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Online Solicitation of a Minor Texas: What You Should Know

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

The online solicitation of a minor in Texas is a serious crime and one that will likely leave the accused with felony charges. If you’re accused of online solicitation within the state of Texas, it’s important to know what your options are.

The state of Texas takes the protection of its minors very seriously. As such, there are many laws in place to protect young people from improper content and influences. The state puts a lot of work into seeding out those who attempt to engage inappropriately with minors online. Many arrests occurring each year.

What do you need to know about online solicitation cases? Read on and we’ll walk you through the basics.

Online Solicitation Definitions

Different states define laws regarding online solicitation in different ways. In the state of Texas, online solicitation would refer to any form of electronic communication where a person attempts to ask a minor to engage in some sort of sexual activity.

While these laws originally only covered online communications in digital spaces such as chat rooms, today the laws cover many forms of electronic communication. E-mails, texts, and social media messengers might all be used to solicit and manipulate minors into sexual acts.

Doing so on any of these platforms can result in serious charges.

It’s important to note that a person can still be charged with online solicitation of a minor even if they do not engage in any actual sexual activity with a minor.

The act of speaking to and requesting this kind of sexual activity from a minor through digital means is enough to have the charge brought against someone.

No actualization of these discussions needs to occur for a crime to have been committed. Similarly, these kinds of discussions do not always need to happen via text. Sharing sexual and pornographic content with a minor through digital channels will also result in this kind of charge.

Solicitation of explicit photographs or videos from a minor will result in even more serious charges. It’s important to understand the severity that an online solicitation charge holds.

These charges are often brought as third-degree felonies. However, if a child is under fourteen years of age, the charge becomes a third-degree felony.

Defenses for Soliciting a Minor

The punishments for this kind of crime can be quite serious. It’s important to speak to a legal professional about your case in the wake of your arrest. Each case will be different and an experienced legal professional can help you to understand what options you might have based on the particulars of your case.

There are some general defenses for this kind of crime that you can familiarize yourself with.

In some instances, a defendant might argue that they were unaware that the individual they were communicating with was a minor. However, in the state of Texas, this defense typically has little success. Due to strict liability laws, the child’s actual age is more important than the age the defendant believed them to be.

There are exceptions that can be made for defendants who are within three years of age to the minors that they were in communication with. If this age difference existed and the minor expressed full consent, there might be a path to get the charges dropped or the punishments softened.

Proving consent in this type of scenario can be difficult and it’s important that a defendant speaks at length with their attorney about the possible strategies they might employ.

If a defendant was more than three years older than the minor in question, the element of consent from a minor is considered unimportant. The person can be charged regardless.

An individual might also be able to claim entrapment by law enforcement if they were lured into their actions by an undercover police officer. Entrapment is another complicated legal concept that will require a skilled lawyer to untangle.

Punishments for Online Solicitation

As we mentioned, online solicitation of a minor in the state of Texas is a felony charge. In most cases, a third-degree felony, in others a second-degree case.

There is a wide range of punishments available for this kind of case, with the maximum sentence being up to seven years in jail. Even if no jail time arises, severe financial punishment is on the table.

It is not unusual for the judge in a case to submit the defendant to sexual counseling. They might also be submitted for a sex offender evaluation. It is possible that a person charged with this crime might be forced to register as a sex offender, which can greatly impact their odds of later employment.

Even without the sex offender charge, this charge is likely to show up on background checks for the individual. This can make it very hard to secure gainful employment in the years following the charge.

Due to these severe punishments, it’s important to take ‘soliciting a minor’ cases extremely seriously. Only with an incredibly strong case might you be able to push back against charges and retain the stability of your future.

Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas

The online solicitation of a minor in Texas is a crime that the state takes very seriously. It can be difficult to prove one’s innocence and the punishments can be quite intense. It’s important to have strong legal support if you hope to lessen the punishments you might face.

Ready to sit down and talk about your case? Contact me anytime for a free consultation.

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