With the extensive and increased use of computers, the internet, and smartphones to communicate with one another and perform daily tasks, states across the country have enacted new legislation to target individuals who use the internet, chat rooms and other modes of communication to solicit and entice children into sexual relations. In an effort to keep children safe, law enforcement departments have created task forces across the state to set up, arrest and prosecute individuals involved in committing criminal offense against children.
The Tampa sex crimes attorneys at Taracks & Associates has represented many defendants arrested and charged as a result of getting caught up in undercover sting operations here in the Tampa Bay area. The below listed charges are not only humiliating, but can have an everlasting impact on one's family and employment opportunities. Due to the serious consequences of being charged with such an offense, it is imperative to retain a criminal defense law firm that has extensive experience and knowledge to protect your rights and future.
Traveling to meet a minor occurs when an individual knowingly and intentionally travels for the purpose of committing or engaging in any illegal act set forth in the sexual battery, lewd and lascivious or child abuse statutes or other unlawful sexual conduct after contacting a child via a computer on-line service, the internet, on-line bulletin board or other device capable of transmission. The defendant must have contacted a child or a person he or she believed to be a child with the intent to lure, seduce or entice the victim to engage in any illegal sexual act or other unlawful sexual conduct.
Many times these investigations are conducted with a detective posing as an underage child and engaging in online communications with the suspect. The fact that there is not an actual child involved does not constitute a defense to this charge. A defendant charged with traveling to meet a minor faces a 2nd degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Judges and law enforcement here in the Tampa Bay area take these types of cases very seriously. Even if someone accused of this offense has no prior criminal record, there is a very serious likelihood that they will face substantial prison time. Hiring an experienced attorney to defend you against these charges is crucial.
Transmission of pornography to a minor requires an individual to transmit obscene material to a minor. Under the law a minor does not have to actual view the pornography. Transmitting is the act of sending and causing to be delivered images or information via the internet or any other medium that used electronic equipment or devices. This offense is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Solicitation of a minor occurs when a defendant knowingly used a computer on-line service, internet service, local bulletin board service or other electronic storage or transmission service to contact a child with the intent to commit an illegal act as set forth in the sexual battery, lewd or lascivious, or child abuse statutes. The individual must have contacted or child or a person believed to be a child and seduced, solicited, lured or enticed someone under the age of 18 to commit a sexual act. As is the case with the traveling to meet a minor charge, law enforcement can pose as minors without damaging their case. It should be noted that law enforcement may sometimes set up a meeting with a minor in an effort to avoid an entrapment defense. A defendant charged with this offense faces a third degree felony and even a second degree felony if the accused misrepresented his or her age.
It is crucial that you procure the representation of a skilled Tampa criminal defense lawyer from our firm if you are being investigated for a sex crime against a child. A conviction could mean permanent status as a sex offender on the sex offender registry among other serious penalties. To learn more, contact our firm today!