West Palm Beach Chat Room Defense Lawyers
Federal criminal attorneys with decades of experience representing Florida
To crack down on sexual crimes against minors, law enforcement officials have targeted Internet chat rooms and social media websites to find people they believe might be in possession of explicit images involving children, or interested in meeting minors to engage in sexual activity. The state of Florida and the federal government each have special task forces working undercover to catch child predators online. If you’ve been arrested on sex crime charges stemming from online chat sessions, you need an Internet criminal lawyer who understands this relatively new and constantly changing area of law.
Criminal charges and punishments
Anyone who uses an Internet service or electronic device to seduce or lure a minor to engage in sexual acts will be charged with a third-degree felony under Florida’s obscenity laws. The victim does not even have to be a minor for charges to be filed – The accused merely has to demonstrate belief that the person with whom he or she is communicating is a child. Anyone who uses the Internet to entice or seduce a minor via the child’s parents or legal guardians also could be charged with a felony of the third degree.
Sting operations – in which a law enforcement officer poses as a minor or the parent of a minor child online – are tactics often used by investigators. Often, the agent will portray himself or herself as a single mother and engage in a chat about consensual sex, only to redirect the conversation later toward sex with the “mother’s” child. If the accused takes the bait, charges could be filed. If the state can prove that the accused believed that the person he or she solicited for sex was a minor and that the accused was predisposed toward committing such a crime, a case can be made for conviction.
Multiple charges for multiple sessions
A third-degree felony conviction for using a computer to solicit a child is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. However, each separate occasion of using a computer to lure or entice a minor could be charged as a separate criminal offense, which could result in increased prison time and larger fines if the accused is convicted.
How can we help you?
Chat room criminal charges require the vigilance and expertise of a Florida criminal defense lawyer who has successfully defended people who were once in your position. You cannot afford to take these charges lightly or hire just any criminal lawyer. Contact Ohle Law P.A. today for your best chance of putting this unfortunate incident behind you.