Are you facing charges for the solicitation of a minor? If so, you need to know your legal rights. The best way to protect yourself is to find the best legal option for solicitation of a minor criminal defense.
What is the solicitation of a minor, what are some common legal arguments that can work, and what should you look for when choosing a lawyer? Read on to find out more.
Solicitation of a Minor Online: A Texas Felony
First, you need to understand how serious these crimes are. Even if there is no physical contact involved, soliciting a minor online is a felony offense. It doesn’t matter if your contact was solely online.
If convicted, you could serve anywhere between 2-20 years in jail and heavy fines. You’ll also have to register as a sex offender.
What Does it Mean to Solicit a Child?
Texas Penal Code Section 33.021 defines the solicitation of a minor.
A minor is a person under the age of 17. A minor can also be a person believed to be 17 or under. If you talk to someone online that you believe is a minor and send them messages and/or pictures of a sexual nature, you can still face prosecution, even if they are an adult.
The initiation happens online through social media, websites, or chat rooms. It can also be through text messages or other digital sources.
In Texas, punishment for soliciting a minor is severe. It’s considered a third-degree felony and has a few possible outcomes:
- $10,000 fine
- 2-10 years in prison
The crime is a second-degree felony if the minor is 14 years old or younger.
- $10,000 fine
- 2-20 years in prison
Anyone convicted also has the lifetime impact of registering as a sex offender. The crime goes on their permanent record and follows them throughout their life.
Texas is considering increasing the minimum prison sentence to five years. This would apply to anyone who attempts to travel to a minor with sexual intention.
Solicitation of a Minor Criminal Defense
Now that you know what the charges against you entail, it’s time to talk defense. Regardless of your situation, you deserve to know your rights and have a fair trial.
Oftentimes, people get accused of a crime they didn’t commit, though their name comes up in the investigation.
Depending on your age, you might have a defense case. Let’s say the minor is 16 and you are 17. Furthermore, the minor in question gave you consent for the sexual conduct.
Since you are not over three years older than the minor and the minor gave consent, you have a strong defense case.
Were you and the minor married at the time of offense? This could also give your attorney a solid defense strategy.
Sometimes, law officers go undercover and pose as minors online. These sting operations are a type of illegal entrapment.
These operations have become all too common. Often, law enforcement gets federal funding for these efforts. Police officers become overzealous and work to entrap even nonguilty people.
A skilled sex crimes lawyer can establish this as a defense.
It’s possible to get charges dropped if other people have access to your computer. If you can prove you were not the person using the computer during the time of the offense, you have a strong defense.
Keep in mind, there are some common arguments for yu defense that will not stand up in court.
- You didn’t intend for there to be any meeting. Remember, communication alone is still a felony.
- You never actually met the minor in person. Again, it’s still a felony just to communicate. Even if it never actually happened, your sentence could be larger if they can prove intent.
- You and the minor were taking part in fantasy play. Saying that the entire situation was make-believe will not protect you from prosecution.
What To Look For When Hiring A Lawyer For Solicitation of a Minor Criminal Defense
When searching for the ideal attorney to represent you during your case, it’s important to look for some key factors.
Choose someone with key knowledge on both sides of the case so that they can better understand the types of claims that will be used against you. Mario Madrid spent time as both a former Associate District Attorney for the State of Texas and a judge in the city of Houston.
Look for an attorney with years of experience in fighting such cases both in and out of the courtroom. The ability to analyze the plays of multiple roles in the courtroom and key negotiating skills should also top your list of things to look for.
You’ll be able to discuss your potential attorney’s experience during your initial consultation, so come prepared with your questions.
Your Defense Attorney
Being accused of online solicitation of a minor is serious. Depending on your situation, you could be charged with a third-degree or second-degree felony. If you’re found guilty, you’ll face harsh fines and imprisonment.
Not to mention, you’ll have to register as a sex offender. This could affect where you can work or live for the rest of your life.
You need to know your rights. Hire a legal attorney with sexual crimes experience. You will need an aggressive advocate on your side and someone who can protect your rights. Solicitation of a minor criminal defense is possible with the right attorney.
Depending on your age, your situation, and if there was any entrapment, you could have a strong defense case.
Don’t walk into a court expected to get the charges dropped because “I never actually met her.” You need a better defense than that. You need a lawyer that’s ready to fight for you.
When you’re looking for the right defense attorney to represent you during your case, give us a call to learn more about how we can help.