Traveling To Meet-A-Minor
FLORIDA TRAVELING TO MEET-A-MINOR DEFENSES LAWYERS
Your Best Defense Against Traveling to Meet-A-Minor Charges in Orlando.
Since NBC aired To Catch a Predator, the pressure on law enforcement to crack down on the crime of traveling to meet a minor has significantly increased. As a result of this pressure, police have increased their undercover "sting" operations to catch suspects trying to engage in sexual acts with minors.
Police Posing as a Minor or Parent of a Minor
The police typically post something on Craigslist or in a chat room or other website to initiate contact. They utilize several methods to lure people over the internet. One method is posing as a minor willing to have sex with the adult. However, the current trend seems to be that police are posing as a mother or guardian of a minor, suggesting that the suspect have sex with their child (i.e., asking the suspect to teach the daughter how to have sex). After initial contact is made, communication is often continued over the internet or text until the suspect travels to meet for the purpose of having sex with the person they believe is a minor.
If you are charged with traveling to meet a minor, you should not give a statement to the police. Giving a statement may take away potential defenses to your case. Furthermore, the police keep records of all email and texts involved in the sting. They may also take your phone and/or computer to examine your hard drive. With these records, they may be able to contradict any statement you make thereby destroying your credibility in court.
Traveling to Meet a Minor Defined
Traveling to meet a minor (anyone under the age of 18 years) is defined as any person who travels any distance either within this state, to this state, or from this state by any means, who attempts to do so, or who causes another to do so or to attempt to do so for the purpose of engaging in any legal act described in chapter 794 (sexual battery), chapter 800 (lewd or lascivious), or chapter 827 (abuse of children), or to otherwise engage in other unlawful conduct with a child or with another person believed by the person to be a child after using a computer online service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or any other device capable of electronic data storage or transmission to:
A. Seduce, solicit, lure, or entice or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child or another person believed by the person to be a child, to engage in any illegal act described in chapter 794 (sexual battery), chapter 800 (lewd or lascivious), or chapter 827 (abuse of children), or to otherwise engage in other unlawful conduct with a child; or
B. Solicit, lure, or entice or attempt to solicit, lure, or entice a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a child or a person believed to be a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a child to consent to the participation of such child in any act described in chapter 794 (sexual battery), chapter 800 (lewd or lascivious), or chapter 827 (abuse of children), or to otherwise engage in other unlawful conduct.
Entrapment Defense for Traveling to Meet a MinorThe most common defense to the charge of traveling to meet a minor is entrapment. Law enforcement is not allowed to create a criminal. They are not permitted to take someone with no predisposition to commit a crime and convince them to otherwise do so.
In considering whether entrapment applies to the internet stings, among other factors, we will look into:
- Whether law enforcement continuously contacted the suspect with the intention of trying to convince the suspect to engage in criminal activity.
- The length of the relationship between the undercover agent and the suspect
- Whether there is evidence of any reluctance to commit the crime
While entrapment may occasionally apply when the law enforcement poses as a minor, it is more likely to apply when law enforcement poses as a parent of a minor. Often a suspect is only pursuing the person they believe is the mother of the child and they are not actually interested in the child at all. However the "mother" or "guardian" will suggest that she will only have sex with the suspect if the suspect also has sex with the child. If the suspect had no intent to have any contact with the child but only after being coerced by law enforcement to do so actually agrees to the contact, the defense of entrapment may apply.
Harsh Punishments for Traveling to Meet a Minor
The punishment for this crime can be severe. Traveling to meet a minor is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years of prison and a $10,000.00 fine. Unless there is mitigation or a lawful reason for a downward departure (lesser sentence), the statutory minimum sentence for this crime is 21 months prison. In addition to any sentence, a person convicted of this offense will be required to register as a sex offender and potentially be subjected to involuntarily civil commitment.
Free Case Evalulation
If you are charged with traveling to meet a minor, contact us as soon as possible. We will thoroughly examine the state's evidence and explore possible defenses and mitigation. To schedule your free case evaluation with an attorney at the Bigney Law Firm, call 407-792-2923. Our office is located in downtown Orlando, one block behind the Orange County Courthouse. Se habla Espanol.