Online Solicitation Defense Lawyers in Collin County
For residents of Collin County, it is important to understand how a person can be falsely accused under the computer crime of “online solicitation of a minor.” In brief, this statute criminalizes the online solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes. If you have been charged with online solicitation of a minor, you need to recognize that you are facing very serious penalties under Texas law.
This offense is often charged in conjunction with other sexual offenses, such as sexual assault. As such, anyone convicted of online solicitation of a minor can face a term of imprisonment, as well as the loss of certain civil rights in Texas. In addition, you will be required under Texas law to register as a sex offender, and your conviction can continue to impact your daily existence for the rest of your life.
Given the serious consequences of a conviction, it is essential to work with a Collin County online solicitation defense lawyer to build the strongest possible defense in your case. A criminal defense attorney at Rosenthal Barbieri can speak with you about your case today.
Elements of Online Solicitation of a Minor Under Texas Law
What are the elements of an online solicitation charge in Collin County? Residents of Collin County can be charged with online solicitation of a minor under Section 33.021 of the Texas Penal Code. The statute defines the criminal offense as one of the following situations:
- Situation in which any person who is at least 17 years old, uses the internet, electronic mail, text messaging, or another electronic system to communicate in a sexually explicit manner with a minor or to distribute sexually explicit material to a minor; or
- Situation in which any person, the internet, electronic mail, text messaging, or another electronic system to solicit a minor to meet another person (including the actor) with the intent that minor will engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse.
The statute defines a minor as one of the following:
- Anyone who is under the age of 17; or
- Anyone who the actor believes to be younger than 17 years old
As you can imagine, there are many different scenarios in which a person can be falsely accused of online solicitation of a minor, and the statute is relatively broad in its application. Indeed, the statute clarifies that it is not a defense to the charge that a meeting with the minor never occurred. As such, a person can be criminally charged simply for having online contact with a minor in certain circumstances.
Penalties for Online Solicitation in Collin County
If the minor is 14 years of age or older, the offense is charged as a third-degree felony. If the minor is under the age of 14, then the offense is charged as a second-degree felony. Those penalties are as follows under Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code:
- Third-degree felony: up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony: up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Seek Advice from a Collin County Criminal Lawyer
The penalties for online solicitation of a minor are extremely serious. You should always discuss your defense options with a Collin County sex crimes lawyer if you are facing online solicitation charges. Contact Rosenthal Barbieri today.