Traveling to Meet a Minor in Florida
According to Florida Statutes section 847.0135, it is a second degree felony to travel or attempt to travel any distance within the state or to or from the state for the purpose of engaging in any illegal sexual activity with a child or a person believe to be a child after using a computer online service, Internet service or similar technology described in the law. It is likewise illegal to cause another person to travel or attempt to travel for the same purpose. The punishment on conviction for Traveling to Meet a Minor can be up to 15 years in Florida state prison.
Traveling to meet a minor is a federal offense as well. Under 18 USC sections 2422 and 2423, it is illegal to:
Attempt to arrange a meeting in another state with a person you believe to be a minor
Entice a minor to travel for prostitution or unlawful sexual activity
Knowingly transport a child between states with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity
Travel between states to engage in unlawful sexual activity with minor
Penalties include a mandatory sentence of ten years to life, or up to 30 years in federal prison depending upon the circumstances.
Given these harsh sentences and the effect a conviction or even just an arrest can have on your personal and professional life and reputation in the community, a charge of traveling to meet a minor should be taken very seriously. You may have any number of defenses available to you, which a Florida traveling to meet a minor defense lawyer can present on your behalf when applicable. Some common defenses to this charge include:
Entrapment – Law enforcement routinely conduct undercover sting operations in person and over the Internet; their activities may go too far and lure someone into taking an action they otherwise would not
Falsely accused – A minor or parent may make a false accusation out of revenge, hurt feelings or a misunderstanding
Wrong identity – It is possible that another person gained access to your computer or spoofed your IP address using sophisticated technology to hide their identity and make it look like you were the one engaging in online activity when you actually weren’t
Mistake – If you reasonably believed that the person you were going to meet was not a minor, you may have a valid defense to this charge
Section 847.0135 of Florida Statutes outlaws the publishing of information about a minor for the purpose of encouraging or soliciting sexual conduct of or with a minor, or the visual depiction of such conduct. This offense is a third degree felony, which typically carries penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison. A charge of possession or distribution of child pornography can ruin lives and destroy families. Bring your case to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer who will treat the matter respectfully and confidentially and provide a strong, effective defense.