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What Is Online Solicitation? A Brief Guide

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Sex offenses have serious legal consequences. In 2019, Texas police officers made nearly 1,700 arrests for sex offenses. This is only a small fraction of the number of offenders involved in sexual misconduct.

One commonplace crime is online solicitation. It is easy for prosecutors to prove, but it is also easy for innocent people to find themselves being accused for something they didn’t do.

What kind of actions fall under the definition of online solicitation? What are some other offenses that a person may commit or be charged with? How can a person clear their name, including by proving entrapment with a domestic violence lawyer?

Understanding the laws around sex offenses is a first step towards defending your rights. Here is your quick guide.

The Essentials of Online Solicitation

Section 33.021 of the Texas Statutes provides crucial details about the online solicitation of a minor. It is a crime for any individual over 17 years of age to communicate in a sexually explicit manner with a minor.

A “sexually explicit manner” means referring to sexual conduct like sexual intercourse or masturbation. A teacher discussing sexual education with one of their students is not soliciting them. Someone who encourages a child to engage in the behavior is soliciting.

Sending sexually explicit material also constitutes solicitation. Sending educational materials about safe sex or similar topics does not count. But distributing pornography or lewd photographs does count.

Someone may ask a minor to meet up with them, or they may keep to online communication. It does not matter if the parties never meet in person.

There is no official law for the online solicitation of an adult. But someone may face criminal or civil penalties for sexual harassment or stalking. Online communications may be used as evidence to prove another sexual offense.

Similar Offenses

Prosecutors are very willing to charge a defendant accused of online solicitation with multiple charges. A person may commit other offenses in the process of soliciting a minor. But the prosecutor may also be looking for one or more charges to stick.

A teacher who solicits one of their students can receive an improper relationship between educator and student charge. Once again, no physical contact has to occur between the two parties.

If the defendant makes visual material of the minor, they can receive additional charges. Telling others about the material can lead to an unlawful disclosure of intimate visual material charge. Distributing the material can lead to an unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit visual material charge.

If the defendant and minor meet, they can get charged with indecency with a child. This occurs when the defendant engages in sexual contact, which can include touching through clothing.

A defendant can also get charged with computer crimes. If they impersonate a minor to encourage another minor’s sexual performance, they can also be charged with online impersonation.


The punishments for online solicitation and other sex offenses are severe. Online solicitation of a minor older than 14 is a third-degree felony offense. It carries a minimum sentence of two years and a maximum of ten. A convicted defendant may also have to pay a fine of up to 10,000 dollars.

Solicitation of a younger child carries second-degree felony weight. A second-degree felony has a minimum sentence of two years and a maximum of 20. A person may have to pay a fine of 10,000 dollars.

An improper relationship between educator and student charge has second-degree felony weight as well. Unlawful disclosure of intimate visual material is a state jail felony. A person may face a jail sentence of between 180 days and two years.

All other related charges are misdemeanors, punishable through fines. But a person convicted of misdemeanor sexual offenses may have to register as a sex offender. They may be forbidden from contacting children, even in non-sexual settings.

A felony conviction can strip a person of their ability to own a gun or vote. They may lose their job or struggle in their personal relationships, even if they are acquitted.


Though online solicitation is a serious offense, every accused person has the right to defend themselves. It’s important to seek experienced legal help when facing charges. Every case is unique and prosecutors will work to find any pathway to a conviction. A seasoned defense attorney knows the law and which strategies to employ for the best outcome. Below are a few of the most common defenses but in no way represent the many possible ways to get a dismissal or reduction in charges. This is NOT legal advice but simply an overview of possible strategies. If you need legal help, contact an experienced sex offense attorney for your situation.

In Texas, if the two parties engaged in online solicitation are married, the defendant may be absolved from prosecution.

Texas follows the “Romeo and Juliet law,” meaning that a young adult can engage in a sexual relationship with a minor. The adult cannot be more than three years older than the minor, and the minor must consent to all conduct. The consent should be affirmative and clear, ideally in writing.

The Police have a lot of leeway when it comes to the law. However, depending on the case, Police procedures can be called into question. If police officers impersonate minors or sex workers in order to encourage adults to engage sexually, this can somtimes constitute entrapment or inducement.

In cases where the Police methods are in question, it is not enough to prove that the minor wasn’t real. A defense lawyer or the defendant must prove that the officer’s actions induced the law-abiding defendant to commit a crime.

If there is evidence a defendant refused repeatedly to engage in sexual contact with the supposed minor, this can be useful in proving the defendants case. If the officer, disguised as a “minor”, threatens to blackmail or stalk the defendant, this is usually over the line. However, if the defendant engages, the contact can still be seen as insignificant.

Mounting a defense is tricky and often complicated. While these strategies may help the defense, they can be difficult to pull together for a strong case. An experienced sexual assault or domestic abuse lawyer will understand how to craft a compelling defense and work towards the best outcome. Statistically, defendants who represent themselves rarely prevail in court. The system is built on convictions, not acquittals, so hiring a good criminal defense attorney is the safest route.

Find Your Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney

Getting charged with a sex offense can be devastating. Innocent people can easily find themselves entangled in hot water without knowing it.

It’s important to understand the law states that online solicitation doesn’t have to involve physical acts. One sexually charged conversation or distribution of explicit materials is enough to warrant a charge.

A person may face a litany of other offenses, including indecency with a child. Being convicted of solicitation will send a person to prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender. This stigma can follow someone for life and make it incredibly difficult to find housing, a job, or lead a normal life.

But there are ways to clear one’s name. The strategies such as proving entrapment can be a powerful defense, though it requires skill to overcome a system that heavily favors conviction.

Get that help and launch your defense right away. The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski has a 20+ year track record of success defending the accused against sex charges. Our office serves the Montgomery county and Woodlands area. Contact us today.

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8505 Technology Forest Pl #104

The Woodlands, TX 77381

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