Solicitation of a Minor Over the Internet
Accusation of soliciting a minor online can often result from entrapment-type situations commonly depicted on televisions shows. However, soliciting a minor online can also be the result of a mistake or an accident. For example, an individual can be charged with soliciting a minor when they thought they were communicating with an adult on the computer, but may have actually been talking to an underage person.
No matter the reason for the false claims against you, it is important to contact an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer who will make every effort to find defenses or other mitigating factors that will result in an acquittal of the charges against you.
Dallas Online Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer
Contact Stuckle & Associates PLLC for a free consultation about your allegations. We are proud to defend those in our North Texas community, including Plano, Denton, Frisco, Allen , Carrollton, Garland, and Irving against sexual abuse charges such as these, and we know exactly what you're up against. For many years, our firm has focused just on these complex cases.
There's a tough fight ahead, and you need an attorney at your side who is not afraid to aggressively stand up for your rights. To schedule your consultation and discuss the options available to you, call (972) 423-4405 today.
Texas Online Child Solicitation Information Center
- Who is Defined as a Minor by Texas Law?
- Online Solicitation of a Minor Under Texas Penal Code
- Related Definitions
- Defenses Commonly Used in Online Solicitation Cases
- Potential Penalties if Convicted
Although the terms "minor" or "child" can call to mind young children, these labels legally apply to teenagers as well. According to section 33.021 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual who is considered a minor is anyone who:
- Represents themselves as under the age of 17; or
- The alleged offender believes to be under the age of 17.
An individual can be charged with online solicitation of a minor under Tex. Penal Code § 33.021(b) if they are the age of 17 or older and intentionally:
- Distribute sexually explicit material to a minor over the Internet, online, through e-mail, via text message, or through some other electronic means, or
- Communicate in a sexually explicit way with a minor over the Internet, online, through e-mail, via text message, or through some other electronic means.
The alleged offender must also have committed the alleged offense with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the third degree.
An individual can also be charged with online solicitation of a minor under Tex. Penal Code § 33.021(c) if they knowingly solicit a minor over the Internet, online, through e-mail, via text message, or through some other electronic means to:
- Engage in sexual contact,
- Engage in sexual intercourse, or
- Engage in deviate sexual intercourse.
This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the second degree.
Texas law defines the following terms under section 21.01 of the Texas Penal Code:
- Sexual contact – This is defined as any touching of the breast, any portion of the genitals, or anus of another person for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desires or arousing another person.
- Sexual intercourse – This is defined as penetration by the male sex organ of the female sex organ.
- Deviate sexual intercourse – This is defined as penetration of the genitals or anus with an object or contact between the genitals of one person with the mouth or anus of another person.
As defined in section 33.021 of the Texas Penal Code, the term sexually explicit means any type of language, communication, material, photo, picture, video, image or language that illustrates some form of sexual conduct. Sexual conduct is defined under section 43.25 as:
- Actual or simulate sexual intercourse,
- Deviate sexual intercourse,
- Sadomasochistic abuse,
- Sexual bestiality,
- Lewd exhibition of the genitals, anus, or female areola or breast, or
- Sexual contact.
In certain situations, a defense may be available to the crime you have been falsely accused of. It is important to first discuss the facts of your case with an experienced lawyer to determine which, if any, of the following defenses may be applicable to your particular situation:
- False accusations
- Lack of knowledge or intent
There may also be affirmative defenses to the criminal charges you are facing. An affirmative defense is a defense to the crime where the alleged offender admits they committed the act, but it is not considered a criminal offense in their particular situation because of a statutory reason. For example, an individual who has been accused of engaging in online solicitation of minor cannot be convicted of the offense if they:
- Were married to the minor at the time of the offense, or
- They were not more than three years older than the alleged victim at the time of the offense and the alleged victim consented to the alleged offense.
An individual who has been charged with solicitation of a minor in Dallas or elsewhere in Texas may face any of the following penalties:
- Requirements to register as a sex offender, according to Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure;
- Refusal to be admitted into certain educational programs;
- An inability to pursue certain jobs, professions or occupations;
- An inability to receive certain types of governmental assistance;
- An inability to own or possess a firearm;
- An inability to vote or hold public office; and/or
- Public embarrassment or a negative impact on personal relationships.
Additionally, under Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual who has been convicted of online solicitation of a minor can face any of the following statutory penalties:
An individual who is accused of engaging in online solicitation of a minor can generally face a felony of the third degree conviction. This degree of offense is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years.
An individual who is accused of online solicitation of a minor who is under the age of 14 or who the alleged offender believes to be under the age of 14 can be convicted of a felony of the second degree. This degree of offense is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Additionally, an individual who is accused of soliciting a minor online can be convicted of a felony of the second degree offense, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000 if they knowingly solicit a minor online for the purpose of:
- Engaging in sexual intercourse,
- Engaging in sexual contact,
- Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse.
Protecting Your Freedom After Arrests for Solicitation in Texas
If you have been charged with soliciting a minor over the internet in Collin County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County, or elsewhere, contact Stuckle & Associates PLLC today. Paul Stuckle is a skillful criminal defense lawyer in Plano who will make every effort to find defenses or mitigating factors to the allegations against you. Call (972) 423-4405 or send an online message to schedule your free consultation today.