Solicitation is the sexual invitation, request, command, hiring or other attempt at involving another individual in a sexual act, regardless of whether an act occurred. Solicitation of a minor occurs when the solicitor knows or should know that the recipient is under 17 years of age, or when an individual solicits a law enforcement officer that claimes to be younger than 17 years of age.
The online solicitation of a minor is a particularly serious charge, which is charged as a third degree felony. However, if the minor was under the age of 14, it will be prosecuted as a second degree felony.
If you are convicted, penalties may include prison sentences and heavy fines. You will also be required to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement authorities for 10 years after the conviction.
In order to have a case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was 17 years of age or older and used the Internet, electronic mail, text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service to intentionally communicate in a sexually explicit manner with a minor.
While the prosecution is tasked with establishing the burden of proof as outlined above, the defense must establish reasonable doubt in the mind of the judge or jury. Some defenses against this charge include that the defendant was married to the minor, or that the minor was no more than three years younger than the defendant and consented to the encounter.
Because prosecutors vigorously pursue individuals charged with child sex crimes, the mere allegation of such an offense has ruined many lives. If you are facing charges of online solicitation of a minor, you should immediately obtain experienced legal counsel who can protect your rights and defend your case.
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