Defense for Online Solicitation of a Minor

Defense for Online solicitation of a minor

Online solicitation of a minor is a serious offense under Texas law. This crime occurs when an adult communicates with a minor through any online platform intending to engage in a sexual relationship with the minor. If you are facing charges for online solicitation of a minor, it is vital to understand the legal definition, the prosecution’s burden of proof, the potential penalties, and the defenses you might raise in your defense to these charges.

The experienced child sex crime defense lawyer at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP has 60 years of combined legal experience representing individuals and businesses in Texas. We provide effective representation in the courtroom and during the appeals process at the state and federal levels. Our dedicated lawyers are board-certified specialists in criminal and appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Contact us today for a free legal consultation to learn how we can fight for your rights and freedom.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Accusations of online solicitation of a minor are grave and can cause considerable personal and professional damage. During such a challenging time, it’s paramount to enlist the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

A qualified solicitation of a minor attorney from Broden & Mickelsen, LLP can provide the following:

Thorough Evaluation and Analysis

Our attorneys are adept at evaluating the circumstances of your case. We meticulously analyze the evidence, allegations, and specifics of the incident to craft a solid defense. This rigorous evaluation process often reveals areas where law enforcement may have violated your rights or made errors in the investigation.

Strategic Defense Planning

Based on our assessment of the evidence, we will develop a tailored defense strategy targeted to your unique circumstances. This strategy aims to protect your rights, challenge the prosecutor’s case, and work toward the best possible outcome.

Experience in Criminal and Appellate Law

Broden & Mickelsen’s attorneys are board-certified specialists in criminal and appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This dual specialization enables us to effectively represent you at all stages of the legal process, from the initial investigation and trial to potential appeals, if necessary.

Strong Negotiation Skills

Our experienced defense attorneys possess the skills to negotiate aggressively with the prosecution. This process can involve discussions about charge reductions, plea bargains, or alternative sentencing, which can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Guidance and Support

An experienced attorney by your side provides more than just legal defense. We can offer guidance, support, and reassurance during a daunting and stressful time. Your lawyer can answer your questions, explain the legal process, and advise you on the steps to take to mitigate the impacts of the charges on your life.

If you are facing charges for online solicitation of a minor, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be your best line of defense. At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, we offer comprehensive representation at the trial and appellate levels to help protect your rights, reputation, and freedom.

Legal Definition in the Texas Penal Code

The Texas Penal Code section 33.021 defines online solicitation of a minor as someone age 17 or older knowingly soliciting a minor online intending to engage in sexual activity. This solicitation includes communication through emails, text messages, social media platforms, and other electronic means.

The definition also includes communicating in a sexually explicit manner with a minor or distributing sexually explicit material to a minor with the intent to traffic them, promote prostitution, or sexually abuse them.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

To convict someone of online solicitation of a minor, the prosecution must prove several key elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These include:

  • The defendant was 17 or older at the time of the offense
  • The person solicited was under 17, or the defendant believed them to be under 17
  • The defendant communicated electronically with the intent to engage in sexual conduct or illicit behavior

Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas

Online solicitation of a minor is a third-degree felony in Texas, punishable by two to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. However, if the minor is under 14, the charge increases to a second-degree felony, which carries a punishment of two to 20 years in prison.

Furthermore, the charge may increase to a second-degree felony if the offender commits the crime during regular public or private primary or secondary school hours.

Sex Offender Registration

A person convicted of online solicitation of a minor will likely be required to register as a sex offender in Texas. This status can severely impact a person’s ability to find employment and secure housing and drastically affect their reputation in the community. As such, you need an aggressive defense attorney to protect your best interests if you face charges of online solicitation of a minor.

Statute of Limitations for Online Solicitation of a Minor

Texas has an extended statute of limitations for certain offenses involving children. In these cases, the limitation period begins once the child turns 18. The victim may bring charges within ten years of their 18th birthday, regardless of when the alleged crime occurred. The statutory deadline for bringing charges varies depending on the crime, so it’s crucial to speak to an experienced defense attorney to understand which statute might apply to a particular situation.

Possible Defenses

There are possible defenses to online solicitation of a minor that an experienced attorney could argue, such as:

  • Entrapment – If law enforcement induced you to commit a crime you wouldn’t ordinarily commit, you could argue that the police entrapped you.
  • Consent – While consent of a minor is not typically a defense, it may be applicable in certain circumstances.
  • No intent – If you can demonstrate that there was no intent to commit a sexual act, this could be a viable defense.
  • “Romeo and Juliet” law – If the sexual relationship was consensual and the age difference between you and the minor is three years or less, it may serve as a defense.
  • First Amendment arguments – You might be able to argue that your communications fall under protected speech.