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Phoenix Internet Sex Crimes

The internet has made it easy for people to access materials and sites that sometimes send them down a rabbit hole with unintended consequences. Arizona law enforcement takes sex crimes seriously with life-altering consequences for those convicted. Everyone is entitled to a robust defense when facing criminal charges, including suspected internet sex crime offenders in Phoenix and the surrounding area.

What Are the Types of Internet Sex Crimes?

The internet is ripe with ways for predators to target individuals for sex crimes, including children; but that doesn’t mean that every person accused by the Arizona criminal justice system is a predator or intentionally went down the path on the wrong side of the law. Sometimes mistakes happen and what seemed like a small thing quickly snowballs out of control. Common internet sex crime charges in Phoenix include the following:

  • Sexting with an underage person: texting explicit photos or messages with a consenting adult is sometimes called “sexting.” Sexting only becomes a crime when an adult texts explicit content to someone under the age of 18
  • Child pornography: also called “sexual exploitation of a minor,” this includes sharing sexually inappropriate photos of minors, duplicating or producing explicit photos or videos of minors, electronically sending, distributing, or possessing sexually explicit content with children or teens as subjects
  • Online solicitation: using online forums to ask someone else to perform sexual conduct of any type is a crime, regardless of the age of the target; however, when the target is a minor the penalties are far more severe with a conviction, particularly when the intended victim agrees to a meeting with the alleged offender
  • Cyberstalking: using social media, email, or other online forums to stalk, harass, threaten, or demand sexually explicit photos from an individual of any age
  • Sex trafficking: when an individual uses the internet to arrange transfers or meetings between individuals for sexual purposes through force, coercion, or fraud 

Any of the above-alleged charges for internet sex crimes have serious penalties and lifelong consequences for a conviction.

Consequences for Internet Sex Crimes in Arizona

Those convicted of internet sex crimes face serious criminal penalties, particularly when the crime is against a minor. Before making a move, it’s critical to engage legal counsel to avoid some of the following criminal justice consequences for internet sex crime convictions:

  • Cyberstalking convictions require a six-month prison sentence and fines of $2,500
  • Sexting with a minor: probation and jail time of 1 to 12 years depending on the severity of the crime, up to 23 years in prison for a second offense, or up to 35 years in prison for a third conviction. Sexting minors under age 15 comes with more severe penalties of 10 to 20 years incarceration for a first offense
  • Possession of child pornography comes with a mandatory 10-year jail sentence for every piece of child pornography the convicted individual possessed
  • Sex trafficking: first offense convictions come with a $150,000 fine and up to 27 years in prison and sometimes forfeiture of property depending on the type of conviction

All sex crime charges should be taken seriously. Those charged require a strong, assertive defense strategy to protect their rights.

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

Accusations, investigations, and criminal charges for internet sex crimes should never be taken lightly. Even if you believe your innocence will speak for itself, it’s always best to have an experienced Arizona defense attorney speaking for you. Possible defenses against Arizona sex crime charges include the following:

  • The content was for artistic value and not for exploitation or distribution for sexual purposes
  • Unknown age: the suspect wasn’t aware of the true age of the individual they were in contact with over the Internet and the individual did not convey their age in any electronic communication
  • A computer virus or user error resulted in an unauthorized download of sexually explicit material or child pornography
  • The statute of limitations has expired: when the actions targeted by the prosecution occurred over two years ago, or two years after a minor’s 18th birthday, an attorney may be able to get some types of sex crime cases thrown out due to the state’s statute of limitations

Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix if you’re facing any of the above charges. Serious criminal charges require a serious and rigorous defense. The attorneys at Stewart Law Group get results for our clients with strong defense strategies for acquittals, dismissals, plea bargains, and reduced sentences.