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Arizona Child Pornography Laws

In Arizona, child pornography crimes, also known as sexual exploitation of a minor, are treated very seriously. Indeed, one Arizona defendant got sentenced to 200 years in prison without the possibility of parole for possessing 20 images of child pornography.

The state bans three separate acts in relation to child pornography: recording, distributing and possessing. What does that mean? Basically, if you knowingly record or film child pornography, distribute it to others or create or possess it, you can be in violation of the law. This is a very broad statute and covers a wide range of conduct.

An Arizona child pornography conviction carries severe penalties including a minimum of ten years prison time for each violation, fines, a long probationary sentence, a criminal record, and sex offender registration. Each count must be served consecutively.

Is Child Pornography Protected under the First Amendment?

Images of child pornography are not considered protected speech by the Constitution. They are internet sex crimes and a form of child sexual exploitation. In modern times instances of child pornography occur more frequently on the internet or even on a smartphone known as "sexting." Most convictions will lead to registration on the Sex Offender Registry. Once registered, an individual may be on the list for life.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's child pornography laws (Sexual Exploitation of a Minor). See Cyber Crimes, Sex Crimes, and Child Pornography and Selfies for more information.

Code Sections

Sexual Exploitation of a Minor: A.R.S §13-3553

What is Prohibited

The crime is committed if any person knowingly records, films, photographs, duplicates, develops, sells, purchases, transports, or electronically transmits or receives any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexual conduct or exploitive exhibition. This is a very broad statute and covers a wide range of potentially innocent conduct.

First Amendment Protections?

Child pornography is not protected speech covered by the First Amendment.

Definition of a "Minor"

A person under 18 years of age. Heightened penalties if child is under 15 years of age.


Class 2 Felony, 10-24 year prison sentence per violation, fines, extensive probation and possible loss of parental rights as initiated by Arizona Child Protective Services.

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration

Yes, a conviction will also require you to register with the Arizona Sex Offender Registry.

Federal Child Pornography Crimes

Child pornography is also a federal crime. Federal laws addressing child pornography are:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251 - Sexual Exploitation of Children
    (Production of child pornography)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251A - Selling and Buying of Children
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252 - Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors (Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A - Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2260 - Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United State

Law Enforcement

Charged With Child Pornography? You'll Want a Good Lawyer

Because child pornography laws can sometimes get complicated, it is in your best interests to consult an experienced Arizona sex crimes attorney if you have questions about your specific situation. A good lawyer can explain the the law and any potential consequences of a conviction or plea deal. Get in touch with an experienced Arizona crimnal defense attorney today. 

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