Before a defendant decides to pursue a defensive theory, they should discuss the practicality of the defense with a criminal attorney in their area. Online solicitation of a minor is usually classified as a felony level offense.As with most felonies, the range of punishment can include a deferred or suspended sentence, up to several years in prison.
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The court can order a defendant to submit to maintenance polygraphs, complete individual or group sex offender counseling, to submit to a sex offender evaluation, and to refrain from being around any children while on probation.
The court can also require a defendant to pay for these programs which can run up to $500.00 or more per month.
Viable defenses remaining will depend on a particular state’s laws.
Some earlier laws required a defendant to actually communicate with a child and defendants could raise the defense of impossibility where prosecution involved communication with an officer who was merely posing as a child but who was in actuality an adult.
A typical defendant will argue by saying, “I never touched her, so why am I being charged?
” A defendant is essentially charged for the simple act of communicating in a certain way with a minor.
When charged with online solicitation of a minor, a defendant should understand the charge and its defenses, the initial penalty, and the long-term consequences.
Online solicitation of a minor is a very frustrating charge for many defendants because it does not require a completed “act” with a minor.
If a defendant fails to register, they can be charged with a new felony offense of failure to register as a sex offender.
Once a defendant has a sexually related offense on their record, some states will significantly increase the punishment for a second offense if a defendant is ever charged with another sexually related offense.
However, as technology expanded, so did online solicitation laws.