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Solicitation of a Minor Federal Laws – 18 USC 2422 and 2423

California and federal lawmakers have gotten tough on online sexual predators. If you engage in solicitation of a minor in another state to engage in unlawful sexual activity, you need to be aware that you can be prosecuted by the United States government, as well as by the state of California. If you are convicted of this very serious crime, you face decades in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

You don’t have to actually have sex with a minor, and the person you contact doesn’t have to be a minor. It’s enough to convict you of solicitation of a minor if you believed the victim was a minor and you attempted to arrange for a meeting with the vitcim in another state.

Prosecution for solicitation of a minor under federal law

Pursuant to 18 USC 24221 and 2423, you can be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney General’s office if you do any of the following:

  • Knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to travel between states or internationally to engage in prostitution or in any unlawful sexual activity, or to attempt to do so;
  • Use the mail or any facility (including the internet) or means of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in any unlawful sexual activity, or to attempt to do so.
  • Knowingly transport a minor between states or internationally with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity; or
  • Travel between states or internationally for the purpose of engaging in any unlawful sexual conduct with a minor;

 

Defenses to a federal charge of engaging in unlawful sexual activity

Solicitation of a minor
Soliciting a minor via internet is a federal crime.

Some of the defenses your federal defense attorney can argue include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Entrapment: You would not have committed the solicitation of a minor if it weren’t for harassment or coercion by law enforcement agents. This means you were coaxed into committing a crime you otherwise would not have committed.
  • False Accusation: You were accused of committing a crime you did not actually commit. For example, the police or the parents of the minor may have pressured the minor into making a false allegation. Someone else may have been using your computer, email, screen name or IP address in order to avoid being caught.
  • Good Faith Belief of Age: To use this defense, you bear the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that you reasonably believed the other person was at least 18 years old. However, if your crime involved prostitution, this defense will not help you.

 

Punishment and sentencing for soliciting a minor for lewd purposes

Federal sentencing guidelines under 18 USC 2422 and 2423 are severe. If you are convicted of using the mail, internet, or other form of interstate or international communication to solicit or attempt solicitation of a minor with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity, or you are successful in transporting the child for this illegal purpose, you can be sentenced to serve a minimum of 10 years to life in a federal prison.

If you travel to another state, come to the United States or travel internationally and engage “illicit sexual activity” with a minor, you face up to 30 years in prison. Illicit sexual activity is specifically defined under federal law as a sexual act with a person under the age of 18 (18 USC 2423(f)2.).

The crime of “sex trafficking” of children is included in this definition and carries a minimum of 10 years to life in prison if the minor is under 18 years old and 15 years to life if the child is under 14 years old (18 USC 1591(b)3.). A child sex trafficking charge does not require that the government prove you knew that the person being trafficked was under 18 years old.

When you are released from prison, you will be required to register as a sex offender with the local law enforcement agency in the city or county of the state in which you are paroled. Additionally, you may have to register as a sex offender with the federal government for the rest of your life.

Why Hire Wallin and Klarich?

Solicitation of a minor
Federal Lawyers of Wallin and Klarich

If you or a loved one is being charged with a federal sex crime in California, such as the solicitation of a minor across state lines for illicit sexual activity; it is critical that you contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully representing our clients in state and federal court facing serious sex offense charges.

With offices in Los AngelesOrange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, Our aggressive sex crimes defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been able to help hundreds of our clients successfully defend against these potentially life-altering charges. We will employ every available strategy to help you win your case.

If you have been charged with solicitation of a minor, call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.


All of the information provided above was retrieved from the following sources: 

1. 18 USC 2422 – http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2422
2. 18 USC 2423 – http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2423
3. 18 USC 1591 – http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1591

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