Houston Online Solicitation of a Minor Defense Attorneys

Houston, Texas online solicitation of a minor defense lawyer

Experienced Legal Defense for Accusations of Online Solicitation of a Minor

In today's digital age, advancements in technology have resulted in a huge increase in the number of online interactions that take place every day. While this connectivity has its benefits, it also carries risks, especially when minors are involved. The state of Texas takes the protection and safety of children seriously, and it has implemented laws to address crimes committed through electronic communication platforms. In some cases, people who communicate with children (or, more commonly, with police officers pretending to be children) over the internet may face accusations of inappropriate behavior or claims that they have attempted to meet with a minor and engage in sexual activities.

If you are facing charges for online solicitation of a minor in Houston, Texas, it is crucial to understand the legal consequences you may face. Crimes against children are taken very seriously by law-enforcement officials and prosecutors. In addition to the legal penalties you may face if you are convicted, you may experience multiple other consequences, including harm to your reputation, problems finding employment, and issues affecting your family relationships. At Bennett & Bennett, we know how difficult these situations can be, and we will provide the compassionate, dedicated legal representation you need as you respond to the charges against you, defend against a conviction, and take steps to protect your reputation.

What Constitutes Online Solicitation of a Minor?

According to Section 33.021 of the Texas Penal Code, online solicitation of a minor involves knowingly communicating electronically with someone who is under 17 years old, or who you believe to be under 17 years of age, with the intent to:

  • Meet the minor or arrange a meeting between the minor and someone else for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse or any other type of sexual conduct; or
  • Send or receive sexually explicit messages with the intent that the minor will engage in some sexual conduct.

The term "electronic communication" encompasses various forms of correspondence, such as text messaging, emails, social media, video conferencing, or any other methods of sending and receiving messages. A person may be charged with online solicitation of a minor if they were over the age of 17 at the time of the offense. However, they may be able to defend against the charges by showing that they were no more than three years older than a minor, and the minor consented to the communication.

Possible Legal Consequences for Online Solicitation Charges

Online solicitation offenses are categorized as felonies under Texas law. The degree of felony will depend on the circumstances of the alleged offense:

  • Third degree felony: This level of offense may apply if a person communicated with a minor in a sexually explicit fashion or sent sexually explicit material to a minor, with intent that the minor engage in sexual conduct. If convicted of a third-degree felony, the accused may be sentenced to two to 10 years in prison and fined up to $10,000.
  • Second degree felony: This level of offense may apply if a person made arrangements to meet a minor in person. It may also apply if a person is accused of sending sexually explicit messages or material to a minor under the age of 14. A second-degree felony carries penalties that include imprisonment for a term ranging from two to 20 years, as well as fines of up to $10,000.
  • First degree felony: If an offense was committed during school hours, and the alleged offender knew that the child was enrolled in elementary school, middle school, or high school a the time of the offense, the penalties they face may be increased to the next highest level of felony. Thus, if a person solicited a minor to meet in person through communications that occurred during school hours, they could face first degree felony charges, and if convicted, they may be sentenced to five to 99 years in prison and fined as much as $10,000.

Consult an Experienced Harris County Online Solicitation of a Minor Attorney

Bennett & Bennett are recognized by criminal-defense lawyers statewide for our experience in the defense of Online Solicitation of a Minor cases.

If you have been accused of online-solicitation charges involving a minor (or someone pretending to be a minor) in Houston, Texas, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable criminal-defense attorney as soon as possible. At Bennett & Bennett, we are committed to protecting our clients' rights and defending them against accusations that they have engaged in inappropriate behavior involving children. Our experienced team has a deep understanding of the complexities involved in these cases, and we will work to protect your reputation and help you avoid a criminal conviction. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at 713-224-1747.

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