Online Solicitation of a Minor
In their efforts to fight the online distribution of child pornography, law enforcement agencies will often visit Internet “Chat Rooms” or similar “instant messaging” sites and pretend to be someone under the age of 17.
Some of my colleagues, and other criminal defense lawyers in Houston who also handle a number of online sex crimes of this magnitude on a regular basis, consider this law enforcement practice a form of entrapment. Although a worthy of a debate, a topic for future discussion.
Should a conversation begin, and the subject of that conversation turns to matters of a sexual nature, you are at risk of being charged with online solicitation of a minor. Even if the person that you are taking to is not a police officer, you can still be charged if you had reason to believe that the other person was 17 years of age or younger.
Online Solicitation of a Minor in Texas
The State of Texas has one of the more liberal legal definitions of online solicitation than in any other state. In Texas, online solicitation of a minor occurs when you:
- Engage in a conversation or exchange of electronic messages for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification with someone who is 17 years of age or younger
- Send or receive pictures or other images whose purpose is to arouse or gratify another person
- Arrange to meet with that person for the stated purpose of sexual activity. Under Texas law, you can be charged and convicted of online solicitation even if the meeting does not take place or even if you had no intention of meeting the other person
Punishment if Convicted of Online Solicitation
Depending on the circumstances of the case, conviction on a charge of online solicitation can carry very severe penalties:
- Any conviction for online solicitation is a state jail felony and can carry a sentence of from 180 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Multiple convictions can be punished as a third degree felony, which carries a prison term of from 2 to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000.
Arrested For A Criminal Offense in Texas?
Contact Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Mario Madrid
Defending against Online Solicitation Charges
If you are arrested on a charge of online solicitation, you will probably find that your friends and neighbors are not talking to you and that, depending on your type of employment, you may be suspended or fired from your job. In addition, your family may also become socially isolated because of your arrest. During these stressful times, you must have a criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you defend yourself against these charges.
Contact Madrid Law
Houston criminal defense attorney Mario Madrid has years of experience defending his clients against online solicitation charges and will provide you with an aggressive defense at all stages of the criminal trial process. To arrange a free review of your case, you should contact Madrid Law today at 713-877-9400 today!