Innocence doesn't equal freedom.
Sadly, this was the case for 2 men who lost 26 years of their lives behind bars, because of false charges. In 1992, a jury found VanDyke Perry and Gregory Counts guilty of rape, sodomy, and kidnapping. Almost 3 decades later, the victim’s revised story and new DNA evidence were able to completely clear the men's name.
False, or misleading charges can happen for any type of case, including solicitation of minors. You might be wondering, “what is solicitation of a minor?”.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding solicitation charges. Many people incorrectly believe that they can clear their name, by telling cops the truth.
Yet, if you say one thing wrong, you could end up spending up to 2 decades in jail. If you are facing charges involving soliciting minors, you need to know your rights. Read on to learn about what is in your best legal interest, and what you should avoid.
What Is Solicitation of a Minor?
Solicitation means you’re asking, demanding, or persuading someone to commit a crime. Online solicitation of a minor occurs when someone uses the internet to schedule an offline meeting. The offline meeting place is somewhere sexual activity and conduct will take place.
Anyone who is 17 years old, or younger, is a minor. This applies to anyone who is portraying themselves as younger than 17 as well. If the defendant only through the individual was younger than 17, they qualify as a minor.
If you’re charged with online solicitation of a minor, it’s a felony count. In fact, it’s considered to be a third-degree felony in Texas. That means you can face anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison, along with a $10,000 fine.
Longer prison sentences are typically given to individuals dealing with minors less than 14 years of age. Once the minor is less than or thought to be less than 14 years old, the charges become a second-degree felony.
Let’s look at the first step you should take the moment you find out you’re facing charges.
1. Don’t Say Anything
When you’re arrested, or charged with solicitation of a minor, you’ll want to defend yourself. Trying to help, you may offer authorities information, to prove your innocence.
Yet, unfortunately, police authorities aren’t going to use this information in the manner you’d assume. Oftentimes statements made after, or during an arrest, will end up hurting the defendant.
You could accidentally be admitting guilt, just by uttering a simple phrase like “I didn’t know they were underage.” Instead of trying to defend yourself, take advantage of your fifth amendment right to remain silent.
2. Never Consent
One thing police officers do is ask for permission with authority. They might ask to search for an individual’s house, car, or property. Yet, instead of letting the person know they have the option to say no, they push for a yes.
Cops might say things like, “You’re going to let me search your house, right?”. Texas is infamous for having aggressive officers who are eager to raise incarceration rates.
These officers know how to bully defendants into doing what they want, like searching their house. Not wanting to look suspicious, the person in question usually consents.
Don’t let this happen to you. Never give permission for the police to search anything, not even your pockets.
Let the officers know respectfully that you won’t give any consent until you speak with your attorney. It’s a good idea to learn more about your fourth amendment rights, to prepare you for requests to search from officers
3. Don’t Believe What You’re Told
Police officers aren’t supposed to lie in the court of law. Yet, their supervisors encourage them to lie during investigations. While this might sound horrible at first, in reality, it’s a necessary part of their job.
Officers work hard completing undercover missions or recovering evidence for cases. If they had to be completely truthful they’d never be able to gain access to some of the worst criminals, that make the streets unsafe.
It’s not uncommon for cops to claim they have DNA, or photo proof of something when in reality they don’t have any evidence at all. This is why you should never believe anything the police tell you, in regards to your charges.
One of the biggest tricks they’ll try to employ is a good cop, bad cop. In an attempt to win over your trust, one cop will pretend they believe in your innocence.
The pretend good cop will say things like “If you give a full statement, I think I can help you out.”. They’ll make you feel a sense of urgency, as they try to pressure you into incriminating yourself.
Remember, cops aren’t lawyers, and they don’t know what’s in your best interest. Once again, let the officers know you want to speak to your attorney.
Defenses You Can Use
Now you know the answer to the question, “What is solicitation of a minor?”. If you’re facing these charges, there are specific defenses you can explore using.
For example, if the defendant and victim are in a marriage together the charges could go away. Also, if the person charged, and the minor solicited are within 3 years of age, the charges could lessen.
Oftentimes, police will try to trick individuals into falsely soliciting a minor. Yet, instead of talking to a minor, they’re actually talking a with an officer posing as one.
Sometimes officers act inappropriately, and out of bounds with the law, as they try to entrap individuals. In these cases, the defendants usually aren’t even the ones to suggest the sexual conduct, the undercover officers are.
Non-Stop Justice is proud to help our clients during some of the most trying times in their lives. We stand by our name as we put our heart and soul into defending the rights of accused citizens.
You need someone who is going to passionately fight for you in the courtroom, and that’s us. Reach out to us today using our contact us page. One of our associates will be in touch with you right away.