The issue of criminal solicitation of a minor is a serious and complex matter, particularly in the state of Texas. Anyone who has been accused of violating it risks significant consequences. If you’re facing criminal solicitation charges involving a minor, the time to seek guidance from a skilled criminal defense attorney is right now.
At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, we focus in providing professional legal guidance in cases involving criminal solicitation of a minor and other crimes involving minors. Our team of experienced sex crimes attorneys breaks down the key aspects of the law below, offering clarity and insight into what it means to violate the law and how our criminal solicitation of a minor attorneys can defend clients facing charges in Texas.
What Does The Law Say?
Texas Statutes Section 15.031 criminalizes soliciting a minor. It is an offense when a person actively requests, commands, or tries to induce the minor to engage in specific actions that would either constitute a crime or make the minor a party to such an offense. For the purposes of this law, a "minor" is defined as an individual younger than 17 years of age. Here are some of the offenses that apply:
- Manufacturing or Delivering a Controlled Substance: This involves the creation or distribution of certain drugs, with heightened penalties under specific conditions.
- Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography: This offense involves having or spreading pornographic material involving children.
- Sexual Performance by a Child: This is the act of involving a child in a sexual performance.
- Compelling Prostitution: This offense involves forcing someone to engage in prostitution.
- Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution: This refers to promoting prostitution under aggravated circumstances.
- Burglary with Intent to Commit a Felony: This involves breaking into a property with the intent to commit certain felonies, such as sexual assault or indecency with a child.
- Aggravated Robbery: This is a robbery committed with aggravating factors, like causing serious harm to someone.
- Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual: This involves causing injury to a vulnerable person, such as a child, elderly, or disabled individual, and is considered more serious when it's a first-degree felony.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault: This is a sexual assault that involves additional factors that make it more serious.
- Sexual Assault: This is an offense involving a sexual act committed without the consent of the other person.
- Indecency with a Child: This involves engaging in sexual contact or exposing oneself to a child.
- Trafficking of Persons: This offense involves illegal trading or dealing in humans for purposes like forced labor or sexual exploitation.
- Aggravated Kidnapping: This is kidnapping that involves additional factors like harming or threatening the victim.
- Murder: This is the unlawful killing of another person..
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children: This offense involves committing two or more acts of sexual abuse against a child or children under 14 years old over a period of 30 days or more.
- Online Solicitation of a Minor: This law prohibits the use of the internet or electronic communication to sexually proposition or engage with a minor.
Offense Classification And Penalties
The classification of the offense and the penalties that the individual risks in the event that they’re convicted are influenced by the particular type of solicited offense and of the individual, such as age and gang affiliation. Generally, the classification of an offense of criminal solicitation of a minor is usually categorized one step lower than the solicited offense, except in specific circumstances, such as when the individual is a gang member intending to further criminal activities. So, if a minor is solicited to engage in conduct that would ordinarily be classified as a felony in the second degree, the solicitation offense in question would likely be classified as a felony in the third degree, for example. Penalties for felonies range from 180 days in jail (state jail felony) to life in prison (first-degree felony), and fines of up to $10,000.
Defenses for Solicitation of a Minor Charges in Texas
Depending on the circumstances of an individual’s case, there are legal strategies that can be employed to challenge the charges at issue. The following are some of the most common defenses used in criminal solicitation of a minor cases in Texas.
Lack of Intent
One of the primary elements of the crime of criminal solicitation of a minor is intent. The prosecution must show that the individual had the intent to induce a minor to commit a specific offense. Therefore, demonstrating a lack of intent can be a potentially viable defense. This can involve showing that the individual did not have the purpose or desire for the minor to commit a crime or that any communication with the minor was misconstrued or taken out of context.
Another defense revolves around the insufficiency of evidence. The law requires that there be corroborative circumstances to support the solicitation and the individual's intent. If the evidence presented by the prosecution is weak or lacks corroboration, especially in cases relying heavily on the testimony of the minor, this can be a strong defense. Challenging the credibility of evidence or highlighting its insufficiency can lead to doubts about the guilt of the individual.
Absence of Actionable Conduct
A defense may also be based on the absence of actionable conduct. This means arguing that the actions of the individual did not rise to the level of solicitation as defined by the law. Simply engaging in conversation or interaction with a minor is not sufficient for a conviction; there must be a direct attempt to induce the minor to commit a specific crime under Texas law.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Solicitation Of A Minor Offenses
What Is Criminal Solicitation Of A Minor?
Criminal solicitation of a minor involves an adult intentionally requesting, commanding, or attempting to induce a minor to engage in conduct that would constitute a criminal offense.
What Are The Penalties For Criminal Solicitation Of A Minor?
The penalties for criminal solicitation of a minor vary depending on the nature of the offense solicited. Typically, the charge is one category lower than the solicited offense, except in cases involving gang activity or other aggravating factors, where it may be the same category as the solicited offense.
How Is Intent Proven In These Cases?
Intent is a crucial element in these cases and is typically proven through evidence such as communications, witness testimony, and the context of the defendant's actions. The prosecution must show that the defendant specifically intended for the minor to commit a listed offense.
Can I Be Charged If A Minor Did Not Commit A Crime?
Yes, you can still be charged even if the minor in your case did not commit the crime that you were allegedly pressuring them to commit. The offense of criminal solicitation centers on the act of solicitation itself, not on whether the solicited crime was actually committed.
What Should I Do If I Am Charged With This Offense?
If you are charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, it is imperative to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. A knowledgeable attorney can help you with the legal system, protect your rights, and develop an effective defense strategy based on the specifics of your case.
Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC For Legal Assistance In Criminal Solicitation Of A Minor Cases
If you or someone you know has been accused of criminal solicitation of a minor, it's essential to seek experienced legal representation immediately, as this is a crime that could result in lifelong consequences if you don’t fight back against the charges you’re facing. The attorneys at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC focus on criminal defense and are well-versed in handling cases related to criminal solicitation of a minor. Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC at (512) 991-0576 or online for professional legal representation in your criminal solicitation of a minor case today.
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