Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

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Experienced Attorney for Phoenix Victim facing Sexual Exploitation Charges

A sexual exploitation conviction carries heavy penalties. You could face jail time, fines, and mandatory sex offender registration. To avoid these consequences, it’s best to avoid a conviction at all costs. If you’re facing Phoenix sexual exploitation charges, you should consider legal representation.

You need a sexual exploitation lawyer who understands sexual exploitation charges in general, including how the law defines them. For more information about your specific situation, consult a criminal defense attorney.

What a Sexual Exploitation Defense Attorney in Phoenix Can Do?

Sexual exploitation charges are serious even if the allegations themselves are baseless. In a high-stakes matter like this, you should consider hiring a defense lawyer at your earliest convenience. They can:

Represent You During Police Interrogations

The law notes that you have the right to an attorney when questioned by police.

You shouldn’t waive this right; an attorney can:

  • Advise you on what questions to answer
  • Prevent the police from overstepping their boundaries
  • Make sure your statements are correctly interpreted
  • Determine whether the police ask fair questions

When it comes to sex crimes, law enforcement officials take their jobs seriously. During questioning, they may even ask you “loaded questions,” hoping you’ll reveal more information than you should. They may even lie to you, saying something like: “Your accomplice already confessed, so you should, too.”

Many times, the answers you give police serve as the foundation of your criminal case. By having a lawyer from the beginning, you level the playing field when asserting your innocence. At the very least you should not make any statements to law enforcement.

Build Your Defense

It takes skill to properly build a criminal defense case. Many defense attorneys who have handled similar cases know the defensive strategies that work and those that don’t.

If you partner with a defense attorney in Phoenix, they could assert that:

  • Law enforcement obtained evidence illegally: For law enforcement to search a property, they must have probable cause. Anything gathered outside of probable cause could be inadmissible in court.
  • Mistaken identity: Your attorney could assert that the victim (or an eyewitness) identified the wrong person. For instance, they could use photos to assert your alibi. They could also use other information to claim that you could not have committed the alleged exploitative act.
  • The allegations are false: Tensions can sometimes run high following certain events, like break-ups. Your lawyer may assert that the allegations are false as a way to tarnish your reputation or hurt you personally.

A strong defense doesn’t necessarily have to prove your innocence. Rather, it needs to plant reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds, meaning that it’s possible that you didn’t commit the crime. If there’s reasonable doubt, the jury cannot legally find you guilty.

Provide Support Throughout All Legal Proceedings

Facing sexual exploitation charges is terrifying. Even if you know you’re innocent, guiltless people are convicted every day. To ensure your freedom, it’s crucial to consider legal help. There is no reason to go through litigation alone.

Your defense lawyer can:

  • Ensure you understand courtroom procedure
  • Call on character witnesses to attest to your upstanding nature
  • Exchange all relevant information with the other party’s legal team
  • Object to any unfair proceedings
  • Move to have your case dropped or dismissed
  • Work out a plea deal with the prosecution (if applicable)

By getting support from a legal professional, you can rest easy knowing that you’re doing everything possible to protect your future.

What Is Sexual Exploitation?

What Is Sexual Exploitation?Sex offenses are among the most stigmatized crimes in America today. When the victim is a child, the stigma is even greater.
Sexual exploitation generally involves minors under 18 years old or people who cannot legally consent due to an extenuating factor, such as a cognitive disability. There is usually a commercial transaction involved, as well. For instance, suppose a stalker takes photos of a 15-year-old girl while she’s undressing. Then, he attempts to sell these photos on the internet.

The law would consider this sexual exploitation because it involves a visual depiction of a minor in an exploitable position (i.e., while naked). Other charges could also compound the sexual exploitation charge, depending on the alleged crime’s nature.

Penalties of a Sexual Exploitation Conviction in Phoenix

Arizona takes sexual offenses (especially those involving minors) very seriously. Arizona law defines sexual exploitation as a person who knowingly:

  • Records, photographs, or develops any visual depiction where a minor engages in sexual conduct or another exploitative exhibition
  • Distributes, transports, receives, sells, purchases, possesses, or transmits electronically any visual depiction where a minor engages in sexual conduct or something of an exploitative nature

The Penalties Depend on the Minor’s Age

The penalties for sexual exploitation largely depend on the victim’s age. For instance, if the victim is under 15 years old, the state considers it a Dangerous Crime Against Children (DCAC).

There, you could face:

  • Ten to 24 years in prison for a first-time offense
  • Twenty-one to 35 years in prison for a second-time offense
  • The rest of your “natural life”

Because sexual exploitation in Phoenix is a DCAC, you must serve 100 percent of your prison time before being eligible for release. What’s more, the state views sexual exploitation of a minor to be a worse offense than second-degree murder. That’s right; if convicted, you could spend more time behind bars than someone guilty of homicide. Because they are DCACs, each count you are convicted of must run consecutively to any other count.

The Importance of Avoiding a Sex Crime Conviction in Phoenix

While facing a sexual exploitation charge, you should do everything possible to avoid a conviction. In addition to prison time and fines, you could also face something called “collateral consequences.” As explained in a report by the American Bar Association (ABA), these are legal disabilities imposed by the law due to a criminal conviction. These consequences create social and economic barriers, and they may affect:

Where You Can Live?

