Online Solicitation of a Minor
With the rise of the internet since the 1990s, internet crimes have increased proportionately, and new laws have been written to regulate online conduct. One area of internet crime that has received a great deal of attention is the online exploitation of minors. Whether it is child pornography or an adult individual harassing or soliciting a minor for sexual activity, the law has taken measures to create severe charges and penalties for those who are found to be guilty.
What is Online Solicitation?
Online solicitation occurs when an adult uses a computer network to contact a minor and tries to convince him or her to engage in sexual activity. The crime itself is committed as soon as the adult solicits, entices, lures, or otherwise attempts to convince a minor to perform a sexual act. Online solicitation of a minor is classified as a third-degree felony in the state of Florida.
In recent years, police officers have been posing as minors online to find adults who are committing online solicitation of a minor. Often the officer posing as the minor will set up a meeting with the adult and then arrest the offender when he or she shows up to meet the minor. Traveling with the intent to meet a minor to engage in sexual activity is classified as a second-degree felony.
If you are charged with a third-degree felony online solicitation offense, you may face the following penalties if convicted:
- Up to 5 years in prison for each individual solicitation made to a minor
- Up to $5,000 in fines
If you travel in an attempt to meet with a minor to engage in a sexual act, your offense may be elevated to a second-degree felony. A conviction may result in punishment by:
- Up to 15 years in prison for each individual offense
- Up to $10,000 in fines
In addition to these heavy court-ordered penalties, you will also be required to register as a sex offender, which can affect your ability to find a place to live, find or hold a job, and more. A single online solicitation charge or conviction can also tarnish your personal and professional reputation. It is therefore important to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin preparing your defense for court. Your attorney will fight to protect your rights throughout your case and will ensure that you receive a fair trial in court.
For sound legal advice and assistance regarding your online solicitation charges and legal defense, don’t hesitate to contact the West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers of Eric N. Klein & Associates, P.A. today at 561-353-2800.