Solicitation of a Minor
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Florida law prosecutes crimes which target children to an extreme degree. Soliciting a child or minor for unlawful sex is defined as using an online service, Internet service, or electronic device to seduce, lure, solicit, or entice a minor, or person believed to be a minor, to engage in unlawful sexual behavior. Online solicitation is a particularly common form of the crime and will still incur charges whether or not a minor was actually harmed or engaged with.
If you’ve been charged with solicitation of a minor, call us immediately. You could face severe punishments for conviction and might be registered as a sex offender. Contact us at (888) 497-0216 today.
Online solicitation of a minor is typically classified as a 2nd-degree felony in the state and can lead to up to 15 years in prison, another 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. If a person uses different devices or services to contact and solicit a minor, each one will count as a separate criminal offense. For example, if you use your phone, computer, and tablet computer all to contact and solicit a minor, you would be facing 3 counts of solicitation of a juvenile and could get up to 45 years in prison.
A person could face additional charges for merely traveling to meet that child. Florida Statute § 847.0135(4)(a) outlines the charge and what the state must prove when attempting to secure a conviction: a prosecutor must prove any person who travels a distance either “within this state, to this state, or from this state by any means” and who attempts to or manages to engage in other unlawful sexual conduct with a child or with another person believed to be a child after using electronic devices, he or she could be facing traveling charges. This crime will lead to a sentence of at least 21 months in state prison, or longer if you have a previous criminal offense conviction, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
Florida law enforcement has begun using entrapment-like techniques to catch people suspected of wishing to solicit a minor. They do this by posing as minors, individuals who want to engage people in threesomes or group sex with a relative under the age of 18, or people looking for similar sexual encounters. If your attorney can prove you were induced to commit the crime you were not otherwise predisposed to do, the case could be dismissed for entrapment. However, the court will not be looking at the police during the court, rather your intention and predispositions. They might consider the following circumstances:
- How long you were engaged with online interaction with a police officer
- Who initiated conversations about sexual topics and activity
- Whether you ever expressed reluctance to engage in explicit discussions
- Extent that an undercover officer persisted in inducing or encouraging communication of a sexual nature
- Whether your travel to the area was immediate or incidental to another planned travel
Lack of Criminal Intent
If you and your attorney can prove you lacked criminal intent in the case, the prosecution will have no ground to stand on. Guilt relies on proof beyond a reasonable doubt you intended to break the law. Lack of sufficient evidence is likely to weigh in your favor in the case.
Under federal law, you can’t be punished twice for the same conduct. If solicitation and traveling occurred too closely together, they have to be yoked under one heading. It may be possible to file a Motion to Dismiss based on Hartley v. State, which could substantially reduce your sentence.
If you have a predisposition to a mental health issue, or you’ve had them in the past, it is possible you may not have been entirely in control of your actions during the event. Your criminal defense attorney can tell whether or not an insanity defense might be prudent in your case and may secure a psychological evaluation from a well-regarded expert for you.
Pedophilia is an exclusive sexual attraction to minors and is considered a psychiatric personality disorder. An experienced psychiatrist may be able to offer a diagnostic procedure that distinguishes between true pedophiles and non-pedophilic offenders. However, the evaluator’s criteria don't require proof any sexual activity with a minor took place, merely establishment based on urges or fantasies.
Let Us Advocate for You
The long-term consequences of conviction are extreme. Registration as a sex offender lasts a lifetime in the state of Florida and requires regular check-ins and updates with your local sex offender registry. Likewise, you may never be able to travel to some countries for vacation or business. Also, any other sex offense you may later incur or be charged with will likely be influenced by your previous charge, potentially worsening the sentence. Let us offer you our help. Musca Law has more than 150 years of legal experience to provide your case. Our aggressive and meticulous sex crimes defense attorneys offer 24/7 availability and free case evaluations. We can investigate the charges completely and advocate on your behalf in court.
Contact us at (888) 497-0216 or fill out our online form to get started today.