In Arizona, per A.R.S §13-3553 “Sexual Exploitation of a Minor” (i.e. “Child Pornography”) is a class two (2) felony.
Watch this short video where David explains Sexual Exploitation of a Minor & Child Pornography Law in Arizona:
The definition of the crime is committed if any person knowingly records, films, photographs, duplicates, develops, sells, purchases, transports, “sexting” or electronically transmits or receives any visual depiction of a sexual conduct with a minor or exploitive exhibition. This is a very broad statute and covers a wide range of potentially innocent conduct. This particular statute is so broad that a few clicks of a computer mouse while on the Internet, or sending text messages, can result in being charged with a very serious crime.
Possible Punishment for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor or Child Pornography
If the photographs include children who are fourteen (14) years of age or younger, it is a Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) and carries a very severe penalty.
- First offense carries the following punishment for each and every conviction: Ten (10) years minimum in prison; seventeen (17) years presumptive in prison; twenty-four (24) years maximum incarceration.
- If convicted of one previous predicate felony (which includes a prior DCAC, among other serious felonies), the range of punishment increases to a minimum twenty-one (21) years, presumptive twenty-eight years (28), and maximum thirty-five (35) years.
- If the person is convicted of two (2) counts, they must be run consecutive to each other (i.e., the minimum is now twenty (20) years in prison, and all other ranges double).
Because this is a DCAC, 100% of the prison time must be served before being eligible for release. This is why these charges are sometimes referred to as “life-enders”.
The maximum penalty on a Sexual Exploitation charges actually carries more time than the maximum penalty on a Second Degree Murder charge.
If the child was between the ages of 15 to 17 years old, the sentence is not pursuant to the DCAC statute and carries the following possible sentences.
- First offense class two (2) felony, carries punishment of probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of three (3) years to twelve and one half (12.5) years of incarceration.
- If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is four and one half (4.5) years to twenty-three and one quarter (23.25) years in prison.
- If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is ten and one half (10.5) to thirty-five (35) years of incarceration.
A conviction will require you to Register as a Sex Offender for the rest of your life, and you are not allowed to have any contact with anyone under the age of eighteen (18) (this includes your own children), without going through numerous testing procedures and only with the consent of your Probation Officer.
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Possible Defenses for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor / Child Pornography
The critical defenses to Child Porn charges involve showing that the person did not “knowingly” possess, receive, or do any of the listed actions with the images. One way of asserting this defense is by presenting evidence that the defendant was not the person who accessed the images. If it can be shown that there were multiple users who had access to the computer, and who did in fact use the computer often, then it is much more difficult for the State to prove the defendant actually accessed the images, rather than some other person. This defense is especially appropriate when the defendant lacks any other sexual crime convictions.
In order to assert this defense, our child pornography defense lawyers need to present a variety of our own evidence to contradict whatever has been presented by the prosecution. Typically, the State would normally have executed a search warrant and confiscated the computer involved, then searched for the “IP address” and passwords that were used to trace the activates to a particular time, date, and user. Before they do any of this they will have “cloned” the hard drive in order to avoid any accusations that they have somehow tampered with the computer by adding images.
Another typical defense is that the defendant inadvertently came across the images on his computer, and thus it was not a “knowing” exchange. It is an affirmative defense to Child Pornography charges if a person timely reports that they have received unsolicited images on their computer. Usually, reporting within three (3) days of discovering the child pornography is considered to be “timely reporting.”
Have you been charged or are you under investigation and need a Sexual Exploitation Lawyer in Phoenix? Or, are you being investigated and need a Child Pornography Lawyer? These are very serious charges and you’ll need a lawyer to help you with your case. Call our offices at (602) 307-0808 or fill out our confidential contact form.
Additional Defense Tactics for Charges of Child Porn
At DM Cantor, we handle a very high percentage of the “Arizona Sex Crimes” cases involving private counsel in the State of Arizona. We have one of the largest libraries with research materials devoted to challenging accusations involving sex crimes. In addition, our attorneys have attended numerous seminars sponsored by the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center (the leading center in the United States which assists in the defense of the falsely accused). Registering as Sex Offender has drastic consequences and leaves a black mark on your record; do not underestimate the potential severity of this charge.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. Here are a few proven defenses that our attorneys apply:
- Violation of a person’s Miranda Rights. In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can prove that the police had convinced, intimidated or tricked you into making a confession or incriminating statement, or that they did not properly read you your rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.
- “Denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues.
- Challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc..
- Exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction.
There are multiple defense strategies that need to be explored. This is why it is important to hire a skilled sex crimes lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
If you have not been charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor / Child Pornography yet, but are in the “pre-charge investigation stage”
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