Online Solicitation of a Minor
Have you been accused of Online Solicitation of a Minor?
If so, it is crucial that you find an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer right away to help you build an effective defense strategy and protect your rights and freedom. In Texas, the online solicitation of a minor is considered an “internet sex crime,” and these offenses can be filed under Texas state law or federal law. This type of child sex abuse is one of the most common child sex crimes and among the more serious felony sex offenses.
Today, law enforcement directs significant resources to examining solicitation of minors online. Multiple agencies working together conduct “sting operations,” often leading to a flurry of many arrests. Working undercover, police officers typically use chat rooms or social networking sites where they pose as minors to “solicit” illegal activity. There is extensive information gathering conducted prior to, and after, an arrest for this charge. You should be prepared to aggressively fight the charges immediately if you are arrested by a county sheriff’s office anywhere in Texas.
With the help of highly qualified criminal defense lawyers who are familiar with the unique challenges that sex crime cases pose, you can improve your chances of getting a favorable result in your case. Led by a board-certified specialist in criminal law, the Plano sex defense lawyers at Barbieri Law Firm have decades of experience fighting for the rights of clients who have been accused of sex crimes, and they have a proven track record of getting positive results for people accused of online sex crimes.
What is Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas?
The online solicitation of a minor, defined in Section 33.021 of the Texas Penal Code, makes it illegal for a person 17 years or older to electronically communicate or distribute to a minor – via emails, text messages, or the internet – in a way or through materials that are “sexually explicit.” A “minor” in Texas is any person:
- who is younger than 17 years old, or
- someone who the defendant believes is under 17 years old.
In Texas, the online solicitation of a minor is considered “child sex abuse” or “molestation” – defined as an offense involving “indecency, sexual contact, sexual abuse,” or other sex-related conduct with a minor. As with the many forms that sex offenses can take, so too is this the case for internet sex crimes that involve children. For instance, it is illegal in Texas for a person to engage in “sexting” (the electronic transmission of sexual images) when a child is under 17/18 years old is involved. An adult who is more than 2 years older than the sender or recipient of such images can be charged with illegal sexting – a felony crime.
What are the Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor?
In Texas, this offense is classified as either a second-degree or third-degree felony depending on the specific nature of the offense. As a result, a person convicted of this sex crime faces the following possible punishments ranges:
- 2nd Degree Felony: 2-20 years in state prison.
- 3rd Degree Felony: 2-10 years in state prison.
An online solicitation of a minor may also result in enhanced penalties for a conviction. Due to a Texas law (known as Jessica’s Law) that was enacted in 2007, a person convicted of certain child sex crimes now faces a range of more serious punishments, such as longer mandatory minimum sentences, ineligibility for probation, and a potential for the death penalty. In addition, prosecutors benefitted from an increase in the time limit they faced for filing charges against a person suspected of committing a sex crime against a child.
Experienced, Award-Winning Defense
This offense is one of the most serious sex offenses in Texas that a person can commit. As with all sex offenses, these cases are complex and sensitive, requiring an attorney with the right expertise. With more than 20 years of experience defending clients against sex crime charges, the Plano sex crimes lawyers at Barbieri Law Firm have the knowledge and experience to help you create a strong defense. Our team of attorneys includes an award-winning former sex crimes prosecutor with knowledge of how the other side thinks and what they will be looking for to convict you, and how to attack the case.
If you have been charged with a sex crime, let us review your case by scheduling a free consultation today. We are confident that we can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.