What is Traveling to Meet a Minor?
Under Florida law, there are many acts that can constitute child pornography. Even the act of traveling to meet with a minor in an attempt to engage in sexual relations is considered a crime—a second-degree felony, to be exact.
The penalties are steep and can affect your life in many ways. Read on to learn more about this crime and how you a lawyer can help you if you are charged.
What Florida Law Says
Florida Statutes Section 847.0135(4) states that a person who travels any distance by any means of transportation in an attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a minor after using a computer service, Internet service or electronic device can be charged with a second degree felony.
It is also illegal to attempt to arrange a meeting with a minor, entice a minor to engage in sexual activity or transport a child with you for the purpose of sexual relations.
Penalties for Traveling to Meet a Minor
The penalties for this crime are stiff. Traveling to meet a minor for sex is punishable by 15 years in prison and another 15 years of probation. The minimum prison sentence is 21 months. The fine could be as high as $10,000.
Each use of the computer or other electronic device to engage in sex with a minor is considered a separate offense.
Defenses for Those Charged With Traveling to Meet a Minor
If you are charged with this crime, there are fortunately some defenses that can help you avoid a conviction and subsequent penalties.
One common defense is entrapment. Authorities often go undercover and engage in sting operations in an attempt to make an arrest. Sometimes these police officers go too far and coerce the defendant to commit the act, even when he or she is reluctant to do so.
In many cases, the accusations are false. Sometimes a person is charged with this type of crime by a minor or adult out of revenge or hurt feelings.
Mistaken identity is also a solid defense. You could be charged with a crime even though someone else used your computer or someone hacked your computer remotely and made it look like you were the one soliciting the minor.
If you truly thought you were meeting with an adult and end up meeting with a minor in a bait and switch situation, you could use that as a defense as well.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Child Pornography Case
If you have been charged with traveling to meet a minor, it’s important to seek legal help immediately. This felony charge can result in fines and prison time and affect employment. A solid defense can help you avoid these stiff penalties.
At the Law Offices of Gilbert A. Schaffnit, our team of Gainesville criminal defense attorneys can help defend you against the charges you face. Our team has more than 40 years experience defending Florida residents against child pornography offenses. For more information, contact us at (352) 505-1799. We are available 24/7 for free initial telephone consultations.