Online Solicitation of a Minor
With the high stakes involved with any criminal charge, you need an experienced criminal trial attorney by your side. Attorney Shannon Drehner brings her years of experience as a chief felony prosecutor to defend you when you need it most. Don’t wait; contact us today.
Houston Online Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer
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In Texas, online solicitation of a minor is a serious crime. Always charged as a felony, a conviction for the offense carries a lengthy prison sentence, heavy fines, and a requirement to register as a sex offender — all of which can completely change the course of your life. If you have been accused, it is imperative to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling sex crime cases. Because the offense involves a child, you can be sure that law enforcement officials and the prosecutor will be doing everything they can to land a conviction. A competent Houston online solicitation of a minor lawyer can aggressively fight your charge and seek to avoid or minimize the penalties you are facing.
At Drehner Law, when it comes to protecting the rights of and defending the innocence of those accused of crimes, we do so diligently. Our Houston online solicitation of a minor attorney investigates every detail of these cases. With experience as a former felony prosecutor who has handled sex crime matters, we know how the other side builds their cases. We will use this insight as we thoroughly review your situation and begin building an aggressive defense on your behalf.
How Is Online Solicitation of a Minor Defined in Texas?
Online solicitation of a minor involves a person 17 years of age or older engaging in sexually explicit communication with a child.
The methods of communication with the minor can include:
- Text message, or
- Other electronic means.
Texas’s online solicitation of a minor law enumerates two ways a person can be charged with the offense.
- The accused has a sexually explicit conversation with the minor or sends sexually explicit material to the minor. “Sexually explicit” is defined as language or material depicting:
- Sexual contact,
- Sexual intercourse,
- Deviate sexual intercourse,
- Sexual bestiality,
- Sado-masochistic abuse, or
- Exhibition of the genitals, anus, or female breasts
The alleged offender must have engaged in the communication with the intent to commit continuous sexual abuse of a child, aggravated promotion of prostitution, or trafficking in persons.
- The accused communicates with the minor to entice the child to meet with them or any other person for the purpose of engaging in sexual contact or sexual intercourse. Whether or not the encounter occurred is irrelevant. The law is concerned only with the meeting being set up.
Note that under Texas Penal Code § 33.021, a minor is defined not only as a person under 17 years of age but also as someone the accused believed was 17 years of age. This means that, even if the person the accused was communicating with was 18 years of age or older if they thought that the individual was under that age, they can be charged with a crime. In some cases, law enforcement officials organize sting operations, where officers portray themselves as minors, to catch any person attempting to commit online solicitation of a minor.
If you have been accused of having a sexually explicit conversation with a minor or trying to meet with them for sex, turn to Drehner Law for your defense. Our online solicitation of a minor attorney in Houston can provide the support and guidance you need throughout this difficult period.
What Are the Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas?
Online solicitation of a minor is either a third- or second-degree felony. The specific charges and potential conviction penalties depend on the facts of the case.
It is a third-degree felony to communicate in a sexually explicit manner with a minor or send a minor sexually explicit materials.
The offense is punishable by:
- 2 to 10 years in prison and/or
- A maximum of $10,000 in fines
It is a second-degree felony to have a sexually explicit conversation with or send sexually explicit materials to a minor under 14 years of age (or a person the accused believes is under 14 years of age), or soliciting a minor to meet up for sex.
The potential conviction penalties for this offense include:
- 2 to 20 years of imprisonment and/or
- A maximum of $10,000 in fines
The criminal punishments are too substantial for you to try to handle your case without the help of an experienced lawyer. At Drehner Law, we will explore every legal avenue and do whatever it takes to work toward a favorable result in your case.
Does Online Solicitation of a Minor Lead to Sex Offender Registration Requirements?
In Texas, online solicitation of a minor is a reportable conviction. Thus, anyone found guilty must report to their local law enforcement authority with their personal identifying information.
The sex offender registration requirement has various ramifications, including:
- A searchable record
- A social stigma
- Prohibitions on employment
- Prohibitions on residence locations
- Restrictions on entering school property
Being found guilty of the offense can place severe limitations on your life. Allow our online solicitation of a minor lawyer in Houston to fight to protect your future.
Are There Defenses to Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas?
Although the prosecution may have evidence against the accused, that does not mean charges cannot be fought.
Depending on the situation, various defenses can be raised, such as:
- The accused was married to the minor
- The accused was not more than 3 years older than the minor, and the minor consented
- The accused was a victim of entrapment
The defenses listed above are a few examples of those that can be mounted. However, each situation is unique, and what applies to one case does not apply to all. We will examine your case from every angle and determine courses of action. To discuss your options for fighting your charge, speak with our Houston online solicitation of a minor attorney today.
Standing Up for You Throughout Your Online Solicitation of a Minor Case
The criminal justice system is complex, and fighting your charge can feel like an uphill battle. When you choose Drehner Law, you will not have to go your case alone. We will be by your side every step of the way, taking on whatever challenges arise.