In the state of Florida, child enticement is considered a very serious crime and is not taken lightly by the criminal justice system. If you are being charged with luring, soliciting, seducing, or enticing a child, you face a significant risk of being sentenced to several years of jail time and a hefty fine.
According to the law, child enticement has a very specific definition. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to prove that you are innocent of the charges. That is why it is so important to hire a reputable and experienced defense attorney when you are facing a charge as serious as child enticement.
What exactly is the legal definition of child enticement, and what defenses are commonly used against these severe accusations? Read on to learn more.
What is Child Enticement?
The crime casually referred to as “child enticement” is officially known by the legal apparatus in Florida as “Soliciting a Child for Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using a Computer.” It is specifically intended to protect children from adults using Internet chat rooms to solicit sex from minors.
The explicit legal definition prohibits the crimes of luring, seducing, soliciting or enticing a minor for unlawful sexual conduct using any electronic device that can store or transmit data. However, each of these terms has a unique and specific definition according to Florida law. If you are facing child enticement charges, you must go over each term with a defense attorney to learn how each can be applied to your case.
What are the Charges for Child Enticement?
The criminal justice system in Florida classifies the crime of child enticement as a felony in the second degree. Felonies are typically associated with severe legal penalties if the prosecution succeeds in getting the defendant convicted, so it is important to know the potential consequences if you are facing these charges.
The mandatory minimum sentence for soliciting a minor for unlawful sex is a prison sentence of 21 months. However, the sentence can be for as long as 15 years, depending on the case’s specifics and the judge’s final decision. Alternatively, the judge may decide to impose a sentence of 15 years of probation. Restitution fines associated with a conviction for this crime can reach as much as $10,000.
The criminal charges would still be valid even if the alleged minor were actually a law enforcement officer working undercover since the defendant’s intent would have still been to solicit a minor for unlawful sexual conduct.
Clearly, the consequences for this crime are no trivial matter, and anyone facing these charges will require the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Defenses Can Be Used Against Child Enticement Charges?
Depending on the specifics of your case, your attorney may adopt a variety of different strategies to prove your innocence or reduce your sentencing as much as possible.
Proving the defendant’s innocence to the judge and jury in cases like these can be a tricky, nuanced matter for the attorneys. Often it involves debating the specific legal definitions of these crimes down to the letter to determine whether the defendant was actually in violation of the law.
For this reason, a layperson or relatively inexperienced attorney may struggle to protect the defendant from conviction in the courtroom, so it’s important for those facing child enticement charges to hire the best legal counsel they have access to.
Of course, every case is different, and the details of your case will determine the most advantageous legal strategy. However, here are two of the most common defenses used against these charges.
The Prosecution is Unable to Prove Enticement
One of the most popular defenses against these charges is that the defendant’s actions do not actually constitute a violation of the law. This means that the defense attorney has to prove that their client did not lure, solicit, seduce, or entice a minor for unlawful sexual contact based on the legal definitions of these terms.
Keep in mind that the legal definitions play a huge role in these cases; if a prosecutor can’t absolutely prove that the defendant violated these laws as written, then the judge cannot convict them of this crime. Depending on the details of your case, an adept criminal defense attorney with a thorough understanding of these laws may be able to make a strong case in your favor.
This line of reasoning is especially relevant in cases where the defendant has been in contact with an undercover law enforcement agent who was primarily directing the unlawful exchange in question.
The Defendant was Entrapped by Law Enforcement
In a case where a law enforcement officer or government agent has posed as a minor while working undercover to entrap the defendant, the defense attorney may be able to argue that the defendant was not predisposed to the crime of soliciting unlawful sexual contact from a minor and would not have engaged in the behavior if not enticed by the officer in question.
Remember that the fact that the alleged minor was actually an undercover law enforcement officer is not enough of a defense on its own. The defendant’s predisposition to the specific crime is what will be called into question in a court of law. A judge would analyze the exchange between the officer and the defendant in detail to determine the case’s outcome.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for Legal Assistance
The crime of child enticement in Florida carries a severe penalty for anyone convicted, including over a decade of prison time and thousands of dollars in legal restitution. Therefore, anyone facing these charges would be ill-advised to walk into the courtroom without a competent defense attorney by their side. Get in touch with our expert legal team at Mike G. Law if you are being charged with child enticement. Our child enticement attorneys will listen to your case and start a discussion about your legal options through a free consultation.