Solicitation of a minor is defined as any form of a defendant inquiring or engaging in conversation with a minor, which includes the defendant asking (or soliciting) to meet the minor with the intention of any type of sexual engagement. Under both state and federal law, it is a crime for an adult to solicit a minor to engage in any sexual act.
In Rhode Island, the typical adult defendant is arrested as part of a State Police or Homeland Security sting operation wherein police play the role of a 14 or 15-year-old online.
Police will actively search adult websites for users and even post their own ads offering sex. After initial introductions, police advise the adult user of their underage status and ask if it is okay. Once aware of the minor’s age, even though the minor is not real, police are halfway to making the arrest. Next comes the solicitation part where police will ask “what do you want to do.”
Once the adult user mentions some form of sexual activity, a meeting is arranged, and the adult is arrested. Even if the adult does not show for the meeting, police can pursue an attempt charge which carries the same penalty.
Solicitation of a Minor charge dismissed. Client was caught up in a statewide sting operation. A close review of the dialogue indicated that client did not actually solicit sex but instead went along with the undercover agents’ suggestions. Case was dismissed and expunged from client’s criminal history.
Solicitation of Minor charge amended to a non-sex offense. Client was arrested by undercover police agents posing as a minor online. After a thorough investigation, including the submission of mitigation materials demonstrating client’s cognitive limitations, the charge was amended to a non-sex offense for a probation sentence. Client is now not required to register as a sex offender.
Common Defenses for Solicitation of a Minor
The two key defenses for solicitation of minor cases are knowledge and intent. Did the defendant have knowledge of the minor’s age? In addition, did the defendant solicit a sexual act or did the police do the solicitation?
Romeo & Juliet Defense
In Rhode Island, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between two minors who are 14, 15, 16, or 17. But a minor younger than 14 may not consent to having sex, even with someone close to that minor’s age.
Penalties for Solicitation of a Minor
Under Rhode Island state law, solicitation of a
minor is a five-year felony and carries with it the requirements of sex
offender registration and community notification. Under federal law, solicitation of a minor is
a 10-year mandatory prison sentence along with the requirements of sex
offender registration and community notification at the state level.
What to do if investigated, charged or arrested for solicitation of a minor in Rhode Island
If you are being investigated, charged or arrested for solicitation of a minor in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut, please contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc. at 401.421.1440 now for a free consultation.
What are the consequences of Rhode Island solicitation charges?
The consequences of Rhode Island solicitation charges go far beyond your sentence—having this kind of crime on your record will haunt you for years to come.
Under Rhode Island state law, you’ll face up to 5 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender for the length of your sentence plus 10 additional years. In addition, your schools and neighbors may be notified as to your sex offender status.
And that’s just at the state level. Under federal law, you are subject to a mandatory minimum up to 10-year prison sentence along with the state requirements of registration and community notification.
If you’re thinking the consequences for solicitation charges seem especially strict, you’re right. The legal system doesn’t take kindly to these types of crimes. The prosecution will do their absolute best to ensure you wind up in prison, or at least with a tarnished reputation.
That tarnished reputation can easily stop you from beginning a new career, or even finding a home to rent. The fees and fines make it even more difficult to get your life back on track.
Worst of all, a law was recently passed in RI which limits how many beds homeless shelters can reserve for sex offenders. Once a shelter reaches their limit for the night, you’ll be turned away—even if they have plenty of beds available for people with clean criminal records.
As you can see, the consequences of RI solicitation charges will make your daily routine incredibly challenging.
What is an example of a solicitation crime?
Examples of a solicitation crime in Rhode Island include:
Arranging to meet with a minor for sexual or lewd purposes
Arranging to meet with someone you think is a minor but actually is in law enforcement
Sending vulgar or lewd messages (text messages, emails, etc.) to a minor with the intent of committing a sex offense
It’s also worth mentioning that grooming or seeking a minor for sexual activities is prohibited. Essentially all types of sexual contact between an adult and a minor are illegal.
What to do if charged with indecent solicitation of a minor in Rhode Island?
If you’re charged with indecent solicitation of a minor in Rhode Island, the first thing you should do is hire an experienced RI criminal defense lawyer. Navigating the justice system on your own is always a daunting task, but it’s even harder when your charges relate to soliciting a minor.
Every aspect of your future is at stake here. Your career, reputation, and even housing could drastically shift for the worse if you’re convicted. That’s why acting fast is so crucial.
The sooner you contact a criminal defense attorney, the sooner you can start protecting your best interests. With a skilled lawyer by your side, you’ll get expert help every step of the way—from the moment of your arrest to advocating aggressively on your behalf at trial.
If you are being investigated, charged, or arrested for solicitation of a minor in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut, please contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc. at 401.421.1440 now for a free consultation.
Rhode Island Solicitation of a Minor Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald
Rhode Island Criminal Defense the Law Office Of John E. MacDonald, Inc. is open 24 Hours to take care of your solicitation of a minor case. Don’t leave your future to chance, contact Rhode Island Solicitation of a Minor Lawyer John E. MacDonald.
Rhode Island Solicitation of a Minor Defense Attorney Office
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Also, the Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.