Any adult who is suspected of seducing a minor can face steep penalties, but the internet dramatically changes these cases. When contact starts online, many adults find themselves talking to minors even if they don’t realize it—or they believe that harmless online chatting cannot count as a sex crime. Unfortunately, in Los Angeles it is possible to face serious criminal penalties for a variety of online or offline activities with minors. If you have been arrested for using a computer to solicit a minor, do not try to face the charges on your own. You need to talk to a Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we know how to fight these cases. We founded our law firm on a simple belief: that you are innocent until proven guilty, and that you deserve a powerful defense. Our lawyers understand internet sex crime laws and how they can be beaten—both in and out of court. Let us give you a FREE consultation on your case. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as soliciting or seducing a minor in Los Angeles?
“Internet solicitation” is really a group of potential charges centered around a single scenario. The basic idea is that California law forbids adults 18+ from using computers or the internet to commit any sex offense with a minor. If this sounds broad, it’s because it is. The law casts a very wide net when it comes to this kind of offense.
In practice, however, there are three very specific charges we see most often in these kinds of cases:
- Luring a child. Using a computer/the internet to “lure” a child under the age of 14. This means attempting to get the minor away from their parents or away from where the child is expected to be (such as school). It is illegal even if the purpose is not explicitly sexual.
- Soliciting a minor for lewd purposes. This is using the internet to attempt to arrange a meeting with a minor under 18, with the intent to have any kind of sexual conduct at the meeting. This may be the
- Transmitting harmful material to a minor. Harmful material includes sexual material such as pornography, erotic stories and naked pictures. It also includes sexting. It is unlawful whenever the purpose is to sexually arouse the minor.
Of course, these situations are also illegal if they happen with no computers involved. But the investigation, the evidence and the type of defense you need will all be different if any part of the incident happened online.
If I’m convicted, will I have to register as a sex offender?
Yes, and this is one of the most devastating penalties. Some individuals are required to register for the rest of their lives, while others will have to register for a set period of time. Registration involves reporting to local authorities once a year and anytime you move or your personal information changes. The community will be aware of your name, offense, photography and address.
What are the penalties for using the internet to solicit a minor?
It depends on the charge.
- Luring a child is generally a misdemeanor and can carry up to a year in jail. It can also turn into more serious charges.
- Transmitting sexual material to a minor can be either a misdemeanor (with up to 6 months in jail) or a felony (with up to 3 years in state prison and $10,000 in fines).
- Soliciting a minor for lewd purposes can be either a misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines) or a felony (up to 4 years in state prison and $10,000 in fines).
There are circumstances where these crimes can also carry heavier penalties. In some cases, you could also find yourself facing federal charges, which tend to be prosecuted fiercely and carry significant prison sentences.
Remember, however, that it is possible to beat these charges.
What defenses can I use against soliciting a minor?
The best defense depends on the details of your case. In general, however, some of the most successful defenses can include:
- Entrapment. If police engineered the situation that led to you “soliciting” a minor, and you would not have otherwise solicited them, you may have grounds for an entrapment defense.
- No sexual intent. Intent matters in many of these charges. If you did not have any intent to arouse, seduce or have sexual conduct with the minor, you may be able to win your case.
- False accusation. Simply because you are accused of soliciting a minor does not mean that’s what happened. We can help you build a case and prove your version of events.
- Believed the minor was 18 or older. If we can show a strong case that you reasonably believed the minor was actually 18 or older, you may be able to win your case.
When your case involves internet contact or the use of any device, this will affect your defense. You need an attorney who has 21st century digital sleuthing skills and understand the complex laws around data, computer evidence, and searches of devices. Do not settle for a defense lawyer who does not have a background in internet solicitation cases.
Talk to a Los Angeles Internet Solicitation Lawyer for Free
Don’t let a single incident ruin years of your life. At the Simmrin Law Group, we understand how to win cyber cases. We will listen to your story, take your side, and work to give you the best defense possible. Let us give give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.