The world is changing. The internet has made it possible to meet people around the country and even the world for romantic relationships and even one-night stands. Apps on a smartphone make it possible to find people that are located close to you. Not everyone is honest on these dating apps, sites, and chat rooms. Some may lie about their looks while others may lie about their age. While the lies about height, weight or looking like a celebrity may be disappointing, a lie about age can lead to a solicitation of a minor charge. This event can be a terrifying situation to find yourself in, but understanding the charge and how to move forward in defending yourself from it is essential at this time.
What Is Solicitation of a Minor?
Solicitation of a minor is a defendant using any method of communication to have a conversation with a minor where they ask to meet with some sexual intentions. This can be talking over the phone, meeting in person, communicating in a chat room, or direct messaging in an app. As technology changes and creates more methods of communication, the laws address these changes.
Some people believe that just asking for sexual acts is not enough to be charged as no touching or sexual behaviors happened, but for this particular charge, the unlawful act is the communication itself. Nothing else had to occur to see this charge.
What Types of Charges Can Be Brought Against Someone for This?
The key charge that can be brought against someone if a solicitation of a minor charge. Depending on the circumstances, there can be additional charges brought against you. Some potential additional charges could be child pornography if graphic pictures were exchanged, kidnapping, sexual assault of a minor, and more.
What Are the Consequences of Conviction?
The consequences of a conviction for solicitation of a minor can be harsh and long-lasting. In Rhode Island, the penalty for the felony charge of solicitation of a minor is at least five years in prison. Depending on the circumstances and any additional charges, it can be more severe.
That is very serious, but there’s also the potential of having to register as a sex offender. This action means that a conviction could impact the rest of your life. Your employers will be made aware of this fact. If you’re looking for a job, your potential employers that perform background checks will learn of your conviction. This circumstance can be especially harmful if you work in a career with minors or volunteer. If you want to attend school, it may impact your admissions process.
It can also impact personal relationships. Many people are more cautious about the people that they meet for dating, and some do background checks themselves. This circumstance could create a problem for you when it comes to dating. Some people don’t look beyond the conditions that created the conviction, such as dating someone younger in school but focuses on the sexual offender portion.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Solicitation of a minor charge is one of the gravest charges in a courtroom. The prosecution is going to do their very best to get a conviction against you because of the nature of the crime. Their job is to make sure that a message goes out that solicitation of a minor is not acceptable behavior without taking into account any of the contexts of your particular situation.
A lawyer can be instrumental in assisting you with your defense. The public court of opinion can make it feel as though there’s no defense for a charge of solicitation of a minor. The truth is really that there are plenty of gray areas. From cases where the minor’s age is not known to others where students of differing ages date and the one is older than the other. Not every situation is the same. This reason is why you deserve to have someone fighting for you.
Seeking the help of a lawyer can help you in identifying the best defense for this charge. The most commonly used is not knowing the age of the minor. There’s also the Romeo and Juliet Defense involving consensual sex between minors. Your defense lawyer can better navigate the laws and circumstances of your case to identify the best path forward for you. Seeking to find the best possible outcome that can occur in this situation for you.
What Can You Do?
It can be easy to feel as though a solicitation of a minor charge has destroyed your life, and you’ll never have a good future. You may even feel as though there’s no point in fighting for your rights. That’s not true. Contact the law office of John E. MacDonald today to discuss the circumstances surrounding your case. We can create a plan of action for the best defense for you.