Child Sex Offense Attorneys in Texas
Serving Plano, Dallas, McKinney, Frisco, Allen, and the Entire State of Texas
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 the sex crime of 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 team of attorneys who will make every effort to find defenses or other mitigating factors that will result in an acquittal of the charges against you. Stuckle & Associates PLLC works diligently to help those accused of sex offenses surpass their allegations. For a free consultation to discuss the options available to you, call (972) 423-4405 today.
Who is Defined as a Minor by Texas Law?
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.
How Individuals Can Be Charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor
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.
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.
Defenses Commonly Used in Online Solicitation Cases
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 who can determine the defenses most applicable to your case:
- 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 a minor cannot be convicted of the offense if they:
- Were married to the minor when the alleged offense occurred, or
- Were less than three years older than the alleged victim when the alleged offense occurred and the alleged victim consented to the alleged offense.
Potential Penalties if Convicted
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.
Contact Our Firm Today to Contest Your Charges
If you have been charged with soliciting a minor over the internet in Plano, Dallas, McKinney, Allen, or elsewhere in Texas, turn to Stuckle & Associates PLLC today. We are available right now and will begin crafting the best possible legal defense for your case. Call (972) 423-4405 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a top sexual offense lawyer.