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In today’s fast-paced, always-on, digital world, finding romance is often as easy as creating an online dating profile and interacting with others in cyberspace. Unfortunately, the people that you meet in the digital realm are not always who they appear to be. It is oftentimes the case that minors attempt to “hook up” with people online by presenting themselves to be of legal age to date who they want. And when that happens, the stage is set for the unsuspecting romance seeker to find himself charged with solicitation of a minor for lewd purposes, a serious offense in the state of California, punishable by up to three years of prison time and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you’ve been charged with solicitation of a minor, you’re likely terrified, confused, embarrassed and furious. Your first step following your arrest should be to our Los Angeles sex crimes defense attorney to begin strategizing your defense against these shocking charges.
The charge of contacting a minor with intent to engage in sexual behavior is levied when a person arranges to meet a person that he believes is a minor with the intention of engaging in lascivious behavior. The communication between the accused and the minor can occur in person or via email, text, instant messaging or on social media outlets like Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook. This charge just involves arranging to meet. Communicating with the minor and asking for a sexual act with the minor is the unlawful act. Even if you do not follow through and never meet the minor, you can still be charged. A second charge occurs when the accused follows through with meeting the minor by going to an arranged place at a specified time.
The nature of this crime leads prosecutors to act very aggressively to get a conviction, which is why anyone accused of this serious offense needs adequate representation. While the court of opinion may deem that there’s no excuse for the circumstances leading up to the charge, the truth is that the minor may have lied about her age or appeared to look much older than she is. In other cases, this charge is brought against students who are close in age but one is technically a minor and the other is just slightly older. Each case is unique, so it is important to have your case reviewed in detail by an expert legal team.
The ramifications of a conviction for solicitation of a minor are quite significant, including a lifetime sex offender registry requirement in addition to jail time and fines. If you have been accused of soliciting a minor, Okabe & Haushalter wants to help. Our Los Angeles sex crimes defense attorney can formulate a defense strategy based on the fact in your case, so you get the chance to present your side of the story in its best light. Contact us at 310-430-7799 to arrange a confidential case consultation with our team today.