Online Solicitation of a Minor Legal Defense
The law provides, under 33.021(c) of the Texas Penal Code, that if a person "knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the actor, with the intent the minor will engage in sexual contact,” they can be charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor.
But… the “minor" doesn't actually have to be a minor.
A person can be charged for responding to messages or emails from a police officer pretending to be an individual younger than 17. This means that you could be facing charges for a crime that you didn’t technically commit. Unfortunately, it is not a defense that the meeting didn’t actually happen.
Online Solicitation Charges Have Big Punishments
In Texas, a person faces 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00 if they travel to meet another person purporting to be a minor, for purposes of sexual contact. The law doesn’t distinguish that the individual could be a police officer who is working in response to a financial incentive grant.
In Montgomery County, Texas, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office has an unpublished office policy that their Assistant District Attorneys will only offer prison time to persons arrested and charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor. That person also faces registration for ten years as a sex offender. This will show up on the background checks for future jobs, loan applications, and more.
In addition, you’ll lose your legal right to own a firearm. You will also be disqualified from receiving some types of student loans. As a result, this charge could have significant ramifications for your future.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney for Online Solicitation of a Minor Cases
While this may seem dire, there are things that can be done to help. Experience matters. When you look to hire a criminal defense attorney to try an online solicitation of a minor case, it’s important that he or she has experience trying and winning these cases. After all, you could be more likely to face prison time if you have inadequate counsel. I have over 15 years of law experience in these types of cases in The Woodlands, Texas area.
You also want to choose a criminal defense attorney that you’re comfortable with and that will listen to your side of the story. The details of the case matter. For example, if you were charged as a result of a police sting, sometimes there are different defense approaches to take than if you’re only a few years older than the minor.
Ready for the Legal Help You Deserve?
Talk to an attorney now by calling (832) 381-3430 or contact us today to reach an expert criminal defense attorney in The Woodlands, Texas area with experience trying Online Solicitation of a Minor cases. I’m happy to discuss with you the details of your case to see how I can help. I have helped other clients get the most successful outcomes for their criminal cases in The Woodlands, Houston, and Conroe.