The state of Florida provides strong protections for its children. It is illegal for an adult to contact a child for sex. Even if you never follow through on the act, you could face felony charges if caught. The crime of arranging to meet a child for sex is called solicitation of a child (also known as enticement or solicitation of a minor). A conviction for this crime carries steep penalties.
If you’ve been arrested for solicitation of a child, it is crucial you secure legal representation. Don’t try to defend yourself in court. You could end up with a long prison sentence and a large fine.
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. has represented clients accused of sex crimes for years. Our team of skilled attorneys has both prosecution and defense experience. This combined experience uniquely positions our firm to understand what the other side is thinking and how best to defend.
We offer a free consultation. Call (561) 557-8686 or complete our online form to get started. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents South Florida clients in Boca Raton, Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach, Greenacres, and other communities across Palm Beach County.
Solicitation of a child occurs when an offender attempts to cause a minor to engage in sexual activity with them. Florida law defines two main types of solicitation.
The first type of solicitation, defined by Florida Statutes 800.04(6)(a)2, is considered lewd or lascivious conduct. A person violates this law when they solicit another person younger than 16 years old to engage in lewd or lascivious acts. Acts are considered lewd or lascivious if they are lustful or unchaste.
The second form of solicitation, defined by Florida Statutes 847.0135(3)(a), involves the use of technology. This statute outlaws the online solicitation of a minor using a computer or other Internet-connected device. Police often set up sting operations using an officer posing as a minor to arrest would-be offenders. You could be charged with this crime even if the person you were attempting to solicit was only pretending to be a child.
If you solicit a child without the aid of the Internet, the degree of the charge depends on your age. If you are over the age of 18, soliciting a minor is a second-degree felony. If you are younger than 18, it is a third-degree felony.
Soliciting a child over the Internet is also a third-degree felony. If you deceive a child about your age, the charge is increased to a second-degree felony. Traveling to meet a minor is also charged as a second-degree felony.
A third-degree felony conviction carries heavy punishments. You could spend up to 5 years behind bars and fined $5,000 if convicted.
If you are convicted for a felony in the second degree, the penalties increase drastically. A second-degree felony could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years. You may also be fined a maximum of $10,000.
Florida’s sex offender registry contains two types of registrants: sexual offenders and sexual predators. A judge may issue a court order declaring a sex offender convicted of a sexually violent offense to be a sexual predator. Both sexual offenders and predators must register for life. Offenders are required to provided updated information to the sheriff’s office twice a year. Predators must check in four times a year.
Solicitation of a child is a nonviolent sexual offense. You will likely be required to register as a sexual offender if found guilty of soliciting a child for sex. The consequences for this punishment last longer than a prison sentence or fine. Your status as a registered sex offender could follow you for the rest of your life.
As a convicted felon on the sex offender registry, it will be difficult for you to find a job and a place to live. You will be unable to purchase or own a gun. Florida’s citizens recently voted to grant prisoners a right to vote in elections after they have completed their sentences. However, those with a felony sexual offense conviction will still be denied this basic constitutional right to vote.
The Center for Sex Offender Management – The Center for Sex Offender Management is a nonprofit organization intent on improving how society manages its sex offenders. CSOM believes proper management of sex offenders can improve public safety. Visit this website to view materials describing various methods used to reintegrate offenders into society.
Frequently Asked Questions | FDLE – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement oversees Florida’s sex offenders. The FDLE has published a list of the most frequently asked questions about sex offenders and the registration process on its official website. Here you will learn what a sexual predator is, who must register as a sex offender, and what information sex offenders must provide to the FDLE.
With so much at stake, it’s crucial you seek the help of an attorney when facing criminal charges for solicitation of a child. Whether you had a momentary lapse of judgment or you are wrongfully accused, you need Meltzer & Bell, P.A. on your side. Our practiced attorneys will give your case the individualized attention it deserves.
Call (561) 557-8686 or complete our short online form for a free initial consultation. Don’t risk prison time, fines, and sex offender registration. Let Meltzer & Bell, P.A. help. We represent clients in Boca Raton, Lake Park, Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, and other communities across Palm Beach County.