Can You Be Charged With Online Solicitation if You Never Met?Published: Jun 08, 2021 in Child Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children
Online solicitation charges have become increasingly common in Houston recently. But this isn’t necessarily because more and more Texans are engaging in these crimes. Many of these people have never even met the people they were accused of soliciting online.
But just because you never met doesn’t mean you can’t be charged. Internet stings have made it possible for police to arrest pedophiles and others engaging in online solicitation of a minor. But it has also led to many wrongful arrests.
Online Solicitation & Internet Stings
Many online solicitation charges arise from internet sting operations. These large-scale actions may involve various law enforcement departments and usually get featured on the local news. Police will typically create profiles on popular dating apps or internet chat rooms and pretend to be minors. They then will have chats with adults online, telling the adult they are underaged.
Even if there are no suggestions of a sexual nature, the adult can still be charged with online solicitation if an in-person meeting is scheduled with the assumption that the person the adult is meeting is a minor.
If you have been arrested for online solicitation after an internet sting, you need a defense. Don’t wait; the sooner a lawyer starts working on your case, the better your chances.
Penalties for an Online Solicitation in Texas
Online solicitation of a minor is a severe offense in Texas. Under the law, it is a second-degree felony. This is punishable by a maximum prison term of twenty years. You could also be ordered to pay fines of up to $20,000.
But these aren’t the only effects of an online solicitation conviction. You could also face other devastating penalties:
- Registration as a sex offender
- Random drug or alcohol testing
- Being prohibited from using the internet
- Unable to find a good job
- Trouble finding safe or affordable housing
- Immigration or citizenship issues
- Suspension of professional licenses
Even the charge of online solicitation can destroy your reputation. It can ruin your life. Clearing your name may be the only way to get back to your life.
How To Defend Against Online Solicitation
Many people charged with online solicitation believe that they should claim it was “entrapment.” They are often wrong.
Entrapment means the police induced you to commit the crime in question when you would not have otherwise. Entrapment can be difficult to argue in internet sting cases. But it may be appropriate in some instances. Other, more effective online solicitation defenses could include:
Your lawyer will need to analyze the details of your case carefully. This will determine which defense is most practical for you.
Contact an Internet Sting Defense Lawyer
As you can see, there doesn’t need to be a victim or even a real person for you to face online solicitation charges. But you still have the right to defend yourself. Don’t trust your freedom to an inexperienced attorney or try to handle things alone. Hire an experienced, aggressive Houston defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett.