Under Florida Statute 847.0135, traveling to meet a minor to engage in sexual activity is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. While the statute is known as the “Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act,” it also covers the communication of a sexual nature between an adult and a minor.
Many people may think that their online communication is private, however, the fact is that law enforcement is committed to putting more and more money into sting operations to catch individuals they think may be preying on children. For them, it’s a win-win proposition. Unfortunately, while these efforts may seem beneficial, they can also lead to entrapment of adults. Too often, individuals are lured into sting operations by law enforcement and then charged with crimes of a sexual nature that can ruin their lives. Traveling to meet a minor is no exception.
In order for a prosecutor to prove this charge, he or she will have to convince a jury that the defendant knowingly made plans to engage in sexual acts with someone they believed to be minor. The law is defined as follows:
Any person who travels any distance either within this state, to this state, or from this state by any means, who attempts to do so, or who causes another to do so or to attempt to do so for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act described in chapter 794, chapter 800, or chapter 827, or to otherwise engage in other unlawful sexual conduct with a child or with another person believed by the person to be a child after using a computer online service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or any other device capable of electronic data storage or transmission to:
(a) Seduce, solicit, lure, or entice or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child or another person believed by the person to be a child, to engage in any illegal act described in chapter 794, chapter 800, or chapter 827, or to otherwise engage in other unlawful sexual conduct with a child; or
(b) Solicit, lure, or entice or attempt to solicit, lure, or entice a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a child or a person believed to be a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a child to consent to the participation of such child in any act described in chapter 794, chapter 800, or chapter 827, or to otherwise engage in any sexual conduct,
What if I Didn’t Know They Were a Minor?
This is one of the most common questions asked about traveling to meet a minor charges. It can be used as a defense when appropriate, however, it can sometimes be difficult to prove, especially when a defendant has been the victim of a sting operation.
Fighting a Traveling to Meet a Minor Charge
In order to fight such a charge, your Tampa defense attorney should be skilled in defending against sex crimes. Because these presumed crimes are often sensationalized, it’s crucial that your defense attorney has the experience and knowledge to deal with the circus that can surround such charges.
As a former sex-crimes prosecutor, Mike G Law has seen first hand the effect that such charges can have on a defendant, and he does his best to protect his clients from the various ramifications. This includes being demonized in the press and by the police, intimidation tactics, and more.
Often, a defendant faces multiple traveling charges, one for each instance of communication discussing sexual acts, even if he only attempted to travel once. This can feel overwhelming to a defendant, however, a skilled Tampa sex crimes lawyer can help you deal with it.
The best defense for your case will depend on the specifics. However, two commonly used defenses are as follows.
Lack of Seduction, Solicitation, Luring, or Enticement
Part of the statute for Traveling to Meet a Minor details that in order to be guilty of this charge, an individual must be shown to have seduced, solicited, lured, or enticed a minor child or their guardian/parent or to have attempted to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice them. If your defense lawyer can illustrate that this qualification was not met, you may be eligible for reduced charges, be able to negotiate a plea deal or have your charges dropped.
As previously mentioned, law enforcement is using tech to their advantage to attempt to catch individuals they think are child predators. Some of these officers have crossed the lines from just catching individuals to enticing individuals—and that’s a huge problem.
An entrapment defense is useful when your Tampa sex crimes attorney can show that you were induced by law enforcement to commit a crime that you otherwise wouldn’t had it not been for their encouragement. This can often be shown by detailing who initiated the conversations, the persistence of law enforcement, and any reluctance displayed by the defendant in the conversations.
In addition, depending on the facts of your case, we can challenge the ownership of the communication devices used (phones, computers, etc.) or attempt to show that you never intended to follow through with any of the communicated ideas.
Ultimately, the best way to see how you can fight traveling to meet a minor charges is to consult with a skilled Tampa sex crimes lawyer.
Consult with a Tampa Sex Crimes Attorney Now!
Don’t let overzealous law enforcement take away your rights. If you’ve been charged with a crime of a sexual nature—especially one against children—it’s crucial that you hire a skilled Tampa sex crimes attorney right away. Every second you delay could jeopardize your case.
At Mike G Law, we believe everyone is entitled to the best defense possible. That’s why we give all of our clients 100%. Protect your rights and fight for your future with a lawyer that has your back. Call Mike G Law today.