Online Solicitation of a Minor is a Serious Crime In Texas
Laws against online solicitation crimes have led to large, high-profile and aggressive investigations by federal, state and local authorities. These sometimes include arguable unconstitutional police “sting” operations to snare alleged perpetrators in a widely cast net.
Online Solicitation of a Minor is a Felony CrimeTexas sex crime laws make online solicitation of a minor (under 17 years old) a felony. That means those who are found guilty can face the penalty of going to prison (Texas Penal Code Section 33.021).
According to Texas online solicitation of a minor penal code, adults who solicit a minor on the Internet to engage in sexual activity with them or with another person may be charged with a second-degree felony. The penalties for such a crime include spending up to 20 years in prison and paying a fine of $10,000.
By Texas sex crime laws, using the Internet to send a minor material that is sexually explicit is a third-degree felony. That includes forwarding such material from another source.
Defending Online Solicitation ChargesIn Texas, defenses against online solicitation charges can include, of course, demonstrating that the defendant was innocent of the crime. But even without that defense, other mitigating factors can enhance a defense against an online solicitation of a minor charge.
For instance, if the defendant was married to the minor, that can be a defense against the charge. Or, if the defendant was not more than three years older than the minor, and the minor consented, a strong argument can be made.
However, online solicitation of a minor for sexual conduct cannot be defended by asserting that such a meeting never occurred, that the defendant never meant for it to occur or that the defendant was engaged in a fantasy.
In other words, Texas sex crime laws eliminate as a defense many common explanations by the defendant to indicate he or she had no intention to follow through with in-person sexual conduct with the minor.