WHAT QUALIFIES AS
SOLICITATION OF A MINOR?
The state of Texas takes the protection of minors very seriously. Laws have been expanded to include electronic means of soliciting a minor, including not only chat rooms but also emails, text messages, and social media interactions. In fact, solicitation of a minor in Texas is generally charged as a felony with potentially severe penalties. Typically, solicitation of a minor is equated with sexual favors, but solicitation charges can be brought against anyone who solicits a minor to commit a crime— whether the crime is subsequently committed or not.
If you’re facing a solicitation of a minor charge in or around Dallas, Texas, or anywhere in North Texas, contact The Linder Firm. Attorney Phillip Linder has been representing clients in criminal defense cases for more than three decades. He will fight aggressively for you with the goal of achieving the best result possible.
Solicitation of a Minor in Texas
Texas law defines solicitation of a minor in this way:
“A person commits an offense if, with intent that an offense listed by Section 3g(a)(1), Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, be committed, the person requests, commands, or attempts to induce a minor to engage in specific conduct that, under the circumstances surrounding the actor’s conduct as the actor believes them to be, would constitute an offense listed by Section 3g(a)(1), Article 42.12, or make the minor a party to the commission of an offense listed by Section 3g(a)(1), Article 42.12.”
Notice the use of the verbs “requests, commands or attempts to induce.” Such acts constitute solicitation of a minor if they can lead to a criminal offense, committed or not. The offense does not have to be for sexual purposes. If you solicit a minor—in Texas, a minor is anyone under 17 years of age—to participate in or commit any criminal offense, you can be charged with solicitation. Solicitation is generally charged as a felony.
Though the articles listed in the quoted definition above refer to solicitation for purposes of sex, other crimes known as “3g crimes” are also included in the definition of solicitation of a minor. These crimes include robbery, murder, kidnapping, and more.
Online Solicitation of a Minor
With the advent of the internet and social media, the cyber world became a vehicle for solicitation, generally for sexual purposes. Accordingly, Texas law created statutes regarding the online solicitation of a minor.
Texas law states that anyone over the age of 17 who ”communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor” or “distributes sexually explicit material to a minor” is guilty of online solicitation of a minor.
Another section further amplifies the definition:
“A person commits an offense if the person, over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the actor, with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the actor or another person.”
It’s important to note that the mere act of solicitation is a crime. No sexual conduct needs to be involved. Even if you never meet the minor, you can still be charged.
Parts of the law, as originally written, were declared unconstitutional by the Court of Criminal Appeals, so legislators made the list of offenses subject to online solicitation of a minor charges more specific. These offenses include:
Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children
Indecency with a child
Aggravated sexual assault
Prohibited sexual conduct
Sexual performance by a child
Possession or promotion of child pornography
Trafficking of Persons
Remember, the offenses do not have to be completed, but solicited.
Possible Defenses for Solicitation
As with any criminal charge, police or prosecutorial abuse of the defendant’s rights can be argued. For instance, the police may have failed to read you your Miranda Rights, or they conducted an illegal search and seizure. Entrapment—where police deliberately try to ensnare you in the crime of solicitation—is also a defense, though it can be hard to prove.
In online solicitation charges, there is also a defense if you are no more than three years older than the victim. Additionally, you may be able to argue that you had no criminal intent in your actions, or that you never actually carried out the solicitation in question. Ultimately, your criminal defense attorney can challenge both witness testimony and evidence during a trial. You are entitled to proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Criminal Defense Experience
You Can Trust
Attorney Phillip Linder has experience on both sides of the bench. For three-and-a-half years he was a prosecutor with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office before turning to a career in criminal defense. He has argued thousands of cases over 30-plus years, and his knowledge of prosecutor tactics enables him to anticipate courtroom tactics and seek to effectively counter them.
If you’re facing a solicitation of a minor charge, whether online or otherwise, in or around the Dallas Metro Area or anywhere in North Texas, contact The Linder Firm immediately. Solicitation is a serious charge with serious consequences, and you deserve top-notch legal representation.