Luring a child under 15 using an electronic device
Section 18-3-306 C.R.S. of the Colorado criminal code makes it a felony to communicate sexual content to a child by electronic means and then try to meet with that child for any purpose if:
- The child is under the age of 15, and
- You are more than 4 years older than the child.
Typical penalties for luring a child over the internet can run as high as:
- 3 years in prison, and
- A fine of up to $100,000.
However, if the purpose of your communication was to arrange a meeting for the sexual exploitation of the child or your own sexual gratification, you will be considered a Colorado sex offender. In addition to your name being added to the Colorado sex offender registry, you will spend as much as 6 years in prison and face fines of up to $500,000.
18-3-306 C.R.S. is one of Colorado's more complicated sex offenses. To help you better understand the Colorado crime of internet luring of a child, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
- 1. What is internet luring of child in Colorado?
- 2. Penalties for luring a child over the internet
- 3. Defending internet luring of a child charges
You violate Colorado 18-3-306 C.R.S. when
- You knowingly communicate over a computer or computer network, telephone network, or data network or by a text message or instant message;
- To a person you know or believe to be under fifteen years of age; and
- You are more than four years older than you believe the child to be; and
- In that communication or in any subsequent communication by one of those methods, you describe explicit sexual conduct – that is, sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, erotic nudity, masturbation, sadomasochism, or sexual excitement,1 and,
- In connection with that description, you make a statement persuading or inviting the person to meet you for any purpose.
For purposes of 18-3-306 C.R.S., “in connection with” means communications that further, advance, promote, or have a continuity of purpose and may occur before, during, or after the invitation to meet.
If the above conditions are met, you have committed the crime of internet luring of a child, even if the meeting never takes place or the person is not, in fact, a child.2
If you lure the other person with the intent to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual exploitation of a child, 18-6-403 C.R.S., it is a Colorado class 4 felony. As a class 4 felony, internet luring of a child carries consequences of:
- 2-6 years in prison (with 3 years mandatory parole),
- A fine of $2,000-$500,000, and
- Mandatory registration as a Colorado sex offender.
Otherwise, internet luring of a child is a Colorado class 5 felony. As such, punishment for luring a child over the internet can include:
- 1-3 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $1,000-$100,000.
Because 18-3-306 C.R.S. is so complex, there are many legal defenses. The best defense for internet luring of a child in Colorado depends on the specific facts of your case.
However, common defenses to Colorado internet luring of a child include (though are by no means limited to):
- You didn't know or believe you were communicating with someone under 15;
- You believed the child was no more than 4 years younger than you;
- The communication did not take place over a computer, telephone or other electronic means;
- You did not describe explicit sexual conduct;
- The child misunderstood your intent;
- You did not invite the child to meet you;
- You invited the child to meet you, but it was completely independent of any sexual communication;
- The police entrapped you or engaged in other misconduct.
Call us for help…
Innocent people are frequently accused of internet luring of a child. Sometimes, sexual meaning is mistakenly attributed to a communication. In some cases, it is the child who asks to meet.
But most often, the defendant had no idea that the person he or she was communicating with was a child. And yet, in their zealousness to protect children, police and prosecutors bring charges anyway, not caring that the accusation can ruin someone's life.
If you have been accused of internet luring a child, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. One of our caring Colorado sex crimes lawyers will respond to you promptly to discuss your case and strategies for fighting the charges.
Our Denver home office is located at:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202
- Defined in 18-6-403(2)(e) C.R.S.
- 18-3-306 (2) C.R.S.