What is Online Solicitation of a Minor?
Posted By Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 13-Jan-2016
One of the most serious charges a person can face is a sexual offense involving a person under the age of 17. Crimes involving the online solicitation of a minor are aggressively prosecuted by both the Texas state government and the federal government. Many times, online solicitation is discovered via elaborate sting operations. In fact, just a few weeks ago, eight men were arrested in Harris County after the suspects chatted online with officers posing as children under the age of 15. The men were later apprehended while trying to meet up with the kids in person, and are now facing prosecution.
According to section 33.021 of the Texas penal code, online solicitation involves an individual under the age of 17 OR an individual who is believed to be under 17 years of age. A person over the age of 17 commits online solicitation if:
- They communicate in a sexually explicit manner with the minor
- They distribute sexually explicit material with the minor
- They solicit an online minor to meet them (or someone else) in person for sexual purposes
“Sexually explicit” could mean any language, material, or communication related to sexual conduct, including videos, pictures, or lascivious language. Thus, depending on the circumstances of the offense, a person charged with online solicitation of a minor may also face related child pornography charges. Online solicitation or a minor is a third degree felony offense, but can become a second-degree offense if the minor was younger than 14 years old. It is not a defense if a meeting with a minor never occurred.
Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor
Penalties for a conviction are severe, and may include up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for a third-degree offense. A second-degree felony is even more harsh, with prison sentences reaching up to 20 years in addition to the $10,000 fine. Furthermore, convicted individuals suffer other consequences as well, such as the loss of the right to possess a firearm, an inability to receive government assistance, an inability to enroll in certain schools, and severe barriers to gainful employment.
A tremendous amount of attention and resources are used to uncover and prosecute Texas sex crimes, especially when children are involved. If you are facing charges for the online solicitation of a minor, there is no time to waste in seeking the counsel of a Plano criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass. We are prepared to review the evidence against you and fight aggressively on your behalf in pursuit of the very best outcome possible.
You are innocent until proven guilty. Protect yourself by requesting a free consultation with our firm today.
Categories: Sex Crimes, Criminal Defense, Cybercrime