Internet sex crimes are generally categorized in one of two ways: possession of child pornography or online solicitation of a minor.
Child pornography consists of photos or video of a child under the age of 18 years of age engaging in sexual conduct. Possession of child pornography is a third degree felony that is punishable by a prison sentence of two to 10 years.
Promoting child pornography—sending or transferring images or videos to another person—is a more serious offense subject to an enhanced punishment. In Texas, promoting child pornography is a second degree felony that can result in a prison sentence of two to 20 years.
Online solicitation of a minor occurs when an adult uses the Internet to make contact with a minor and either uses sexually explicit language or arranges a meeting to engage in sexual activity. Law enforcement agencies often set up sting operations to catch individuals committing this offense by posing as minors online.
Online solicitation of a minor is a third degree felony if the minor is over the age of 17; if the minor is under the age of 14, the charge is elevated to a second degree felony. Conviction can result in prison sentence of two to 20 years.
Aside from the possibility of spending years in prison, a conviction for any Internet sex crime that involves a minor will result in a felony on your record and you will be required to register as a sex offender. The long-term effects on various aspects of your life will be felt for many, many years.
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