Soliciting a Child For Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using A Computer, The Penalties & Defenses To Use In Okaloosa County and Walton County Courts

Florida Statute 847.0135(3)(a) defines Soliciting a Child or Person Believed By the Defendant to Be a Child, for Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using Computer Services or Devices as any adult, over the age of 18, who knowingly uses a computer online service, internet service or any electronic device capable of electronic data storage and transmission, with intent to seduce, solicit, entice, lure, or the attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child, or person believed to be a child, by the person, to commit any illegal act or to otherwise engage in an unlawful sexual act.

To prove the Defendant guilty of the offense, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt, the following three elements:

  1. Defendant knowingly used a computer on-line service, internet service or any other electronic device capable of electronic data storage and transmission to contact the victim.
  2. Victim was a child or a person believed to be a child, by the Defendant.
  3. During contact with the child, or person believed to be a child, the Defendant seduced, solicited, lured enticed or attempted to commit any illegal act or participate in any unlawful sexual act.

Penalties For A Conviction On Soliciting a Child For Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using A Computer In Okaloosa & Walton County

Soliciting a Child/Person Believed by the Defendant to Be a Child, for Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using Computer Services or Devices is a third degree felony for each solicitation made, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and $5,000.00 fine.

Legal Defenses Against The Charge Of oliciting a Child For Unlawful Sexual Conduct Using A Computer

Entrapment is generally the first defense that comes to mind when dealing with this charge.

However, experience tells us that entrapment, under Florida Law, has a more narrow application in criminal cases than most people would believe.

It is important to know and understand, that under the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act, entrapment alone generally cannot be used as a defense in most situations.

Also, it is important to know and understand that the crime does not require that an actual minor be involved, but that law enforcement officers can pose as minors, and that is sufficient to satisfy the elements of the crime. However, there are questions and issues that should be raised:

  1. How was the defendant solicited?
  2. Who made contact first?
  3. Who initiated the discussed of a sexual act?
  4. Was the age of the minor made explicitly clear?
  5. Were there provocative pictures transmitted showing the victim in a mature likeness?
  6. Can it be proven that the Defendant was actually using the electronic device in question at the time of the communication?

With all the technology available, computer sex crimes are growing. Police Task force and undercover sting operations occur regularly in Okaloosa County and are being put into action in order to solicit individuals into engaging in a sexually based conversations with a person purported to be a minor.

Law enforcement has become quite savvy in how they encourage a progression in this conversation toward a sexual nature, even if it didn’t start out that way.

This is done with the intent of getting the individual to get in their car and drive to the decoy house where they are arrested and interrogated.

If you or a loved one has been caught up in an undercover or sting for Soliciting a Child in Okaloosa County or Walton County, Florida, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call me at (850) 362-6655 for a FREE consultation.