Have You Been Accused of Online Solicitation of a Minor in Manassas, VA?
Do you or someone you know need a lawyer to defend you against “Use of Communications System,” or “online solicitation of a minor” charges? Want to know more about solicitation of a minor charges in Virginia?
Continue reading for more information…
What Is Online Solicitation of A Minor?
In Virginia, the online solicitation of a minor falls under a state legal code called “Use of Communications Systems to Facilitate Certain Offenses Involving Children.”
The code makes it illegal to use a communications system including the internet, cell phones, or other electronic means to attempt to engage in certain kinds of sexual activity with a minor. The specific activities that are prohibited under this code section are using a communication system for the purposes of soliciting, with lascivious intent, a minor to knowingly and intentionally do any of the following:
- The adult exposing their sexual parts to the child or suggesting that the child expose themselves to the adult.
- The adult proposing that the child feel or fondle the adult’s sexual parts, his own sexual parts or that the adult fondle the child.
- The adult proposing that the child have sex, including intercourse or oral sex.
- The adult inviting or luring the child to go somewhere for the purposes of engaging in one of these acts.
What Are The Penalties for Online Solicitation of A Minor?
The charges vary depending on both the age of the minor and the alleged offender. However, the code makes it illegal for any person, regardless of age, to use a communications system to solicit a minor for these sexual purposes.
If the minor is at least fifteen years old but less than eighteen years old and the alleged offender is not more than seven years older than the victim, the crime is a class 6 felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison or up to twelve months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. However, if the alleged offender is at least seven or more years older than the minor, the crime is a class 5 felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison or up to twelve months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. A second offense where the offender is seven or more years older than the victim is punished by one to twenty years in prison, one year of which is a mandatory minimum sentence which must be served in its entirety.
The second category of these offenses involve those where the minor is less than fifteen years old. If the minor is less than fifteen years old and the alleged adult offender is not more than seven years older than the victim, the crime is a class 5 felony. If the minor is less than fifteen years old and the alleged adult offender is at least seven or more years older than the victim, the crime is punishable by five to thirty years in prison, five years of which are a mandatory minimum sentence which must be served in its entirety. A second offense where the minor is less than fifteen years old and the alleged adult offender is at least seven years older than the minor is punishable by ten to forty years in prison, ten years of which are mandatory and must be served in its entirety.
In addition, online solicitation encompasses cases when an adult uses the internet or other communications system to solicit someone they have reason to believe is younger than 18 to participate in child pornography in any way. Those offenses are considered a Class 5 felony.
A key issue that the prosecution must be able to prove in online solicitation is that the defendant had good reason to believe that the person they were contacting online was under the age specified for the violation to have occurred.
How To Protect Yourself In A Solicitation Case?
Don’t let false allegations of soliciting a minor in Virginia lead to a conviction and disruption in your life. Instead, contact our Manassas law office, and let our knowledgeable criminal lawyers user their skills and years of experience to defend you.
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