Orange County Solicitation of a Minor Defense Lawyer
In California, “solicitation” often occurs in cases involving prostitution between two adults, but it can also involve a minor. Social media has exasperated this issue, creating more situations where adults and children can interact “anonymously” online. In some cases, defendants may be caught up in a sting operation and falsely charged when they had no intention to commit a crime. Whatever your situation, you need a strong defense.
If you or someone you love has been charged with solicitation of a minor, do not hesitate to contact an Orange County solicitation defense attorney at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. We can fight to protect your future. These charges can result in long prison sentences, hefty fines, and even being required to register as a sex offender. To avoid the full consequences of a conviction, you need to call our firm today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999.
Solicitation is the crime of inciting another person to commit a crime, often a sexual act, in return for compensation or property, such as money or favors, according to California Penal Code 653(f) PC. This charge can be filed against an individual who tries to solicit a prostitute, or a prostitute who solicits another individual to engage in sexual acts in exchange for money, but it is a separate charge from prostitution.
However, when an adult tries to incite a minor to commit a sexual act, that adult can be charged with solicitation of a minor, or Penal Code 288.4 PC. This charge is filed when an adult arranges a meeting with an underage person for the purpose of committing a lewd act, indecent exposure, or another sexual act, but only if the adult believes that the person he is soliciting is under the age of 18. The adult must also have an “unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children,” but a sexual act does not have to take place for the adult to be charged with a crime. It is solely for the act of soliciting a minor.
Solicitation of a minor can overlap with several other charges, especially if the adult attempted to solicit the child over the internet. Communicating with a minor in order to solicit a lewd or sexual act, or simply sending explicit messages to a minor via social media, text messages, email, chat services, or forums, can lead to a charge under Penal Code 288.3. In addition, if the adult attempts to convince the minor to send an explicit image or video over the internet, it can result in a charge of Penal Code 288.2. It is possible for one adult to face all of these charges in a single case, which is why the penalties can be so severe.
California throws the book at anyone who commits or attempts to commit a crime involving a minor. Not only can defendants spend years in county jail or state prison, but they may also have to register as sex offenders, which will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Solicitating a minor is a wobbler in California, meaning you can face either a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Misdemeanor charges specifically apply to those who attempt to arrange a meeting with a minor, whereas felony charges are for defendants who actually go to the meeting place at the agreed-upon time.
Misdemeanor solicitation of a minor is punished with:
- Up to one year in county jail;
- A maximum fine of $5,000;
- Misdemeanor probation; and/or
- Registration as a sex offender.
With felony solicitation, a defendant may face:
- Up to two, three, or five years in state prison;
- A maximum fine of $10,000;
- Felony probation; and/or
- Registration as a sex offender.
If you are facing solicitation of a minor charges in OC, you should not expect any mercy from the Orange County District Attorney. Judges can drop hefty penalties on anyone convicted of a sex crime, especially one involving a minor. But if you bring your case to an experienced attorney, he may be able to fight for your freedom and keep you out of jail.
Remember, the prosecution must clearly prove the following elements to secure a conviction, and your attorney can work to disprove each of them:
- You were motived by “unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children;”
- You arranged a meeting with an individual you believed to be a minor; and
- You intended to expose yourself to the alleged victim, have the victim expose him/herself, or engage in lewd or lascivious behavior with the victim.
In addition, to be convicted of a felony, you must have actually gone to the meeting place at the arranged time. Otherwise, you can only face a misdemeanor charge.
There are several ways to break down the prosecution’s arguments and have your charges dismissed or reduced, including:
- You believed that the person you were communicating with was over 18.
- There was no attempt to arrange a meeting.
- You had no intentions of engaging in lewd or sexual behavior.
- You were not motivated by “unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children.”
- The police used entrapment to convince you to break the law.
After being arrested for a sex crime in Orange County, it is important to work with a dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorney. At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we know that you are worried about your future. We can provide the strong legal guidance you need to avoid a conviction and keep out of jail. We offer every client a free case evaluation to develop a thorough defense strategy, so there is no cost to contacting Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.