A criminal conviction can limit where you can live in multiple ways. First, you could have trouble obtaining a loan. Mortgage companies could conduct a background check and refuse financial assistance based on your criminal history. This can prevent you from purchasing a home.

Another factor to consider is location. The law may prohibit you from living within proximity of a school or daycare facility—generally not less than 1,000 feet. A conviction for sexual exploitation may require you to move or only live in certain areas.

Where You Can Work?

Convicted criminals typically find it difficult to gain employment because of their records. There are several reasons why finding employment is harder. First, some employers won’t hire people with criminal convictions, fearing liability. Also, the law limits where you can physically work. For instance, if a construction job requires renovating a children’s playground, you would be prohibited from partaking in that venture.

What Professional Licenses You Can Hold?

Some professions require proper licensure. Once convicted, someone could lose that license, making them ineligible to continue working.

Examples of jobs that require professional licenses include:

  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Teachers

In some cases, the convicted criminal could apply for a new license after a certain period has passed. Yet, there are cases where there is a complete revocation, and a convict could lose their professional license completely.

Your Immigration Status

When someone immigrates to the United States from another country, a criminal conviction could affect their ability to live in the country as a non-citizen. In addition, if someone has applied for citizenship in the United States, a criminal conviction could significantly affect the approvals process.

Not only could it slow the process down, but the application could also get completely denied. Serious sex crimes may even warrant deporting an immigrant back to their native country.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Exploitation Charges in Phoenix

If you’re facing sexual exploitation charges in Phoenix, it’s reasonable to have questions about your situation and the law itself. Some of these questions may include:

Can I Get Probation for Sexual Exploitation?

Whether you can get probation for a sex crime depends on the circumstances. For many sex abuse defendants, probation is an ideal outcome. In that situation, instead of a prison sentence, the state would keep an eye on you.

Depending on your probation’s terms, the state could:

  • Prohibit alcohol or drug use
  • Prevent you from owning a weapon
  • Require you to partake in community service
  • Require you to undergo counseling
  • Impose fines

While on probation, if you violate any of these terms, you could face a long prison sentence.

How Long Does a Trial Take?

A criminal trial can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to resolve. Typically, a jury will deliberate for a few days before they reach a verdict—although swifter decisions are possible. When you partner with a lawyer, they avoid any hiccups from delaying your case. You have the right to a fair and speedy trial under the Constitution.

Could My Criminal History Affect the Judge and Jury’s Ruling?

Whether your criminal history affects your sentencing depends on your criminal history. If you were convicted of a DUI ten years ago, it likely won’t affect your sentencing, as it’s an unrelated offense. Yet, if you have a history of sexually motivated crimes, this could increase your fines, prison times, and other sentencing.

Could a Conviction Cause Me to Lose Custody of My Children?

A sexual exploitation conviction in Phoenix could cause you to lose custody of your children. What’s more, you could lose the right to vote, hold government offices, and live within proximity to a school. This makes it all the more vital to consider your legal options.

Can I Get a Sexual Exploitation in Phoenix Expunged From My Record?

Under Arizona law, you cannot get a felony sex crime expunged from your record. That means, once convicted, it’s there forever. This makes it crucial to properly address the charges against you the first time around. There are few (if any) second chances for sex crime convicts in the state.

What Are Some Situations That Constitute Sexual Exploitation?

To fully comprehend your situation, it may help to understand what the state considers sexual exploitation.

Some scenarios that may warrant legal action include:

  • A voyeur videotapes two teenagers having sex, then distributes the footage online.
  • A basketball coach forces a player to engage in prostitution.
  • A partygoer slips date rape drugs into someone’s drink to abduct them.
  • A peeping Tom films in the closet as their roommate engages in sexual activity.

An attorney can protect you against any of these allegations and work to defend your future.

Considerations While Facing Sexual Exploitation Charges in Phoenix

When thinking about your next steps, you may feel lost. Here are some considerations that could make matters less complicated:

Do Not Reach out to the Other Party

You may feel tempted to reach out to the other party—especially if you previously had a romantic relationship. Any attempts to understand the other party’s side of the story could reflect poorly on you. They could assert that you threatened them or tried to intimidate them into recanting their testimony.

Refrain From Criminal Activity

Facing sexual exploitation charges is difficult enough. You don’t want to complicate matters by partaking in other risky activity, no matter how innocuous it may seem. You want to show the judge and jury that you’re an upstanding citizen with no criminal intentions.

Speak Honestly With Your Lawyer

Your attorney wants to help you—not judge you. That’s why you should be entirely honest about what happened. That way, they can craft a defense strategy that seeks the best possible outcome.

Interact Politely With Those Involved

It’s reasonable to feel angry or frustrated when facing sex offender charges. Still, remain level-headed when interacting with police, witnesses, and others involved. You don’t want a lack of cooperation to reflect poorly on your character.

Hire Legal Representation

A conviction for sexual exploitation could mean severe things for your future. Upon hearing the words “Guilty as charged,” your life could change as you know it.

Hire a defense attorney as soon as possible. There’s too much at risk to go through litigation alone. Instead, entrust your case to a professional who has your interests at heart.

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