Legality of personal ad

Asked almost 5 years ago - Houston, TX

Many personal ads in Craigslist say "age is not important". If someone posts in an ad that says "age is not important" can they get in trouble for solicitation of a minor even though all people viewing are supposed to be 18 or older?

Additional information

Or would they need to specifically say they were looking for someone below 18 to get in trouble?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Paul Holt Walcutt

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . In the State of Texas, the Penal Code makes it an offense where "a person who is 17 years of age or older, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, intentionally: (1) communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor; or (2) distributes sexually explicit material to a minor." Texas Penal Code 33.021(b). The Penal Code also makes it an offense "if the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the actor, 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(c).

    I really doubt that an ad that otherwise does not break the law but contains the phrase "age is not important" would result in a criminal prosecution. These subsections require that a person intentionally communicates with a minor or knowingly solicits a minor and without something specifically referring to a minor in a post, I just don't see it. This is especially true on a web site that contains a warning that only people 18 and older are allowed to view the site. (The answer would be different if the person was posting the ad to a site or board aimed at children.)

    That being said, just because I don't think the prosecutor could prove that a crime has been committed, it doesn't necessarily mean that an overzealous prosecutor won't be able to file charges and get someone arrested. The poster might want to be a little more careful and articulate something that makes it clear they do not intend this offer for minors.

    Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Rosario Stornello

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Texas law can provide problems in the area of solicitation and your question is to broad to be answered here. I agree with the previous advise that you need to seek out the advice of an attorney you have retained and have an established attorney-client privilege.

    Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Howard Woodley Bailey

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Respectfully, the way in which your question is posed, looks like you are seeking a legal opinion to establish the legality of conduct you are considering doing. This is not the type of question we can answer here on Avvo.com. The rendering of a legal opinion would need to be done in conformance with an established attorney-client relationship, and by a lawyer licensed to practice law in your State. If I have misread your question, I apologize, and ask that you provide the factual background so we can assess the question you pose in context with general legal principles. Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER
    I do not practice law in your State. This answer is provided solely for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute attorney advertising.

  4. Jason Y. Chan

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . I agree with Attorney Bailey's assessment on this. I would add that you shouldn't do anything that could even be interpreted that you are trying to do something illegal.

    Attorney Jason Chan
    77 Franklin Street, FL3
    Boston, MA 02110
    617-556-8220
    website: www.attorneychan.com
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    disclaimer: I am not licensed to practice law in your state. Please be aware that this is for informational purposes only.

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