INTERNET SEX CRIMES ATTORNEYS IN PHOENIX
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Experienced Internet Sex Crimes Attorneys
In 2018 alone, Americans reported 69,425 cases of child pornography to the USSC. Consequently, sex offenders in America need strong legal representation just like sex crime victims do. Attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group have extensive experience in handling internet sex crime laws and child pornography laws in Arizona. So if you or someone you love is facing a serious felony due to sexually explicit conduct, you certainly need legal representation from an experienced internet sex crimes attorney. Call us today at 602-910-4040 for more information.
What Are the Types of Internet Sex Crimes?
The expansive use of the internet, smart phones, and social media over the last 20 years comes with many benefits, like the ability to connect with loved ones even at a distance. However, one of the biggest downsides of smartphones and the internet is that it’s easier than ever for sexual predators to prey on innocent children and teens. Unfortunately, there are many ways that sexual abuse can happen on the internet.
Sexting is one of many ways that an internet sex crime can happen. It’s basically when someone sends, receives, or forwards sexually explicit images, messages, or videos of themselves to others via cell phone. Sexting can also happen on social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram direct messaging, Facebook direct messaging, etc. Consensual adult sexting, where all parties are legal adults over the age of 18, is obviously legal everywhere. However, sexting is certainly a sex crime when it happens between a legal adult and someone under the legal age of consent in Arizona (which is 18 years old).
Two teens who engage in teen sexting can face a Class 3 misdemeanor or a petty offense charge in Arizona. An adult who sexts a teen between the ages of 15 and 17 can face a Class 2 felony in Arizona. However, if an adult sexts a teen under the age of 15, they can face a charge called “dangerous crimes against children” in Arizona.
In Arizona, child pornography is also called the sexual exploitation of a minor. Smartphones and social media have certainly made it even easier for sex offenders to find inappropriate pictures of children for their own sexual excitement. Child pornography also includes:
- A sex offender recording, photographing, duplicating, or producing sexually explicit content of children or teens for the sake of sexual pleasure.
- A sex offender distributing, selling, buying, electronically sending, or possessing sexually explicit content of children or teens for the sake of sexual pleasure.
Any adult who engages in the sexual exploitation of a minor will consequently face a Class 2 felony charge in Arizona.
Cyber stalking is another internet sex crime that has unfortunately become more prevalent in recent years due to electronic communication devices and social media. This internet sex crime happens when someone uses the internet or social media to stalk, threaten, and harass someone of any age. They do this with a fake social media profile and may use false accusations, slander, libel, blackmail, and more to get the victim to send them explicit sexual material via their electronic communication device.
This type of internet sex crime generally involves sex offenders requesting a victim to perform any kind of sexual conduct for them, including oral, anal, or vaginal sexual intercourse. Online solicitation is illegal even if both parties are consenting adults. But online solicitation with a minor will undeniably result in even more severe criminal penalties, especially if the minor actually agrees to enter the solicitor’s home in order to engage in sexual activity.
Sex trafficking is basically modern-day slavery and has always been a major federal crime. It happens when an online predator sexually exploits a victim through force, fraud, or coercion. Unfortunately, social media and cell phones have made sex trafficking even easier because so many naïve teens and children exist on the internet. A predator could lure them in through a fake profile, a fake business offer, etc. Sex trafficking via the internet is always against the law, no matter the age of the victim.
Consequences for Internet Sex Crimes in Arizona
People who engage in internet sex crimes will certainly face major consequences for child pornography charges and other crimes on the internet.
Teens who engage in sexting will generally receive punishments through the juvenile justice system in Arizona. If a teen sends explicit photos or other sexts to only one person, they will face only a $300 fine for a petty offense. But if a teen sends explicit sexual material to multiple people, they could face 30 days in detention and a $500 fine for a Class 3 misdemeanor. Lastly, if the teen has a felony record of sexting, indicating that they have faced previous charges, they could face four months in detention plus a $750 fine for a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Sexting a Minor Ages 15 to 17
Adult penalties for sexting are generally much more severe. An adult who sexts a teen between the ages of 15 and 17 will face a Class 2 felony charge.
