ARS 13-3554 is the Arizona statute that defines the crime of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. People commit this offense when they lure (or offer or ask for) sexual conduct with another person knowing, or having reason to know, that the other person is a minor. A conviction under the law is a Class 3 felony typically punishable by three to seven years in prison time.
- offering a minor sexual favors in an online chat room.
- texting with a minor and asking to meet up to have sex.
- emailing a minor a sexually explicit photo and asking the person if they want to “act it out.”
People accused of luring a minor have the right to challenge the accusation with a legal defense. Three common defenses include accused persons showing that:
- they did not intend to commit a sexual act,
- the person lured was not a minor or a police officer posing as a minor, and/or
- they were entrapped.
In this article, our Phoenix Arizona criminal defense attorneys will discuss what the law is under this statute, defenses available if charged, the penalties for a conviction, and related crimes.
1. How does Arizona law define the “luring of a minor”?
People are guilty of luring a minor for sexual exploitation when they:
- offer or engage in solicitation of sexual activity with another person, and
- know, or should have reason to know, that the other person is a minor.
Arizona law states that a minor is a person under 18 years of age.
Note that ARS 13-3554B states that an accused cannot defend against a luring charge by using the affirmative defense that the person lured was not a minor. Arizona courts have interpreted this section of the law to mean that the person lured has to be either:
- a minor, or
- a peace officer posing as a minor.
This means persons do not commit a luring offense if they lure an adult that is not a law enforcement agent.
2. Can someone raise a defense to an ARS 13-3554 charge?
Defense lawyers draw upon several legal strategies to challenge criminal offenses under this statute. Some of these include showing that the:
- defendant did not intend to commit a sexual act.
- “victim” was not a minor or a police officer posing as a minor.
- accused was entrapped.
2.1 No sexual act
Recall that a person is only guilty under this law if he/she solicited or offered a minor a sexual act. This means defendants can always use the defense that they wanted to meet with a minor for some non-sexual purpose.
2.2 No minor or no police officer posing as a minor
Recall too that Arizona courts have stated that a defendant is only guilty of luring if the person lured was either:
- a minor, or
- a police officer posing as a minor.
A defense, then, is for an accused to show that the “victim” was an adult that was not also a peace officer.
Entrapment is when the police use some type of overbearing conduct to trick a suspect into committing a crime. The defense often arises when a person is charged after an undercover sting. Entrapment is an acceptable legal defense provided that the accused shows he/she only committed the crime because of the entrapment.
3. What are the penalties?
Note that this time can increase if there are certain aggravating factors, (for example, if the defendant has prior convictions on his/her record).
If a person lures a minor and the minor is under 15 years of age, then the defendant can be charged under ARS 13-705, the state’s dangerous crimes against children law (DCAC).
In addition to prison time, a person guilty under ARS 13-3554 must:
4. What are some crimes related to luring a minor?
There are three Arizona offenses related to the luring of a minor. These are:
- sexual exploitation of a minor (child pornography) – ARS 13-3553,
- sexual conduct with a minor – ARS 13-1405, and
- molestation of a child – ARS 13-1410.
4.1 Sexual exploitation of a minor (child pornography) – ARS 13-3553
ARS 13-3553 is the Arizona law on child pornography. It says people sexually exploit a minor by knowingly:
- recording or photographing a minor while he/she is engaged in sexual conduct, or
- distributing, transporting, receiving, selling, purchasing, electronically transmitting, possessing, or exchanging any visual depiction in which a minor is engaged in exploitive exhibition (for instance, nudity) or other sexual conduct.
Unlike with ARS 13-3554, a person is guilty under this statute even without luring someone to have sex. The recording or the visual depictions are the controlling factors.
4.2 Sexual conduct with a minor – ARS 13-1405
Per ARS 13-1405, people commit the crime of sexual conduct with a minor if:
- they intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with a person, and
- that person is a minor.
Unlike with the luring of a minor, a person must actually have some type of sexual act with a minor to be found guilty under this law.
4.3 Molestation of a child – ARS 13-1410
ARS 13-1410 is the Arizona law that makes it a crime for people to:
- intentionally or knowingly engage in sexual contact with another person, and
- do so when the other person is under 15 years of age.
Like with the luring of a minor, people guilty of this offense must register as a sex offender.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer, we invite you to contact our law firm at the Shouse Law Group. Our attorneys provide both free consultations and legal advice you can trust.
 ARS 13-3554 Subsection A.
 ARS 13-3554B.
 ARS 13-3554C.
 ARS 13-3821.