Solicitation of a Minor
The solicitation of minors has grown in recent years, especially with the availability of new methods of communication, including texting and online messaging. Televisions shows like “To Catch a Predator” and highly publicized police sting operations have also both increased the media interest and altered the public’s impression of these crimes. Unfortunately, this can potentially mean negative perceptions of individuals who have been charged with solicitation of a minor, even before a trial occurs. A criminal defense attorney can be a critical aid during this delicate process.
Melbourne Solicitation of a Minor Defense Attorney
Regardless of the circumstances of the solicitation, it is a serious crime under Florida law. This criminal offense can also potentially destroy careers, relationships, and future employment prospects. A criminal defense attorney in Melbourne, FL who is experienced in cases of solicitation of a minor can be a great asset as you fight for your name and future.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy have focused their careers on defending men, women, and minors who have been charged with criminal offenses. They understand the serious direct and indirect consequences that a charge for solicitation of a minor can have, including registration as a sex offender and red flags on background checks.
If you or a loved one has been charged with solicitation of a minor in Melbourne or the surrounding communities, call (321) 253-3447 to discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
Florida’s State Statute §794.011(8)(a) defines several parameters in which to establish guilt (“Solicitation of Child under 18 Years of Age to Engage in an Act That Constitutes Sexual Battery by Person in Familial or Custodial Authority”). This statute specifically refers to criminal offenses in which a minor (under 18 years of age) is solicited by a person in familial or custodial custody to commit a sexual act. Factors used in determining guilt include:
- The victim must have been less than 18 years old at the time of the alleged offense.
- The defendant must have been in a position of familial or custodial authority in relation to the victim.
- The defendant tried to engage the victim in an act which constitutes sexual battery.
The sexual battery did not have to take place for the act to be considered a crime. The victim’s alleged willingness to engage or consent to such an act that constitutes sexual battery is not a valid defense.
Even if the solicitation of a minor took place through the internet, using mediums such as chat rooms, e-mails, text messaging, or webcams, the act is still punishable by Florida law. Florida statute § 847.0135(3)(a) defines the criminal offense for “Soliciting A Child for Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using Computer Services or Devices”.
To prove this criminal offense, the prosecution must establish that:
- The defendant knowingly used the internet or device capable of online storage to communicate with the victim.
- The victim was a minor or a person believed by the defendant to be a minor.
- The defendant solicited or attempted to solicit the minor into engaging in an act of illegal sexual conduct.
An enhanced penalty may be given if the defendant misrepresented his or her age to be under 18 years old. Additionally, any involvement by undercover law enforcement officers or operatives is not a valid defense.
The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthyn| Melbourne Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer
If you have been charged with solicitation of a minor in Melbourne Florida or the surrounding communities, it’s imperative that you understand the charges you face and your legal options. Retaining the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney soon after you have been charged can be extremely beneficial. Your attorney will be better able to gather time-sensitive evidence and testimony, which can help build a stronger case in court.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy are experienced and ready to stand as your advocates during this sensitive process. They understand the serious implications that a charge of solicitation of a minor can have. All of their experience and resources will be on your side as they fight for your future. Call (321) 253-3447 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case today.