Sex crimes, especially those involving minors, are taken especially seriously by prosecutors – and the court of public opinion. Even a baseless allegation or a misunderstanding can ruin someone’s reputation forever. It is understandable for someone accused of an internet sex crime to feel they have no choice but to plead guilty.
Police might say they have hard proof of conversations where someone solicited a minor online. However, everyone is entitled to a defense. And those accused of internet solicitation of a minor have several potential defenses available.
Many people accused of soliciting a minor online face charges after interacting with undercover police officers posing as minors. The defense of entrapment proposes that absent those actions by police, the person accused would not have solicited the minor.
This defense generally arises in two situations:
- Undercover police initiated the explicit conversation
- The accused individual tries to end communication, but undercover police persuade them to keep talking
If successful, an argument for entrapment can lead to the complete dismissal of charges. Because creating a defense against solicitation of a minor centered on entrapment is a complex process1, it is critical that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney in Delaware to see if that defense is viable.
Good faith belief
Another potential defense is to demonstrate that the accused had a good faith reason to believe the person they were communicating with was over 18. Ideally, this is done by showing the minor outright lied about their age. A belief based on photos alone generally is not enough.
A conviction for an internet sex crime carries serious penalties, including significant fines, jail time, and registration as a sex offender2. Besides, the social stigma that comes with such an accusation can easily follow someone for the rest of their life. It is essential that you do not give up. A skilled defense attorney can help you protect your rights and assert the defenses available to you.
Do not wait to get help
It is critical that you contact a proven criminal defense lawyer in Delaware after you are charged with solicitation of a minor. By taking immediate legal action, you can improve your chances of getting the charges dismissed and of preserving key pieces of evidence.