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Solicitation of a Minor on the Internet
Solicitation of a Minor on the Internet
Solicitation of minors for sex and sexual purposes on the Internet has grown just as quickly as the Internet itself. Because of the presence of high-profile law enforcement and media "sting" operations, government task forces being formed and safety watchdog groups educating parents, these crimes have garnered attention across the country. More so than many other criminal offenses, those convicted of soliciting children on the Internet face not only serious criminal penalties, but also numerous social consequences like sex offender registration. These cases are often tried in the "court of public opinion" long before the accused stands before a judge, and that stigma can be hard to shake even if charges are later dropped or the defendant is acquitted. If you have been involved in or are accused of soliciting a minor, contact an attorney from Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI, who will explain your rights.
What Is Solicitation of a Minor?
Solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes occurs when an adult (someone over the age of 18) contacts a victim (someone under the age of 18) with the intent of engaging in sexual activity with the victim. Should the activity actually occur, additional charges will follow. Each state's law on this sensitive topic is slightly different, and, if the contact between the accused and the victim occurred online, federal statutes might also apply. A local criminal defense attorney can offer advice about a particular state's solicitation laws and how best to fight against charges.
How Parents Can Help Protect Their Children
Though there are laws, campaigns and software aimed at keeping children safe online, parental supervision is key. Children don't only go online at home, so even if parents have installed filtering software on home computers, laptops and tablets, the kids could still access instant messaging, chat rooms, bulletin boards and email on smart phones or by using computers at other locations. In addition, filtering programs aren't "bulletproof," so many sites fall through the proverbial cracks. Parents should take the time to educate their children about potential hazards of revealing personal information, exchanging photos or arranging to meet people they met online and should regularly monitor the types of sites their children have visited.
Have You Been Charged with Solicitation of a Minor
For purposes of prosecuting charges of solicitation of a minor, it isn't a valid defense that the accused was actually conversing with a law enforcement officer who was well over the age of majority. Instead, the law presumes that a defendant can be charged if he or she reasonably believed that he or she was soliciting someone under the age of 18. Of course, every person's case is unique, and there are no "cookie cutter" defenses for accusations of these crimes.
Contact an Attorney
As with any offense dealing with children, conviction for solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes can have serious consequences. In addition to the legal penalties, the social effect can be devastating. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands your case and can guide you through the justice system could make a huge difference. Contact an attorney from Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI, for legal advice.
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