Online Solicitation of a Minor
Internet and computer crimes are on the rise. Some may assume that they are immune to criminal charges because of the veil of anonymity the Internet brings. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Online solicitation of a minor is a serious offense in the state of Texas.
Those charged with online solicitation of a minor may face steep fines, possible prison or jail time, and a criminal record. To avoid harsh statutory penalties, it is recommended that you seek a skilled sex offense attorney.
Houston Attorney for Online Solicitation of a Minor
In some cases, online solicitation of a minor may in fact be a case of miscommunication. However, the Texas penalties and charges remain the same. If you or someone you know has been charged with online solicitation of a minor, it’s vital that you seek a practiced criminal defense attorney.
Attorney Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm is a practiced attorney who has a strong focus on criminal defense. When it comes to legal representation, you want someone knowledgeable and aggressive. Brian Benken understands the complexities of Texas Internet and sex crimes laws and will fight for you in court. Find a skilled attorney today with The Benken Law Firm.
The Benken Law Firm represents those accused of computer crimes throughout all parts of Harris County including Westchase, Houston Heights, River Oaks, and Midtown.
Call now at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a free consultation.
Overview for Online Solicitation of a Minor
Definitions for Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas
In Texas, it is unlawful to solicit a minor online. Texas Penal Code § 33.021 states a person is committing a crime if he or she electronically messages a minor, and does any of the following:
- Communicates with the minor in a sexually explicit manner;
- Exchanges or gives sexually explicit material to the minor; or
- Solicits the minor to meet another person, which can include the alleged offender, with a purpose tied to sexual intent.
The term “sexually explicit” refers to any kind of communication, language, material, that can relate to sexual acts or conduct. For online solicitation of a minor to be a crime, the alleged offender must be at least 17 years old during the offense.
Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas
Texas law states if a person is convicted of online solicitation of a minor, he or she may face a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include:
- Maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years; and
- Possible fine of up to $10,000.
However, if the minor is younger than the age of 14 years old the crime will be elevated to a second-degree felony. The legal consequences for a second-degree felony include:
- Maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years; and
- Possible fine of up to $10,000.
Take note, even upon release life for felons is hard. A person with a felony on their criminal record may have issues obtaining employment, housing, gaining government assistance, and enrolling in certain educational institutions.
Defenses for Online Solicitation of a Minor in Harris County
Online solicitation of a minor is a serious crime under Texas law. Accusations alone can be extremely stressful and harm a person’s reputation. It’s important that you retain a strong legal defense to fight for your rights.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can gather evidence, file motions, and poke holes in the prosecution to reduce or dismiss your charges. There are ways to combat your charges. Hiring a defense attorney is the first step to a sturdy defense. The following are some defenses that may reduce or dismiss your charges.
- The alleged offender was married to the minor during the offense;
- The alleged offender was not more than three years older than the minor, and the minor consented to any sexual act;
- The alleged offender never intended for a meeting to occur;
- The meeting never never occured;
- The identity of the minor was mistaken for another; or
- Lack of knowledge that the alleged victim was a minor.
Texas Statute of Limitations for Online Solicitation of a Minor
The prosecution has a certain time limit to file any criminal charges against a person, this is called a statute of limitations. The purpose of this is to preserve the integrity of evidence and ensure criminal cases are resolved efficiently. Once a crime is committed or discovered, the statute of limitations begins.
An online solicitation of a minor charge will result in felony charges. In Texas, most felony charges have a statute of limitations of three years. Since online solicitation of a minor may result in either a third or second-degree felony, the statute of limitations is three years.
Texas Sex Offense Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code, a collection of state laws. Find more information surrounding sex offenses in Texas such as sexual coercion, indecent exposure, and online solicitation of a minor.
Child Advocacy Center –Visit the official website for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. (CACTX). The mission of the center is to restore the lives of children who have faced sexual or physical abuse with the partnership of local communities and agencies that investigate different types of child abuse.
Harris County Lawyer for Online Solicitation of a Minor
Are you being investigated for allegedly soliciting a minor online? It is important that you take significant steps to protect you and your rights. Having a skilled attorney on your side can be the difference between you and a barred cell.
Attorney Brian Benken is a reputable criminal defense attorney with a passion for defending his clients. He has the extensive knowledge and resources needed for your case. Do what is best for you and contact Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm.
Call us now at (713) 223 - 4051 for a free consultation surrounding your case today.
This article was last updated on October 18, 2018.