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Solicitation of a Child

Florida legislators have established strong legal protections for children if they are solicited for a sexual act. The penalties for solicitation of a child can include expensive fines you must pay out-of-pocket, required registration as a sex offender and even time in prison. The court will still convict you even if you never followed through with the crime or the act between you and the alleged victim was consensual.

It’s important to remember that stating you didn’t know the age of the child isn’t an admissible defense in the state of Florida. That means you will still face charges even if the child lied about their age to coerce you into soliciting them for sex. In many cases, the defendant in a solicitation of a child case was persuaded into soliciting the child through an online sting operation. Officers will go on internet forums and personate themselves as a child to search for sexual predators. Many offenders claim they would have never even attempted to solicit the victim if they hadn’t been lured into it by law enforcement.

If you or someone you know has been accused of soliciting a child for sex, then it’s imperative you seek experienced legal representation.

Sex Crimes Attorney for Solicitation of a Child in Broward County, FL

Have you been accused of bribing a child or soliciting them into a sexual act? If so, then we highly encourage you to contact Meltzer & Bell. Our experienced sex crimes attorneys have both prosecution and defense experience we can utilize for your case. This combined experience uniquely positions our firm to understand what the prosecution may do next.

Let the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell guide you through the Florida judiciary system. Call us at (954) 765-6585 to set up your first consultation free of charge. Meltzer & Bell has clients throughout the greater Broward County area including Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Davie, Coral Springs and Fort Lauderdale.

Overview of Solicitation of a Child in FL

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What Does Florida Consider to be Solicitation of a Child?

Soliciting a child for a sexual act is unlawful in the state of Florida that can lead to serious penalties. Florida law defines two types of solicitation of a child a person can be charged with. One type is lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child which can be found under Florida Statutes Section 800.04(6)(a)2. A person is considered guilty of lewd and lascivious conduct if they engage in sexual acts with a person under the age of 16.

Another form of solicitation of a child a person can be charged with involves the use of an electronic device. Soliciting a child online for sexual acts is a crime outlined under Florida Statutes Section 847.0135(3)(a). The statute establishes that soliciting a person under the age of 18 into a sexual activity by using a computer or electronic device is illegal. It’s common in these cases to see officers posing as minors to arrest would-be offenders. You can be charged with online solicitation of a minor even if you were unaware of the child’s age.

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Penalties for Soliciting a Child in Florida

Solicitation of a child without the use of an electronic device or the internet is a third-degree felony. The maximum penalties for a second-degree felony include up to 15 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000. If you were under the age of 18 during the commission of the offense, then the penalties will be reduced to a third-degree felony. The consequences for a third-degree felony include up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000

When the solicitation occurs over the internet the crime is charged as a third-degree felony, which will lead to a 5-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000. Deceiving a child about your age on the internet will increase your penalties to a second-degree felony. The maximum penalties for a second-degree felony is a 15-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Am I Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Florida?

Florida’s sex offender registry incorporates two types of registrant which as sexual offender and sexual predators. Although many get the two terms confused, they yield different meanings. A person is a sex offender if they were convicted of any sexual offense. However, a sexual predator is a label for people who have several sex crime convictions on their record, who have been convicted of specific sex crimes or if their offense involved a child.

If you have been convicted of solicitation of a child, then you will be required to register as a sexual predator. If you are under the age of 18, then you may only be required to register as a sex offender.  Sexual offenders must provide updated information to the sheriff’s office twice a year. Florida, however, requires sexual predators to register their information four times a year with law enforcement.

Being a convicted sexual predator can have a detrimental effect on your ability to find a job or housing after you finish your sentence. You won’t be able to purchase or own a gun as well. Additionally, even though Florida restored voting rights to felons in 2019, you will still be unable to vote because you were convicted of a sexually violent offense.

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Additional Resources

The Center for Sex Offender Management – The Center for Sex Offender Management is a nonprofit organization intent on improving how society manages its sex offenders. CSOM believes proper management of sex offenders can improve public safety. Visit this website to view materials describing various methods used to reintegrate offenders into society.

Frequently Asked Questions | FDLE – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement oversees Florida’s sex offenders. The FDLE has published a list of the most frequently asked questions about sex offenders and the registration process on its official website. Here you will learn what a sexual predator is, who must register as a sex offender, and what information sex offenders must provide to the FDLE.

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Fort Lauderdale Lawyer for Solicitation of a Child in FL

With such high penalties, it’s crucial you seek the help of an attorney when facing charges for solicitation of a child. Protect yourself with experienced and skilled legal representation with Meltzer & Bell. Our attorneys will do whatever we can to fight your charges and protect your future.

Call (561) 557-8686 or complete our short online form for a free initial consultation. Don’t risk prison time, fines, and sex offender registration. Let Meltzer & Bell, P.A. help. We represent clients in Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Coral Springs, and Hollywood.

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