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Child Prostitution and Police Stings

At The Law Offices of Randall J. Craig PLLC we handle all kinds of felony offenses and can tell you that in the State of Arizona we have some of the toughest criminal laws in the country. For instance, child prostitution. We all have strong feelings against this kind of offense but the laws here do seem to be extremely harsh. ARS Section 13-3212 (child prostitution statute) providing enhanced and consecutive sentences for anyone convicted of engaging in child prostitution knowing that the person is a minor aged 15,16 or 17 applies to those cases in which the "minor" is an undercover peace officer. The language of13-3212(c) provides "it is not a defense to a prosecution" under subsection (B)(2) "that the other person is a peace officer posing as a minor or a person assisting a peace officer posing as a minor." Ok we all get the intent behind the statute. Here is the problem. Can a person legally violate this statute even if they wanted to if the undercover police officer is 21 years of age but happens to look 17. Criminal defense lawyers like myself know the argument the state always makes, i.e., "we look at the intent of the statute and such is to deter people like Mr. Defendant from abusing minors, etc. Ok worthy argument but what about impossibility? If defendant A is in a hotel room with officer B who happens to be 22 years of age, how can defendant A legally and possibly violate any child prostitution law if the officer is an adult? Regardless of defendant's intent, it is impossible to engage in child prostitution in this scenario. This gets back to the old law school scenario of if I yell in the middle of the forest whose peace am I disturbing?

If you have been convicted of any criminal offense, call The Law Offices of Randall J. Craig, PLLC at 480 767-0400. You may also reach us via the web at or at

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