Internet Luring/Enticement Of A Child
Luring children through the Internet (or by any other means) to engage in sexual conduct is a serious crime. It is possible to be convicted for this crime even when the apparent “child” involved in online communications was not actually a child.
Any criminal offense involving minors and sexual activity or solicitation for such activity is a serious matter. What may start as a case of playful sexting could end up with you being charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex.
At O’Brien Hatfield Reese, PA, in Tampa and Orlando, Florida, our sex crime defense lawyers employ numerous strategies in cases stemming from luring or enticing children for sex. As a former prosecutor, attorney Mark J. O’Brien understands how to work effectively in the process of prosecution and defense.
Even Teens Can Be Charged For Sexting With Other Teens
Since 2011, Florida has had a teen sexting law in place, requiring first offenses for sexting to be punished by a $60 fine and eight hours of community service. Subsequent offenses may be classified as a first-degree misdemeanor for a second offense or felony child pornography for a third offense.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors would naturally look much differently at the same offenses if one party was over age 18. In such cases, criminal charges of sexual exploitation of a child, luring of a child and/or child pornography might apply, depending on circumstances.
Texting Can Lead To Internet Luring
Any attempt to draw a person believed to be a child into sexual conduct is considered luring under Florida law.
It is quite common for law enforcement agents to entrap accused offenders by posing as children in online chat rooms, on websites such as Craigslist and on social media sites. These imposters dangle the bait of easy communication via computer, often tricking and entrapping potential online sex crime offenders to deliver the evidence needed for an arrest and, ultimately, a conviction.
No Sex Has To Occur For You To Be Charged
It does not matter whether any sexual activity actually occurred. It does not matter how far the traveling distance was. And it does not matter whether the target of the interaction was actually a child or simply a police officer posing as a child.
You can be convicted as long as prosecutors can prove that after interacting with your target on the Internet, you believed you were going to meet up with a child (under age 18) for the purpose of sexual activity. A judge will be required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 21 months. Depending on circumstances, penalties may be much more severe — up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of sex offender probation and/or $10,000 in fines.