A man in Pennsylvania was recently charged with online solicitation of a minor. The man is 24 and in December of 2020, he asked a 16-year-old girl for sexually explicit photos during an interaction on a social media website. He has been charged with online solicitation of a minor and he is being held in jail.
It is important to note that online solicitation of a minor can be charged as either a state or federal offense. Any criminal activity that occurs online is often charged as a federal defense, but there are state laws that largely reflect the federal law. Below, our Allentown criminal defense lawyer outlines what state law says about online solicitation of a minor, and the defenses available.
Online Solicitation of a Minor in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to solicit a minor to take part in activities that are considered unsuitable for minors under the law. Any time an adult goes online and seeks out minors, or urges them to take part in sexual activities, it is considered a very serious offense. Individuals convicted will face fines, long jail sentences, and they have to register as a sex offender, which greatly limits a person’s freedoms for years to come.
Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor in Pennsylvania
The penalties a person will face for online solicitation of a minor will depend on the circumstances of any case. If a person that is in contact with a minor online, but does not actually meet the minor and does not carry out any other criminal offenses, then the charges will likely be a felony of the third degree. Even this classification of offense has very serious penalties that include up to seven years in prison and a maximum $15,000 fine.
Individuals that do meet with minors and engage in rape, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, or any other criminal offense will face a separate charge for every act. This will increase the penalties a person face exponentially.
Defenses to Online Solicitation of a Minor
Being charged with online solicitation of a minor may seem hopeless, but it is not. There are many defenses available, and they are as follows:
- The contact took place on your computer, but someone else was using it at the time
- You were not aware of the minor’s age, such as if they told you they were older than they are
- A law enforcement officer entrapped you and pressured you to take action you would not have otherwise
An Allentown criminal defense lawyer will review the facts of your case and determine which defense strategy is most suitable.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Allentown Today
If you have been charged with a crime involving a minor, you need professional legal help from an Allentown criminal defense lawyer. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our skilled attorneys will ensure your rights are upheld, and give you the best chance of a successful outcome with your case. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.