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What Qualifies as Solicitation of a Minor?

Sept. 20, 2021

Estimates Little Girl Looking at Phoneindicate that every year, one in five children are solicited online while 50,000 sexual predators are using the web to find them. With those statistics, you can be sure that law enforcement agencies are working diligently to catch and convict those they believe have solicited a minor, whether online or in person.

A misdemeanor conviction requires only proof of intent to solicit a minor. A felony requires showing up. If you have been charged with either, you should first understand how solicitation of a minor is defined under California law, what it takes to prove guilt, and what you may be facing as a result.

For nearly 30 years, I have defended clients in Los Angeles, California, and throughout the state who are charged with crimes, including solicitation of a minor. At the Alec Rose Law Office, I take a select number of cases at any one time so I can provide each and every client the attention they need.

What Qualifies as Solicitation
of a Minor in California?

Under California law, it is illegal for someone who has an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children to arrange a meeting with someone they believe to be a minor with the intent to expose or have the minor expose their genitals, pubic, or rectal areas or engage in lewd or lascivious behavior with the minor.

Note that the prosecution need only prove that you arranged a meeting with someone you thought was a minor. You did not have to actually meet with them. The perceived minor may not have been a minor at all. This is how law enforcement, pretending to be minors, seek out those soliciting minors, either online or by other means.

If the prosecution can prove abnormal sexual interest, the attempt to arrange a meeting, and the intent to expose as described in the law, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If you have a prior conviction for a crime that required registration as a sex offender, or if you show up for the meeting as arranged, you can be charged with a felony. You do not have to have actually engaged in any acts with the minor.

As an example, say someone starts a conversation online with someone they believe to be a 12-year-old. They invite the child to meet them somewhere to watch movies the child’s parents won’t let them watch. It doesn’t matter that the child is actually a law enforcement officer, or that the meeting never happened, or that no physical contact was made. They can still be convicted of misdemeanor solicitation of a minor. If they show up for the meeting, or are on or have been on the sex offender registry, the charge will be a felony.

What Are the Possible
Defenses Against This Charge?

A criminal defense attorney will attempt to challenge the prosecution’s evidence on any of the elements, such as:

  • Your intention was not sexual, lewd, or lascivious, but just to visit with the child.

  • You did not know the individual was a minor.

  • Law enforcement used tactics to entrap you.

What Penalties Might I Face?

If convicted of misdemeanor solicitation of a minor, you could face up to one year in jail and/or probation, a $5,000 fine, and registration as a sex offender for 10 years.

If convicted of felony solicitation of a minor, you could face up to three years in prison with or without probation, a fine of up to $10,000, and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Getting the Experienced
Legal Guidance You Need

A misdemeanor or felony conviction for solicitation of a minor significantly impacts your life. It affects where you can live, the jobs you can get, and even custody of your own children.

As a recognized criminal defense attorney who has represented well-known and unknown clients, I have been quoted by major media outlets and asked to render expert commentary. What matters to me most at the Alec Rose Law Office is the work I do with each of my clients. I am compassionate with them and aggressive in the courtroom. Lives are at stake and dependent on my ability to defend them. It is a responsibility I take with the utmost gravity.

If you have been charged with solicitation of a minor in Los Angeles, California, or in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange County, San Diego, San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Simi Valley, Santa Maria, Westminster, Victorville, Fullerton, or Riverside, call my office today.

The prosecution is already working against you. Let me start working for you right now. Call to schedule a case consultation.