What is Online Solicitation of a Minor?
Online Solicitation of a minor in the Va Code 18.2-374.1:1 falls under “Use of Communications Systems to Facilitate Certain Offenses Involving Children.”
This code makes it illegal to carry out a sex crime involving a minor using any communication system, including the internet and smartphones. It carries severe penalties and involves adults intentionally intending to engage in sex with a juvenile they contacted online, regardless of whether they did or not. A lot of people get indicted for this crime without even partaking in any sexual activity because the basis of this misdemeanor is the “intent” to engage in sex. People even get ousted and charged for inappropriately communicating with detectives pretending to be children.
The behaviors that are prohibited under the Va Code 18.2-374.1:1 are:
- Exposing genitalia to the child or asking the child to do so
- Proposing to the child that they should fondle or feel the adult’s genitalia and/or their own sexual parts
- Suggesting the intent to engage in intercourse, oral sex or any other sexual activity with the child
- Inviting or luring the child to a meeting in order to carry out the activity.
Consequences of an Online Solicitation of a Minor Conviction.
The legislators of Virginia are known be the strictest when it comes to sex crimes involving children. An online solicitation of a minor conviction can lead to massive jail time and an addition of your name to the sex offender registry of Virginia. Having a defense lawyer by your side is extremely necessary to avoid a harsh penalty. The law makes it illegal for anyone regardless of age, to use the internet to solicit a minor for sexual purposes but a key factor that contributes to the outcome of every case is the age of both the defendant and the juvenile.
- If the offense involves a minor older than 15 years old and the offender is less than seven years older than the juvenile, the crime is a Class 6 misdemeanor and results in up to 5 years of prison and/or a fine of $2500. However, if the offender is more than seven years older than the minor, then it is considered a Class 5 felony and the culprit would have to face up to 10 years in prison and/or a $2500 fine. In case of a subsequent offense, the culprit can be given up to 20 years as prison sentence with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year
- If the offense involves minor younger than 15 and the offender us is less than seven years older than the juvenile, the crime is a Class 5 misdemeanor. However, if the offender is more than seven years older than the juvenile, he can face up to thirty years in prison with five years of minimum mandatory sentence. A subsequent offense can lead to a sentence of up to 40 years in prison out of which ten are mandatory.
- If the offense involves an adult trying to solicit a minor to partake in child pornography, it is considered a Class 5 misdemeanor.
If you are falsely accused of participating in online solicitation of a minor, consulting an attorney is important. They can help persuade the prosecution that either it did not occur or that you had good reason to believe that you were contacting a person who isn’t a minor and thus an intentional violation did not occur.