In California, Penal Code sec. 288.4 governs solicitation of a minor. Solicitation of a minor in Orange County occurs when you engage in a conversation with anyone under the age of 18 and during the exchange, you ask the minor to meet for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act.1
With the growth of the Internet, online solicitation has become more prevalent, and online solicitation laws have expanded. Adults can now search social networking sites such as Facebook, message boards, and chat rooms to find minors with the intention of luring them to have sex.
Laws now include conversations through any electronic means such as text messages and emails.2 The Internet is still a fairly new concept and it is still a complex challenge for law enforcement, legislators and the community. As we are changing the way we communicate and live, the law is changing as well.
What are the Consequences for Soliciting a Minor?
In Orange County, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. It must be proved that you:
- Organized a meeting with a minor,
- Intended to expose his/her genital or anal area to the child, or made the child do so, and
- Did so to gratify or arouse the sexual desires of yourself or the child.3
A misdemeanor is filed if you have no prior sexual convictions. If you are convicted for a misdemeanor, you will be imprisoned for up to one year in Orange County Jail, fined up to $5,000, receive informal probation, and you will be required to register as a sex offender. If you are convicted of a felony, you will be imprisoned for up to one year in Orange County Jail or 16 months, two, or three years in the California State Prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, receive formal probation, and you will be required to register as a sex offender.4
In an effort to catch offenders, law enforcement agencies have set up operations to try to find people who commit this crime.5 Many times, police will pose as potential victims and exchange correspondence in order to catch online predators. Because police are so aggressive about apprehending offenders, they may overstep a boundary or may violate your rights. It is important to find an attorney who understands how to build a compelling defense on your behalf.
What Do I Do if I am Charged with Solicitation of a Minor in Orange County?
Soliciting a minor is a very serious offense. Even a mere accusation of this type of sex crime could damage your reputation and impact not only your life, but your family’s as well. However, there are other defenses that can lessen or even eliminate your charge.
If you have been charged for solicitation of a minor in Orange County, it is important that you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you avoid the harsh consequences. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience in helping protect their clients’ rights.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, Temecula, Hemet, West Covina, and San Diego, we will get through this together.
1. [Solicitation of a Minor Charge: Punishment, Penalties, Defenses.” Free Advice. <http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/violent_crimes/solicitation-of-a-minor.htm>.]↩
5. [“Los Angeles Internet Sex Crime Attorney.” Los Angeles Premier Criminal Defense Team. <https://www.wksexcrimes.com/>.]↩