In Crestview and throughout the State of Florida, using a computer to solicit a child for sex is a serious felony charge. It doesn’t even matter if you actually engage in the sexual activity. The crime is committed once it is solicited.
If you find yourself in this situation, it may feel like you’ve already been judged and found guilty even though you haven’t even had your day in court yet. That is NOT how our system is supposed to work.
My name is Tim Flaherty. My partner’s name is Brandy Merrifield. We are Crestview defense attorneys who help clients accused of soliciting a child for sex using a computer. Call Flaherty & Merrifield for a free consultation at (850) 398-8098.
The #1 piece of advice for anyone accused of Soliciting a Child for Sex Using a Computer in Crestview
If you receive a call from the Crestview Police Department or Okaloosa County Sheriff, that means they believe they already have evidence linking you to a potential crime. Especially in cases like this, there is usually a written record of the conversations that took place. There is nothing to be gained, and lot to be lost, by agreeing to talk to the police without an attorney there to protect you.
If the police knock on your door, or call you, tell them that you will not talk to them without an attorney. Be polite but firm. Once you have invoked your right to counsel, the police are not legally allowed to continue trying to question you. Then, pick up the phone and call us. We’ll be glad to give you some advice right off the bat that will help you make informed decisions.
Overview of Crestview charge of Soliciting a Child for Sex Using a Computer
Florida Statute 847.0135 defines the charge as follows:
“Any person who knowingly uses a computer online service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or any other device capable of electronic data storage or transmission to:
(a) Seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child or another person believed by the person to be a child, ….or the parent of a child…., to commit any illegal act, or to otherwise engage in any unlawful sexual conduct with a child or with another person believed by the person to be a child; …. commits a felony of the third degree.”
Further, any person who, while soliciting a child, misrepresents their age commits a second degree felony.
What is the penalty for Soliciting a Child for Sex in Crestview?
Using the sentencing guidelines in the Florida Punishment Code Scoresheet, Solicitation of a child for sex is a Level 7 offense.
A level 7 offense scores 56 points. Here is how that is used to calculate a minimum sentence:
56 points – 28 = 28. 28 x 0.75 = 21 months in prison as a minimum sentence.
The maximum sentence is 5 years in prison unless you misrepresent your age. Then, the maximum sentence is 15 years in prison.
Soliciting a Minor for Sex Using a Computer is commonly charged with another offense, Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sexual Activity. That charge is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.
How can an attorney defend me if I am accused of Soliciting a Child Using a Computer in Crestview?
I know that at this point, it seems hopeless. You’re looking at a possible prison sentence of at least 21 months in prison, up to 15 years. These cases CAN be won, or at least mitigated. You have the right to a jury trial. You have the right to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf with the prosecutor. You have the right to present mitigating evidence to the judge at a sentencing hearing. In other words, you do have options.
Before making any decisions about your case, we will carefully review the evidence and look for weaknesses in the State’s case that we can use to help you. Here are just a few of the things we will look at:
- Examine all discovery with a critical eye
- Question State witnesses
- Review how the electronic interaction started
- Was it started by law enforcement?
- Did law enforcement entrap you?
- Was there intent to actually have sex with a child or was it just talk?
- Can we make an argument that you tried to stop the interaction?
- File appropriate motions that may support your defense
- Guide you through this process and help you make informed decisions.
If you have been accused of Soliciting a Child for Sex Using a Computer, or any Sex Crime in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098 for a free confidential consultation.