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The Difference Between Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Cases & Sexual Conduct with a Minor Cases


There are a variety of different types of sex crimes that all require different sorts of defenses and can carry a many levels of severity regarding punishment. Despite this, many sex crimes have similar names and sound at first to be similar crimes but in reality they are entirely distinct under the law. For this reason it is important to distinguish between them and today we will look at the difference between Sexual Exploitation of a Minor & Sexual Conduct with a Minor.

We will begin with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor cases. They are classified as a class 2 felony and are defined as: 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. In this definition, it is clear that this is an extremely broad statute and one can end up being charged for doing things ranging from a few sent text messages to running a massive crime operation.

Sexual Exploitation of a Minor cases change depending on whether the photographs of a child are over or under 14 years of age. First, we will look at the cases involving children under 14 years of age. In this case, it is deemed a “Dangerous Crime Against Children” (DCAC). For each conviction of a DCAC in a first offense, the punishment is 10 years minimum in prison, with 17 years presumptive, and 24 years maximum. If they have one prior felony (including a DCAC), the range begins at 21 years minimum, 28 years presumptive, and 35 years maximum. If in these cases the person is convicted on two counts of these types of crimes, they have to go consecutive to each other. For example, the new minimum if someone had 2 counts would be 20 years and the new maximum would be 48 years.

Sexual Exploitation of a Minor cases involving children under the age of 14 are incredibly serious and require 100% of time to be served before release. The maximum sentence is actually larger than that of second degree murder.

In cases where the child is between 15 to 17 years old, the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor case is no longer designated as a DCAC. For this reason the sentences are lessened. First offenses are a class 2 felony with the two different possible punishments. It could either be probation with between 0 days in jail and 1 year in jail, or 3 years in prison to 12.5 years of incarceration.  In cases with 1 prior conviction, the “prison only” range was 4.5 years to 23.25 years in prison. Those with 2 prior convictions have a “prison only” range of 10.5 years to 35 years.

Those convicted of a Sexual Exploitation of a Minor case are required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives and are not allowed to have any contact with anyone under the age of 18 including one’s own children.

They key defense for child pornography charges is attempting to convince the court that the defendant didn’t “knowingly” possess, receive, or do the aforementioned actions with the images. Oftentimes defense for these cases will assert that multiple users accessed the computer, meaning there is no way of knowing who really accessed the images. Additionally, it can be proven that the defendant came across the images by happenstance, making the case not a “knowing” exchange.

Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Arizona differs from Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in that sexual conduct involves physical interaction between the minor and the defendant. Sexual Conduct with a Minor is defined as “intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under 18 years of age.”

Sexual Conduct with a Minor who is between 15 and 17 years old is considered a class 6 felony, while sexual conduct with a minor 14 years or under is a class 2 felony, and is punished under the DCAC statute.

The punishments for sexual conduct with a minor also differ based on the age of the alleged victim. In cases where the child is between 15 and 17 years old and it is the defendant’s first offense, the punishment includes probation with 0 days in jail up to 1 year in jail, or 4 months in prison to 2 years in prison. With 1 prior conviction, there is a “prison only” window of 9 months to 2.75 years in prison, and with 2 prior convictions, the “prison only” time ranges from 2.25 to 5.75 years in prison.

In cases where the victim is between the ages of 12 and 14 it is punished as follows. On a single count, the judge will sentence them to 13 years minimum, 20 years presumptive, and 27 years maximum. If they are convicted on 2 counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor, the judge will stack the charges, making all of the aforementioned numbers double. In cases where the child is 12 years old or younger, the defendant will serve 20 to 35 years in prison, which will also be stacked on top of other DCAC charges in the case that is being heard. All those convicted will have to register as a sex offender for life.

Defenses are often based heavily on cross-examination of witnesses and interviewing all parties. The defendant will oftentimes take a polygraph test to determine innocence. An additional potential defense occurs when the defendant can claim that they did not know that the minor was under the age of 18, and they can prove that the minor had lied about their age to the defendant.

These cases are extremely serious and if charges are being brought against you it is highly recommended that you consult a skilled attorney.

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About the Author

Dain Dreyer is a highly qualified and dedicated Texas Personal Injury & Family Law Lawyer who can help you in your time of need.

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