Child Prostitution Attorney
Under Arizona law, child prostitution is very broadly defined and prosecuted as a serious felony offense. The severity of the charge depends on a number of factors including the age of the prostitute (or the age claimed by the undercover police officer) and what act or acts are alleged to have occurred. For example, if a defendant is charged with transporting a minor for purposes of prostitution or receiving a financial benefit from an act of prostitution performed by a minor, the offense is prosecuted as a dangerous crime against children and significant mandatory prison terms are implicated. Individuals who engage or attempt to engage the services of an underage prostitute may also face serious charges. In fact, the definition of prostitution under Arizona law not only includes engaging in a sexual act in exchange for money, but also covers merely agreeing to such an arrangement.
As a result, an individual can be charged with child prostitution for simply agreeing or offering to pay for sexual conduct. If the child prostitute is under the age of 15, the offense is also treated as a dangerous crime against children and a mandatory minimum prison term of 13 years must be imposed on each count upon a conviction in court.
Child Prostitution in Arizona
Most cases of child prostitution involve an undercover sting operation where the police pose as prostitutes. These undercover officers will typically hold themselves out as adults and wait until they have lured in a potential customer at which point they may mention in passing that they are a minor, typically 16 or 17 years of age. If the potential customer continues with the transaction at that point, an arrest will typically be made and child prostitution charges will be filed. Under the law, these cases are treated no differently than those involving an actual teenager because it is not a defense that the prostitute was actually an adult undercover police officer posing as a minor.
Although not a dangerous crime against children, acts of child prostitution involving minors over the age of 15 still carry mandatory prison terms of no less than seven years if it can be proven that the defendant knew the age of the prostitute. If the minor prostitute is over the age of 15 but her age was unknown to the accused, the penalties may include probation with a term of incarceration at the county jail.
Defenses to Child Prostitution
If you have been accused of child prostitution it is imperative that you obtain the services of an experienced sex crimes attorney immediately. There are many potential defenses to this charge that need to be evaluated which could potentially result in a dismissal or other favorable outcome. One of the defenses that is most commonly used in any case involving an allegation of prostitution is entrapment. Entrapment occurs when the police or people acting under the direction of police essentially lure an individual into committing a crime. While merely providing a defendant the means an opportunity to commit the offense is insufficient for entrapment, this defense can be successfully used when the following can be shown:
- The police were the source for the idea to commit the offense;
- The police convinced the accused to commit the offense; and
- The accused was not otherwise readily willing to commit the offense.
Other defenses may include that the conduct or statements of the defendant did not amount to an agreement or offer to participate in an act of prostitution or, in the case of an undercover police officer that the defendant knew the adult posing as a minor was an adult.
Call the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC first!
If you or a loved one have been charged with child prostitution, you need an experienced attorney to investigate your case, develop your defenses and fight for you in court. When facing mandatory prison time, you need to have aggressive representation. Joshua Davidson is a former sex crimes prosecutor who understands how both sides approach child prostitution cases is in court.
Contact him today for a free consultation.