Online Solicitation Of A Minor

The online solicitation of a minor is a relatively new offense. There was no “online” to speak of more than two decades ago, and therefore state legislatures everywhere have had to revamp their criminal codes to account for this offense. There are many quirks to the offense, and a prosecutor must be able to prove that you met all aspects of the crime as defined within the Texas penal code. An arrest is not yet a conviction, and a defense can help prevent a criminal conviction from impacting your criminal record.

Felony Offenses

The online solicitation of a minor is a third-degree felony per the Texas Penal Code. However, if the minor is younger than 14 years old, or if the defendant believed the minor to be younger than 14 years old, the offense is a second-degree felony.

Compared to misdemeanor offenses, felony offenses have large penalties and fines, which only bolsters the need for an experienced criminal defense attorney. We live in a country where every defendant is presumed innocent, and it is up to the prosecution to prove the defendant committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The prosecution must be able to show the jury how the defendant met each element of the offense.

Sexual offenses carry long-lasting repercussions to anyone convicted of these offenses. A convicted sexual offender will have to be placed on a sexual offender database, which is readily available for view by the public. Registered sexual offenders will be unable to live in certain locations near schools and daycares, and will constantly be scrutinized by the public. It is therefore extremely important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon after your arrest as possible.
The below table describes the range of felony offenses in Texas.

Class Confinement Fine
State-Jail Felony 180 days to 2 years in state jail $10,000 Maximum
3rd Degree Felony 2-10 years in prison $10,000 Maximum
2nd Degree Felony 2-20 years in prison $10,000 Maximum
1st Degree Felony Life or 5-99 years in prison $10,000 Maximum
Capital Felony Life in prison or death Non

 

Online Solicitation of a Minor

The crime of online solicitation of a minor is defined as the intent of a person over the age of 17 to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person over the internet, text, or email and intentionally:

  1. Communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor, or
  2. Distributes sexually explicit material to a minor.

A person may also may be arrested for the crime of online solicitation of a minor if they knowingly solicit a minor over the internet, through text, or by email, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse.  

The Texas Penal Code notes that it is not a defense to the crime that the meeting did not occur. Law enforcement officers often set up sting operations to attempt to lure individuals to participate in the online solicitation of a minor.  

However, it is a defense that the defendant was married to the minor, or the defendant was not more than three years older than the minor, and the minor consented to the conduct.

Law Office of David A. Breston | Houston, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with online solicitation of a minor, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer like those at the law office of David A. Breston. David A. Breston has years of experience in defending his clients from claims brought against them. Remember that an arrest is not yet a conviction, and the prosecution will have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Contact the law office of David A. Breston today for your initial free consultation.