When it comes to cases involving Online Solicitation charges, it is important to hire an attorney who understands the ins and outs of these types of cases. With nearly 30 years of experience in criminal defense, David Kiatta knows how to protect your rights, because he has defended many people facing Online Solicitation charges before.
According to the law, Online Solicitation occurs when an individual communicates with another person via an online device such as email or instant messaging, or social media and uses sexual language to entice them into meeting for sex (Texas Penal Code Section 33.021).
An online service is “any electronic storage device or electronic communication service or electronic communication system” used by others to communicate with persons under 18 years of age (Texas Penal Code Section 33.021). This can comprise websites, texting platforms, file-sharing applications, or even phone services like Skype, Snapchat and WhatsApp are examples.
Online Solicitation charges require proof of four elements: (1) the defendant communicated with another person; (2) via an online device; (3) with the intent to induce or entice a minor to engage in sexual conduct; and, (4) the defendant believed the other person was under 18 years of age.
Online Solicitation charges can include consequences well beyond penalties you would face for prostitution or engaging in sexual conduct for personal gain. For example, if convicted of Online Solicitation on a minor you may have to register as a sex offender, which would restrict where you can live and work and could carry lifelong consequences.
People who are registered sex offenders may also experience difficulties when trying to maintain employment. If you are convicted of Online Solicitation on a child or related charge it will be your responsibility to inform any future employers about the nature of your conviction in order to help them make an informed decision.
However, it is important to note that just because you are accused of Online Solicitation of a child does not mean that you will automatically be added to the Texas Sex Offender Registry. Registration is only required if you are convicted of Online Solicitation.
Online Solicitation charges may also result in fines of up to $10,000 and possible imprisonment for up to 20 years. If convicted it is likely that an individual will spend at least some time incarcerated. However, it is important to note that there are “types” of incarceration that carry different weights in terms of the sentence they carry (i.e.: violent offenders will likely spend less time in jail than someone convicted of a nonviolent crime).
You may also find yourself paying hefty fees and court costs if you are found guilty of Online Solicitation charges, which can total thousands of dollars.
A conviction of Online Solicitation on a minor will also reflect poorly on your background and could impact future employers. Companies do not like hiring individuals with criminal records, regardless of the nature of the crime. Research has even found that certain types of convictions – including those for sex crimes – can greatly reduce the chances of getting hired (and even when the individual is given an opportunity, employers are less likely to promote them).
People with convictions on their record may find that they need to work harder in order to find employment and face barriers in terms of gaining meaningful employment. Without steady employment, it can be difficult for defendants to pay any fines or court fees they owe, which may lead to it becoming even more difficult for them to get out of the cycle.
If you are charged with Online Solicitation on a minor or related offense at least speak with an attorney about your situation before accepting any sort of plea bargain. This could be beneficial if you want to avoid having a criminal record, don’t want the possibility of having to register as a sex offender, or want to avoid having to spend time in jail.
If you are facing Online Solicitation charges it may be beneficial for you to reach out to an attorney who is familiar with these types of cases and can help build a solid defense. They will know what evidence prosecutors need and can craft a strategy that helps you obtain the best possible outcome.
David Kiatta helped many people accused of Online Solicitation charges. If you need to speak with an attorney immediately, call us at 281-570-6400 or contact us online today for a free consultation.
Segura & Kiatta, Criminal Defense
345 Commerce Green Blvd
Sugar Land, Texas 77478