- First Offense: Probation with zero to 1 year in jail or 3 to 12.5 years of jail time with no probation, depending on which penalty is more appropriate.
- Second Offense: Possible sentence of 12.5 to 23 years in prison.
- Third Offense: Possible sentence of 10.5 to 35 years in prison.
Sexting a Minor Under Age 15
If an adult is sexting a teen under the age of 15, then they will face a “dangerous crime against a child” charge. Criminal penalties for federal crimes like this include:
- Minimum sentence of 10 years in jail and a maximum sentence of 24 years in jail for every single conviction.
- If the predator has a previous “dangerous crime against a child charge,” then the minimum and maximum prison sentences above are doubled.
- If federal prosecution convicts the offender of two or more counts of child pornography, he or she must serve the penalties in order.
- Sex offenders must serve 100% of the jail time before potential release.
Any sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class 2 felony in Arizona, and that includes possessing, sending, receiving, or producing child pornography. Child pornography laws in Arizona mandate that the predator receives a 10-year jail sentence for every piece of child pornography they possess, send, produce, etc. For example, if a predator possesses 10 child pornography images, they will basically serve 100 years behind bars.
In Arizona, anyone who engages in cyber stalking to terrify, threaten, intimidate, or harass a victim will face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. This means that the offender could receive a 6 month prison sentence and a $2,500 fine.
In Arizona, online solicitation of a minor is a Class 3 felony. Consequences can include a 2 to 8 year prison sentence plus thousands of dollars in fines. Meanwhile, aggravated online solicitation of a minor is a Class 2 felony in Arizona. Offenders can spend 5 to 12 years behind bars if charged. For second and third online solicitation offenses, prison sentences will generally double.
Sex trafficking is a Class 2 felony in Arizona as well. For a first offense, an offender can spend 10 to 27 years behind bars plus a $150,000 fine. Offenders may also have to forfeit their property, depending on the facts of each specific case.
Sex Offender Registration in Arizona
A sexual exploitation charge will certainly require sex offender registration in Arizona. This lifelong registration will prevent you from having contact with anyone under the age of 18, including your own children. Sex offenders must register within 10 days of conviction. If they fail to do so, they will face even more penalties.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes in Arizona?
Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations for sexual abuse. Basically, this means that victims must report the crime within two years from the day it happened. If the victim was a minor at the time of the sex crime, they must report it within two years of their 18th birthday. However, violent sexual assault is one of the few crimes that doesn’t have a statute of limitations in Arizona. If you’re facing a charge like this, you need an Arizona sexual assault lawyer.
Possible Defenses for Internet Sex Crimes
Depending on the type of internet sex crime and sexual conduct involved in your case, an experienced criminal defense attorney could use these defenses in your favor:
- Statute of Limitations: If an alleged victim comes forward with some kind of sexual abuse claim that happened more than two years ago (or if the victim was a minor at the time of the alleged crime and their 18th birthday happened more than 2 years ago), then our criminal defense attorneys can argue for your case’s dismissal. It’s important to note that this defense may not be effective for some internet sex crimes.
- Unknown Age: If you’re charged with sexting with a minor, possessing child pornography, or any other sexual exploitation of a minor charge, criminal defense attorneys could use “unknown age” as a defense. However, this would only work in your favor if there’s absolutely no evidence of the victim’s name in texts, social media messages, social media posts, etc.
- Computer Viruses: Viruses thrive on the internet, especially on non-corporate sites. Because a virus can automatically download an unwanted file or software to a victim’s computer, it’s perfectly possible that a virus sent child pornography to the defendant’s computer without their awareness.
- Artistic Value: In order to receive an internet sex crime conviction, the explicit material must be provocative or obviously sexual. Images created and designed for artistic appreciation rather than sexual enjoyment aren’t enough for an internet sex crime conviction.
Call Ybarra Maldonado Law Group Today
If you’re facing a child pornography charge, a sexual exploitation of a minor charge, or any other sexual conduct charge, you certainly need experienced criminal defense attorneys on your side. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we’ll do whatever we can to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible in your illegal sexual activity case. For more information on how we can help you, call 602-910-4040 today.
Our team of compassionate and experienced attorneys are here to help guide you in your time of need.
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