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Soliciting a Child for Sex

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in the mid-1980s, child pornography was almost completely eradicated. With the emergence of widespread internet use in the late 90s and early 2000s, child porn returned with a vengeance. Federal and state law enforcement often engage in extensive sting and undercover operations to catch offenders.

Moreover, the criminal offense of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct is not limited to the victim being an actual child. The statute allows for criminal charges when the offender believes the person that they are soliciting is a child. The breadth of the statute allows for undercover law enforcement officers to pose as children and arrest sex offenders.

Find an Attorney for Soliciting a Child for Sex Crimes in Pensacola, FL

Soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct is not only a sex crime, but it is also a computer crime. Each transmission of unlawful conduct is charged individually rather than as a whole. Having these kinds of charges against you could result in very serious jail time. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who will advocate for your best result and take the time to help you understand your charges.

John Terrezza’s office is located on West Gregory St. in Downtown Pensacola, less than one mile from the Escambia County Courthouse and the Federal Courthouse.

Call (850) 764-5291 for to schedule an in-person explanation of child pornography charges.


Elements of Soliciting a Child for Sex under § 847.0135

To prove soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct charges under Fla. Stat. §847.0135(3) the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:

  1. the defendant knowingly used a computer service, local bulletin board (such as a message board), internet device, or any device capable of transmitting electronic data storage to contact the victim;
  2. the victim was a child, or the defendant believed that he or she was contacting a child; and
  3. during that contact, the defendant solicited, seduced, enticed, lured, or attempted to do such actions to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with the victim.

A person who is found guilty of Section 847.0135(3) is charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 fines.


Enhanced Penalties for Soliciting a Minor

Sex Offenses against Students by Authority Figures – if the defendant was an authority figure at a school and the victim as a student at the same school then the defendant may be subject to enhanced penalties.

Violations of Section § 847.0135(3) are reclassified as a second-degree felony.

Age Misrepresentation – if the defendant misrepresented his or her age to the victim then the defendant may be subject to enhanced penalties.


Definitions under Section 847.0135(3)

If you are charged with soliciting a minor for sex in Escambia County, Florida, then understanding the following definitions used in the statute can be useful in helping you understand the elements.

The term "child" is defined as any person less than 18 years old.

The phrase "sexual conduct" is defined as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse; this includes an actual lewd exhibition of genitals; actual physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals; or any act or conduct which constitutes or simulates sexual battery.

The term "student" is defined as a person younger than 18 years old who is enrolled at a school.

The term "authority figure" is defined as a person 18 years of age or older who is employed by, volunteering at, or under contract with a school.

Additional Resources

Federal Child Pornography – Visit the U.S. Department of Justice website, specifically the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (otherwise known as CEO) for more information about child victims and what the procedures that the U.S. government implements to protect children from exploitation. Also find out more information about the High Technology Investigative Unite (HTIU) and how computer forensics specialists navigate child porn investigations.

Child Pornography in 50 States – Visit the American Bar Association website to find out more information about the laws against child pornography that have been instituted across the United States.

Fla. Stat. § 847.0135(3) – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory language of the Computer Pornography; Prohibited Computer Usage; Traveling to Meet a Minor statute.


Finding an Attorney for Soliciting a Child in Escambia County, Florida

Child pornography can have federal as well as Florida consequences. It may be difficult to find an attorney who is comfortable practicing in federal and state court. Attorney John Terrezza takes federal child pornography cases in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division is located in the Winston E. Arnow Federal Building on 100 N. Palafox St.

If you or someone you know has been charged with federal child pornography in Escambia County in Pensacola or in Santa Rosa County in Milton, then call attorney John Terrezza for more information about how to prepare the best defense.

Call (850) 764-5291

This article was last updated on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

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