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Common Misconceptions About Online Solicitation Cases

Online Solicitation

Texas law defines the offense of online solicitation of a minor as online communications meant to entice a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activities, whether or not these activities involve physical contact with the defendant. Online solicitation is usually a third-degree felony, but it can be upgraded to a second-degree or first-degree felony depending on the age of the minor and the content of the online communications. If you get accused of online solicitation of a minor, do not assume that your case will end up the same way as other cases you have read about in the news. A Texas sex crime attorney can help you choose the best defenses to use in your online solicitation case.

MYTH: It Is Only Online Solicitation If You Express Intent to Meet With a Minor

FACT: Charges of online solicitation apply if you engage with a minor online in a way that encourages the minor to engage in any kind of sexual behavior, from meeting you for a sexual encounter to sending sexually suggestive or explicit photos of himself or herself, or even simply to view sexually explicit content. In other words, you could be charged with online solicitation of a minor if you send a sexually explicit video to someone you believe is a minor, even if all of the actors in the video are adults.

MYTH: The Entrapment Defense Always Works If You Were Communicating With an Undercover Officer

FACT: Many online solicitation arrests occur during sting operations where undercover officers create fake online profiles that appear to belong to teenagers and initiate conversations with people that they think will turn the conversation toward sexual topics. You can still be charged with online solicitation if you continued the conversation after the undercover cop said something like, “I’m 15,” I’m a sophomore at [name of high school],” or, “My fake ID says I’m 18.” If you continue the conversation after the online chat partner claims to be a minor, the entrapment defense will not apply.

MYTH: All Online Solicitation Convictions Lead to Prison Time

FACT: A conviction for first offense, third-degree online solicitation of a minor may or may not lead to prison time. Judges have the option to hand down a probation sentence instead. 

Sometimes, judges hand down harsh sentences for online solicitation cases of the “here’s the video you asked about” kind, just so they can boost their popularity by appearing tough on crime. In general, defendants who accept plea deals tend to get lighter sentences than those convicted at trial, but you always have the right to go to trial and attempt to show reasonable doubt about your guilt. In some cases, the court may offer deferred adjudication, where you must complete probation and other requirements, similar to drug court, except for other types of offenses.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of online solicitation of a minor. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.

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