Arrested for Traveling to Meet a Minor? Contact a Criminal Attorney in Tampa

Especially in the midst of a global pandemic that is forcing millions of Americans to work from home, internet access is more prevalent than ever before. Unfortunately, this also means that instances of cybercrime are skyrocketing, such as identity theft, internet fraud, wire fraud, phishing scams, cyberstalking, child pornography, and more. This includes the serious offense of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex and Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sex by Using a Computer. 

If you have been arrested or accused or either Traveling to Meet a Minor or Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sex by Using a Computer, you need to contact a criminal attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys have experience dealing with a wide variety of sex crime cases, including child pornography, traveling to meet a minor, statutory rape, and violations of a sex offender report and will work to reduce the penalties and recover your reputation. 

Florida’s Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act

The offense of traveling to meet a minor and soliciting a minor for unlawful sex via a computer is outlined in Florida Statute §847.0135(4) — the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act. Under this statute, you can be found guilty for both Traveling to Meet a Minor and Soliciting a Minor if you travel to meet a minor whom you first got into contact with over the internet for the purpose of unlawful sex. The offense of traveling to meet a minor contains four major elements:

  • Knowingly traveling within the state,
  • For the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct after using a computer to contact the victim.
  • The victim was a minor or person believed by the defendant to be a minor.
  • The defendant solicited the minor or attempted to do so to engage in the unlawful sexual conduct.

Penalties

If you are convicted of soliciting a minor for sexual conduct over the internet, you will face a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years of jail time, up to five years of probation, and a fine not to exceed $5,000. If you’re not truthful about your age when committing the act of solicitation, then the crime becomes a second-degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years of jail time, up to fifteen years of probation, and a fine not to exceed $10,000. If that wasn’t enough, any person convicted of soliciting a minor for sexual conduct over the internet is also deemed a sexual offender on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website. It’s also important to remember that the meeting with the minor doesn’t instigate the charge and that each separate use of a computer to talk or discuss meeting arrangements will be considered one offense. 

Defenses

That being said, there are a number of defenses the top criminal defenses attorneys in Tampa can employ to have your charges reduced or dismissed, such as entrapment and lack of solicitation. These defenses are most viable in “Bait & Switch” prosecutions, where an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a minor initiates the discussion of unlawful sexual acts and the defendant is reluctant to commit the unlawful acts. To ensure your case reaches the best possible outcome, schedule a free consultation with The Rickman Law Firm today to speak with a criminal attorney in Tampa

For a free consultation with an experienced criminal attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 999-0502 or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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