Skilled Defense Against Online Solicitation Of A Minor Charges
In an effort to catch child predators, state, local and federal law enforcement officers often enter online chat rooms pretending to be underage teens or older children. When a discussion thread turns sexual, undercover officers join the conversation feigning an interest in sexual experiences and a desire to meet with an older, interested person. If someone in the chat room responds and solicits sexual favors or arranges to meet with what they believe is an underage teen, the person’s IP address is recorded, and a warrant is issued to identify a home address and begin an investigation.
The problem here, however, often revolves around the issue of entrapment. Did an undercover officer attract illegal behavior or foment and encourage it? At Jack Venturi Law, we have years of experience putting prosecutors on the defensive. Our online solicitation of a minor attorney in New Brunswick challenges police officers’ actions and the version of events put forth by investigators and prosecutors.
Challenging The Prosecution’s Case
Under Megan’s Law, if you are convicted of the online solicitation of a minor, you’ll be under parole supervision for the rest of your life. You’ll also be required to serve at least 85% of your sentence before you are eligible for parole.
Police and prosecutors are interested in a conviction – they are not interested in extenuating circumstances or evidence that contradicts their view that the accused is guilty. For example, the prosecution might allege that a defendant intended to have sex with what they believed to be an underage teen just because they arranged to meet with them.
However, if the suspect did not have condoms, drugs, alcohol, porn or other items associated with sexual activity on him at the time of his arrest, the prosecution may have a difficult time proving his intent was sexual. Further, if the prearranged meeting place was public – a mall, a parking lot, a coffee shop – prosecutors may have difficulty establishing motive here as well.
Entrapment In Cases Of Online Solicitation Of A Minor
While the courts have traditionally provided police with a fair amount of leeway regarding undercover work and the issue of entrapment, it’s essential to scrutinize what a police officer said in a chat room leading up to an investigation or arrest.
If the accused initially refused an interest in pursuing sexual suggestions or indicated such behavior was illegal and wanted to drop the topic, how officers guided the course of the conversation afterward is important. Did the officer push or encourage the online solicitation of a minor by continually forcing a conversation back into one of a sexual nature? Did the officer coax or plead with the defendant? These are important questions that may undermine the prosecution’s case against you.