Law enforcement is always adapting when it comes to investigating the online solicitation of minors. The state of Minnesota takes such offenses very seriously, thus if you or a loved one is facing legal trouble due to the alleged online solicitation of a minor, it is integral to speak to a criminal defense attorney to defend yourself, your rights, and your future.
What Is Considered Online Solicitation of a Minor?
According to the Minnesota Statutes § 609.352, a minor is anyone under the age of 16. Per this statute, anyone 18 years old or older is prohibited from soliciting a minor to engage in sexual conduct with them. Solicit is a legal term with wide latitude to mean commanding, entreating, or attempting to persuade a specific person.
Electronic Solicitation charges usually unfold in two scenarios; through sting operations and interception of communications. During a sting operation, officers post an advertisement online and pose undercover as a minor. Officers than communicate with individuals who respond to the advertisement and bring charges based on the communications between the responding person and the undercover officer. Often times officers will wait until the responding individual arrives to meet the “minor” but they do not have to. A second common way is when it comes to officer’s attention that an adult is having inappropriate communications with a real minor. For example, parents see communications with their minor child while monitoring their cell phone or social media accounts. Officers may then charge the individual or go undercover posing at the minor to collect more evidence against the adult.
While it is common for undercover officers to be used in connect to these types of charges, the fact that the officer is not actually a minor is not a defense. Additionally, mistaking the minor’s age for older will also not be a defense to these charges.
Soliciting one or more minors online is considered a felony, and individuals found to be guilty of this crime can face the following penalties:
- A prison sentence of up to three years;
- A fine of up to $5,000;
- Required to register as a sex offender;
- Required to attend sex offender treatment; and/or
- Subjected to restricted internet access.
In addition, individuals who have been convicted of a felony are stripped of their constitutional rights to vote and bear arms. While some people may have their felony expunged by a judge and get these rights restored, crimes that require sex offender registration currently do not
currently qualify for expungement per state law.
In addition to potential negative impact on personal relationships, a conviction of this nature may impact other areas of life as well. For example, individuals may face negative consequences with employment and housing.
Facing Charges? Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm Wants to Help.
Since a conviction can have long-lasting ramifications on your life, it is advisable to seek the help of an attorney to defend you in court. Our award-winning legal team at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm will fight to protect your rights and save your reputation and future. We have years of experience in doing just that for countless clients and have won industry awards and acclaim as a result.
Call Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm at (612) 444-5020 or fill out an online form to discuss your case with a legal adviser.