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Enticement of a child is self-descriptive: Luring a child for the purpose of unlawful sexual contact. While the sexual contact is itself unlawful and can be prosecuted in and of itself, the very act of attempting to do so is also unlawful. That crime is called enticing a child and is defined in Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-305 as any act in which a person invites or persuades a child under the age of 15 to enter a vehicle, building, room, or any other secluded place with the intent to commit sexual assault on the child.
If you’ve been charged with enticement, the attorneys at the office of Miller Leonard can help. We have experience handling these types of criminal charges. Give us a call or talk to us online to discuss your options.
Understanding Enticing a Child
In order for an adult to be charged with the crime of enticement, they must knowingly attempt to lure a minor under the age of 15 to them for the purpose of committing statutory rape. The element of mens rea must be present, which is Latin for “guilty mind”. Among the many defenses to enticement is that the individual being charged with the crime wasn’t aware that the individual they were propositioning was under the age of 15.
This is more common now than it was in years before. The internet has become a place where minors congregate but it’s also a place where people seek discreet sexual encounters. In other words, mistakes do happen.
In addition, sometimes when a child has an interaction with an adult, they don’t understand the nature of that interaction. This happens to those who work closely with kids all the time. Coaches, teachers, and others have to be very careful and sometimes even that isn’t enough. The child misunderstands your intent or sometimes maliciously accuses someone out of spits. These things do happen.
Criminal Penalties for Enticement of a Child
The penalties for enticement are severe. It is considered a Class 4 felony which is punishable by up to 6 years in prison and there is a mandatory minimum of 2 years. Fines can range anywhere from $2000 to $500,000. Those convicted of a Class 4 felony will have a mandatory parole period of 3 years.
In addition, there are administrative penalties for sex crimes. The individual will need to register as a sex offender. If they are a current employee of a school district, they will be reported to the district.
If this is not the individual’s first offense, the charges are raised to a Class 3 felony which carries a 4 to 12-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $750,000.
Possible Defense to Enticement of a Child
Generally speaking, when an individual is charged with enticement of a child, it is because their conversation was recorded over the internet or they were spotted attempting to lure a child away from their parents. In some cases, it’s simply tacked onto a charge of statutory rape. The police generally need evidence of the conversation and there needs to be enough evidence for the prosecution to try the case before a jury.
Often, the accusation alone can be enough to seriously harm a person’s reputation. In some cases, children misunderstand an interaction with the adult. Sadly, this is more likely when they have been assaulted by someone else before. Another person, who meant no harm, becomes a surrogate for the awful feelings they have about the event.
Nonetheless, there are three elements that need to be proven by the prosecution. Those are:
- The child was under the age of 15;
- That the individual who was doing the enticing knew the child was under the age of 15;
- That they were luring them for the purpose of committing sexual assault.
These elements may not be easy to prove, unless the prosecution has a smoking gun, like a conversation recorded over the internet.
Many defenses focus on the age of the child or the intent of the individual who was doing the alleged enticing. Other times, the police may have attempted to initiate the contact themselves in an attempt to entrap the defendant.
What Should You Do If You’re Accused of Child Enticement?
Children can misinterpret the motives of adults. If there is a history of abuse, it usually happens within the child’s family or a close friend of the family. This means someone who has already earned the child’s trust. It is important that you do not say anything to the police. Your instinct will be to defend yourself, but there’s nothing you can say that will make the police stop angling for a confession.
It’s also important that you don’t attempt to resolve things yourself with the family or speak to the child. It may very well be that the child’s trauma is real but you weren’t the one who caused it. Those who are innocent often have no idea why the child is accusing them of a serious crime. The child is unlikely to understand the impact of what they are doing.
Miller Leonard Can Help
If you’ve been accused of child enticement in Colorado, the attorneys at the office of Miller Leonard can help. You should contact us as soon as you are aware of the accusations and not wait until you are charged. We will attempt to get ahead of the situation and talk to you about the charges and your relationship with the child.
In some cases, the prosecution will have what it considers to be indisputable evidence of enticement, but remember, they don’t want you to know what they have. Don’t confess to anything and don’t say anything without an attorney present.
The charge of enticement of a child is a very serious crime that has lifelong repercussions. Miller Leonard will provide you with counsel and a strong defense. Give us a call at (720) 613-8783 or contact us online to begin discussing your options.