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Online Solicitation of a Minor

While online solicitation of a minor is a crime that involves an alleged offender engaging in sexual conduct with a minor through electronic communication, the minor that is involved in many cases happens to be an undercover police officer. Many agencies throughout Texas use sting operations in which officers pretend to be minors specifically for the purpose of issuing online solicitation charges.

 

Simply being charged with online solicitation of a minor is an incredibly embarrassing experience that can affect the way others view an alleged offender. The crime is also a felony offense that carries some very weighty penalties.

Plano Online Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer

If you or your loved one were arrested for alleged online solicitation of a minor in the Plano area, you will want to quickly retain legal counsel. Let a criminal defense attorney talk to police for you.

 

Make sure you contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Online Solicitation of a Minor Charges in Texas

Texas Penal Code § 33.021 establishes that a person commits online solicitation of a minor if they:

 

●    Being 17 years of age or older, with the intent to commit continuous sexual abuse of young child or children, compel prostitution, or traffick of persons, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, intentionally communicate in a sexually explicit manner with a minor or distribute sexually explicit material to a minor; or

 

●    Over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicit a minor to meet another person,including the alleged offender, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the alleged offender or another person.

 

Texas Penal Code § 33.021(a)(1) defines a minor as an individual who is younger than 17 years of age or an individual whom the alleged offender believes to be younger than 17 years of age. Sexually explicit is defined under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(a)(3) as any communication, language, or material, including a photographic or video image, that relates to or describes sexual conduct, which Texas Penal Code § 43.25(a)(2) defines as sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.

Collin County Online Solicitation of a Minor Penalties

Online solicitation of a minor is a third-degree felony when an alleged offender 17 years of age or older intentionally communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor or distributes sexually explicit material to a minor over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service with the intent to commit continuous sexual abuse of young child or children, compelling prostitution, or trafficking of persons. A conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

 

Online solicitation of a minor becomes a second-degree felony when the minor is younger than 14 years of age or is an individual whom the alleged offender believes to be younger than 14 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense. A second-degree felony conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

 

It is also a second-degree felony if an alleged offender knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the alleged offender, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the alleged offender or another person. Under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(d), a meeting not occurring cannot be used as a defense against online solicitation of a minor charges.

Online Solicitation of a Minor Defenses in Plano

Under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(e)(1), it is a defense to prosecution that at the time the conduct was committed, the alleged offender was married to the minor. Texas Penal Code § 33.021(e)(2) also states that it is a defense if the alleged offender was not more than three years older than the minor and the minor consented to the conduct.

 

Other defenses could hinge on the actual nature of the online conversation which led to the criminal charges. In some cases, people may be accused of online solicitation when they thought they were engaging in friendly but harmless conversation.

Plano Online Solicitation of a Minor Resources

Criminal Investigations | Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) — Many sting operations in Texas involve the Criminal Investigation Department of DPS. It helps many local law enforcement agencies like police departments, sheriff’s offices, and district attorney’s offices.The four specialized sections of the Criminal Investigation Department include the Administration Section, Organized Crime Section, Special Investigations Section (SIS), and Investigative Support Section.

 

Ex Parte Lo | 424 S.W.3d 10 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013)— John Christopher Lo was charged with the third-degree felony of communicating in a sexually explicit manner with a person whom he believed to be a minor with an intent to arouse or gratify his sexual desire after sending sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year-old boy. His pretrial application for awrit of habeas corpus alleged that this specific subsection of the felony offense of online solicitation of a minor was facially unconstitutional because it was over broad and criminalized a wide range of speech protected by the First Amendment, it was vague because the term “sexually explicit” communications that “relate to” sexual conduct chilled the exercise of free-speech by causing citizens to steer wide of the uncertain boundaries between permitted and prohibited speech, and it violated the Dormant Commerce Clause. While the trial judge denied relief and the court of appeals affirmed, the Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously struck down the sexually explicit communications portion of the Online Solicitation of a Minor statute. The Court concluded that“Section 33.021(b) of the Texas Penal Code is over broad because it prohibits a wide array of constitutionally protected speech and is not narrowly drawn to achieve only the legitimate objective of protecting children from sexual abuse.” Senate Bill 344 in 2015 later amended the statute such that “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person” was changed to “intent to commit an offense listed in Article 62.001(5)(A), (B), or (K), Code of Criminal Procedure.”

Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Plano Online Solicitation of a Minor Attorney

Were you or your loved one arrested for alleged online solicitation of a minor in Plano or a different area in Collin County? You will want to exercise your right to remain silent until you are able to contact a lawyer.

 

Make your first phone call be the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Our firm can examine your case when you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

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