When a child is the target of a sex crime, prosecutors take it very seriously. It is illegal to solicit a minor for sex. It occurs when someone uses the internet or an electronic device to lure, seduce, or entice a minor to get involved in sexual behavior. If you are charged with internet solicitation, you may face harsh penalties. A Miami sex crime attorney can represent you in defending yourself against these serious allegations.What is Internet Solicitation?
Internet solicitation occurs when an adult over age 18 lures, encourages, or entices somebody under age 18 to engage in a sex act through a computer networking system or the internet. You can be charged with internet solicitation under Florida Statutes section 847.0135(3) if you: (1) knowingly (2) use an internet service, computer online service, local bulletin board service or another device able to store electronic data or transmit, in order to (3) attempt to or actually entice, lure, solicit, or seduce (4) a child or another believed by the person to be a child, (5) to commit illegal sexual acts. It is also illegal to solicit a parent, custodian, or guardian of a child to consent to participation of a child in any of certain sexual acts. Internet solicitation is usually a third degree felony. However, if you misrepresented your age in committing internet solicitation, you can be charged with a second degree felony.
Sexual battery doesn’t need to actually occur in order for you to be convicted of internet solicitation. The crime is complete once the enticement occurs. The minor and the adult need not actually meet for you to be charged. Additionally, it’s not a valid defense to say that the victim was willing to engage in sexual battery; a minor under the age of 18 cannot give consent.
Relatedly, you can also face charges for traveling to meet a minor under Florida Statutes section 847.0135(4)(a). This crime occurs when someone travels a distance and uses electronic devices to either try or engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a child or someone believed to be a child.Penalties
If you’ve misrepresented your age and are charged with second degree internet solicitation, you can face a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. Every time you use a different device or service for purposes of solicitation, you can be separately charged with the crime of internet solicitation. For example, if you use both your phone and your computer to get in touch and solicit a minor for sex, you can be charged with 2 counts of solicitation of a minor. The judge may decide to sentence you to consecutive sentences for these charges rather than concurrent ones. That means the sentences would run back to back, rather than together, such that for 4 counts of internet solicitation involving misrepresentations of your age, you could face 60 years in prison. If you are convicted of a crime of this nature, you can also be required to register as a sex offender.Defenses
There are defenses that may be available to you. In some cases, it may be possible raise doubts about the prosecution’s evidence such that the prosecution can’t meet its burden to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes Florida law enforcement uses certain techniques to catch those suspected of internet solicitation or other sex crimes involving children. They may pose as minors. In some cases, it may be possible to establish the defense of entrapment by showing you were induced to commit the crime, which you weren’t otherwise predisposed to do. In other cases, it may be possible to show you lacked intent.Retain a Seasoned Internet Solicitation Defense Attorney in Miami
Internet solicitation is a serious felony offense. If you have been charged with this offense in Miami, you can contact The Hoffman Firm at (305) 249-0090 or via our online form. Mr. Hoffman is a skilled criminal defense lawyer who examines his clients’ cases to determine the appropriate strategy for each one. We also represent those accused of crimes in areas such as Miami Beach, North Miami, Key Biscayne, and Aventura.