Online Solicitation of a Minor
The internet has become so commonplace that now a person can be charged with a criminal offense for actions committed online. One of these crimes includes online solicitation of a minor, which is the act of communicating with a child on the internet with a sexual intent. The crime can be located under the Penal Code Section 33.021, and the Code goes on to state that a minor is defined as any individual under the age of 17 years old.
Usually, in these cases, the prosecution has collected their evidence to convict in the form of an online sting. That means they will have a plethora of evidence against the defendant that could prove advantageous. For that reason, it’s within your best interest to secure legal representation as soon as possible if you’re under investigation for or have been arrested due to charges for online solicitation of a minor. To speak with a qualified Texas sex defense lawyer, call the legal team at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski.
Online Solicitation of a Minor Attorney, Austin TX
It’s not uncommon in these cases for law enforcement and other authorities to misinterpret the intentions of the defendant. There have been cases where an individual has been arrested for online solicitation when they truly had no sexual intent at all. However, the State of Texas is quite unforgiving when it comes to sex crimes against children. So, it’s important you don’t take any chances when it comes to your defense, even if you’re not guilty.
Contact The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski to speak to a qualified and experienced defense lawyer about your legal options. Attorney Gorski has years of experience assisting clients with all types of high-profile crimes including sexual offenses. He can develop a sturdy defense to dismantle the prosecution’s argument and ultimately help you avoid the full statutory penalties. Call The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski at 512-960-4646 to set up your first consultation. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Georgetown and Austin and accepts clients in various counties throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bastop County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Burnett County, and Bell County.
- Texas Definition for Online Solicitation of a Minor
- Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor
- Possible Defenses
- Additional Resources
Texas Definition for Online Solicitation of a Minor
Soliciting a minor online is an illegal act in Texas; but what exactly does that mean? The crime is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 33.021. Under the Penal Code, it states a person is guilty of online solicitation of a minor if they electronically message a minor and do one of the following actions.
- Exchange or give sexually explicit material to the minor
- Solicit a minor to meet another person (which can include the defendant)
- Communicate with the minor in a manner that’s sexually explicit
In order to convict, the defendant must be messaging/communicating with a minor—meaning any person 17 or younger. The exchange must also be electronic so it can include text messages, electronic mail, electronic message services/systems, or through an commercial online service, etc.
Please note, the term “sexually explicit” is defined as any language or communication related to sexual acts or conduct. Some examples of sexually explicit material include:
- Exchanging porn
- Communicating sexually or sexting
- Ask to meet up for a sexual reason
- Sending photos where the individual is nude
Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor
Any violation of Section 33.021 of the Penal Code will result in criminal penalties. The statutes state that any person convicted of online solicitation of a minor will result in a third-degree felony. The maximum sentence a person may face convicted of a third-degree felony includes:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
The prosecution will seek a higher sentence if they discover the child was 14 years old during the commission of the crime. If this is discovered, then the offense will be enhanced to a second-degree felony instead of a third-degree felony. The maximum sentence a person may face convicted of a second-degree felony includes, but not limited to:
- Up to 20 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Take note, even upon release life for felons is hard. A person with a felony on their criminal record may have issues obtaining employment, housing, gaining government assistance, and enrolling in certain educational institutions.
Defenses for Online Solicitation of a Minor
Accusations alone for online solicitation of a minor could change the trajectory of a person’s life. That is why it’s imperative you retain a strong legal defense if you’ve been charged or accused of online solicitation of a minor. The following are some defenses an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer may utilize to reduce or dismiss your charges.
- You were married to the minor during the commission of the offense
- You are no more than three years older than the minor and the minor consented
- You never intended to meet with the minor or never had any sexual intent
- The identity of the minor was mistaken for another person who was of-age
Child Advocacy Center (CACTX) –Visit the official website for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. (CACTX), which is a nonprofit whose mission is to restore the lives of children who have faced sexual or physical abuse with the partnership of local communities and agencies that investigate different types of child abuse.
Sex Crime Laws | Texas Penal Code – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code, to learn more about sex crimes in the State. Find more information surrounding sex offenses in Texas including online solicitation of a minor, public lewdness, indecent exposure, etc.
Travis County Sex Crimes Lawyer | Online Solicitation of a Minor
If you or someone you know has been arrested/accused of online solicitation involving a minor, contact The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski. Skilled criminal defense lawyer Jackson Gorski will mount a formidable defense against your charges designed to reduce or dismiss your charges. Don’t wait another moment to fight for your freedom and start building your legal defense. Call The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski today.
Set up your first consultation with The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski by calling 512-960-4646 or simply submit an online contact form. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in both Austin and Georgetown, Texas.