Law enforcement agencies all over Texas routinely engage in sting operations in which officers pose as underage children and interact with adults in internet chat rooms or other online venues. The result of these interactions is usually online solicitation charges for the alleged offenders.
Online solicitation of a minor is a felony offense in Texas, which means that a person could be facing several years in prison as well as being ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Some people will be charged with this crime despite having no intent to meet a minor in person.
Denton Online Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer
If you or your loved one were arrested for online solicitation of a minor in the greater Denton area, you are going to want to be sure that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will conduct an independent investigation of your incident to determine all of your possible defense options.
Our firm will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that involves the fewest possible consequences. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Online Solicitation of a Minor Charges in Denton
Texas Penal Code § 33.021(b) establishes that a person who is 17 years of age or older commits an online solicitation of a minor offense if, with the intent to commit continuous sexual abuse of young child or children, bestiality, indecency with a child, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, prohibited sexual conduct, compelling prostitution, sexual performance by a child, possession or promotion of child pornography, or trafficking of persons, the alleged offender, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, intentionally:
- communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor; or
- distributes sexually explicit material to a minor.
Under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(c), a person also commits an online solicitation of a minor offense if they, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicit a minor to meet another person, including the alleged offender, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the actor or another person.
Texas Penal Code § 33.021(a)(1) defines a minor as an individual who is younger than 17 years of age or an individual whom the alleged offender believed to be younger than 17 years of age. Under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(a)(3), sexually explicit is defined as any communication, language, or material, including a photographic or video image, that relates to or describes sexual conduct, as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25 (sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola).
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.01(1), deviate sexual intercourse is defined as any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person or the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object, Texas Penal Code § 21.01(2) defines sexual contact as any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and Texas Penal Code § 21.01(3) defines sexual intercourse as any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
Online Solicitation of a Minor Penalties in Texas
A violation of Texas Penal Code § 33.021(b) is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If a violation of Texas Penal Code § 33.021(b) involved a minor younger than 14 years of age or an individual whom the alleged offender believed to be younger than 14 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense, the crime is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
A violation of Texas Penal Code § 33.021(c) is also a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. An online solicitation of a minor conviction could also require a person to have to register as a sex offender.
Online Solicitation of a Minor Defenses in Denton County
Texas Penal Code § 33.021(d) states that it is not a defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(c) that the meeting did not occur. Under Texas Penal Code § 33.021(e), it is a defense to prosecution for online solicitation of a minor, however, that at the time conduct described by Texas Penal Code § 33.021(c) was committed:
- the alleged offender was married to the minor; or
- the alleged offender was not more than three years older than the minor and the minor consented to the conduct.
A number of other defenses could also apply in these cases. An alleged offender may have been misidentified by authorities if another person was using the alleged offender’s computer or Wi-Fi signal, and some people may have entrapment claims.
Online Solicitation of a Minor Resources in Denton County
Cyber Safety | Office of the Attorney General | Texas Attorney General — Visit the website for the Texas Attorney General to learn more about keeping children safe on the internet. You can find links to studies about keeping kids safe online. You can also learn about the Child Exploitation and Fugitive Apprehension Units.
Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation | UNICEF — Originally known as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and now known as the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF was created by the United Nations General Assembly to provide emergency food and healthcare to children and mothers in countries that had been devastated by World War II. View this UNICEF manual that discusses online child sexual exploitation and major threats to children online. You can also learn about understanding the effects of child sexual exploitation on victims and understanding the demand side of child sexual exploitation.
Find an Online Solicitation of a Minor Defense Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you or your loved one arrested for online solicitation of a minor in Denton or a surrounding area of Texas? You are going to want to find yourself, legal counsel, as quickly as you can.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We can examine your case when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.