Being accused of soliciting a minor online can shocking; especially given the stigma that sex crimes carry in our society. It may seem like you have to prove yourself innocent beyond a reasonable doubt in instead of the state proving its burden to that standard.
Regardless of what you might believe, you have a constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This means that the prosecution must every element of the crime you are charged with before you may be convicted.
This post will highlight a few of the questions that must be answered in online solicitation cases.
Did you actually solicit the minor – Charges may be filed based on your IP address indicating that your tablet or computer was used in the conversation with the minor, but the prosecution must prove that you were actually the person who lured, enticed or encouraged the minor to meet and perform a sexual act.
How did you know the person was a minor? – It is critical for the prosecution to show that you knew the person on the other side was a minor. The statements and representations have to be clear. If pictures were shown or the person told you specifically that she was underage, this is one thing. However, suggestions and innuendos may not be sufficient.
How was a meeting requested? – Yes, no actual meeting must take place before a person may be charged with online solicitation, but there must be an affirmative request for such a meeting. If the conversation did not have one, there may be a defense available.
If you are charged with online solicitation of a minor, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon you can.
The preceding is not legal advice.