywhere they go in the state.
Anyone charged with luring a minor as a crime must take it seriously and get the best legal defense possible. The ramifications of a conviction are tremendous and life-changing for the worse. If a defense can block off these charges, reduce them or win a denial of the charge, then it’s worth the work and attempt. It’s the one chance for a person charged to stop their life from being turned upside down permanently.
Typical Situations That Trigger Luring a Minor Charge
One of the most common situations for being charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation tends to be situations where the charged party is a young adult and was involved somehow with someone under 18 or the party should have known the victim was under 18 years of age. In other cases, law enforcement has set up traps, typically online via the Internet, to catch parties communicating with people they think are under 18 but really end up being investigators. When the conversation becomes clearly oriented toward sexual purposes and meeting up for similar, the trap is triggered legally.
The method of prosecution in luring minor cases uses a strategy of showing intent and planning. The adult is typically portrayed as crossing serious steps intentionally to not just communicate with the minor but physically meet with the assumed minor in person, presumably to consummate a sexual purpose. Frequently, adults who put themselves into such arrangements and show up at the given location find themselves being arrested by waiting officers. The jury is then presented with all of the details of such a sting with an argument that the adult clearly intended to meet with the minor for sex.
Technically speaking, the charge of luring a minor for sexual exploitation is classified as a class 3 felony, one of the most serious under Arizona criminal law. If the minor involved or assumed is younger than age 15, the criminal charge gets an enhancement with an even harsher penalty on conviction under the Dangerous Crime Against Children law. These instances of conviction are guaranteed prison sentences, even if there are no other prior crimes on a person’s record. At a minimum, the person convicted will spend five years in prison with mid-sentence nearly 10 years and a maximum of 15 years in extreme cases.
Those who’ve had a prior conviction for a similar crime can expect at least eight years in prison and as much as 22 for a second-offender status. There is also no parole or sentence suspension for those with enhanced sentences.
Charges Involving Older Minors
With older minors involved, between the ages of 15 and 17 years, a convicted party could be looking at two to almost nine years in prison, sex offender registration, probation for life, and a $150,000 financial penalty. Where such a case involves a second offense, the penalty is augmented to at least three and quarter years to over 16 in prison, a similar financial penalty, and registration as a sex offender. More than two prior convictions will get a convicted party anywhere from 7.5 to as much as 25 years in prison, a similar financial penalty, and sex offender registration.
In short, getting charged with any of the above requires the best legal defense possible to avoid or reduce the related penalties. Otherwise, these criminal sentences are very well going to reshape a person’s life permanently for the worse.