Travelling to Meet a Minor

I have extensive experience in defending travelling to meet a minor cases in Orange County, Seminole County and throughout the entire Central Florida area. I examine each travelling to meet a minor case for a lack of evidence or conflict in evidence that would support not filing formal criminal charges. It is important that you start building your defense immediately after your arrest. Hiring an experienced travelling to meet a minor lawyer is essential. Once hired, I will:

1. Collect and review all written statements, photographs and 911 calls;
2. Find flaws in the police officer’s investigation;
3. Identify all possible defenses;
4. Immediately start negotiating with the prosecutor not to file formal charges, and
5. Do whatever is necessary to avoid a conviction.

EARLY REPRESENTATION CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Early representation can often times convince your prosecutor to not file formal charges against you. It is important to start preparing your best defense as soon as possible, well before your first court date. Important facts in your case to consider are:

  • Was any of the evidence collected against you illegally obtained?
  • Entrapment?
  • Is identity an issue? Do they have the wrong person?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights? Were your statements illegally obtained?
  • Are there other factors or motivations that show your lack of intent to commit a crime?
  • Is there a lack of evidence or a conflict in the evidence?

WHAT IS TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR

In Florida, traveling to meet a minor is the offense of traveling or attempting to travel to engage in unlawful sexual conduct after using an electronic device or online service to seduce, entice, or solicit a child. Section 847.0135(4), Florida Statutes, criminalizes traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse after using a computer to solicit the child. The statute defines the term “child” to mean any person, whose identity is known or unknown, less than 18 years of age.

The offense of traveling to meet a minor child has four elements:

  • knowingly traveling within this state,
  • for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act (in violation of chapters 794, 800, or 827, or other unlawful sexual conduct) with the victim after using a computer or other electronic data storage transmission to contact a child,
  • the victim was a child or person believed by the defendant to be a child, and
  • the defendant seduced, solicited, lured, enticed or attempted to do so to engage in the illegal act or unlawful sexual conduct.
    Hartley v. State, 129 So.3d 486, 491 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).

It is illegal to travel any distance or attempt to travel (within or outside Florida) to engage with a minor in unlawful sexual conduct after using the internet or any electronic device to seduce, lure, entice, or solicit that minor to engage in the activity.

For the purposes of this statute, a minor is a person under 18 years of age. Individuals can still be charged with this crime even if they did not travel, but requested another person to do so. For example, asking a friend to pick up the child.

Additionally, a defendant can also face criminal charges if he or she solicited or enticed the child’s legal guardian to consent their child to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. Notice that even if the sexual conduct did not occur, merely traveling to meet a child is enough to warrant criminal charges.

HOW IS TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR PROVEN IN FLORIDA

To prove someone committed a crime when traveling to meet a minor, the prosecutor’s office must present evidence to show that:

  • The defendant willingly and knowingly traveled to meet a minor with the intention of engaging in illegal sexual activity.
  • The victim was under the age of 18, or the accused had reason to believe the victim was under the age of 18
  • The accused solicited the minor or attempted to lure the minor, into engaging in a relationship of a sexual nature.
  • Given the complexity of these charges, you should retain the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our Goldman Wetzel attorneys to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

PENALTIES FOR TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR

In Florida, the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex is a Second Degree Felony and punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex to a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison.

Multiple Charges for Single Episode
Each separate use of a computer, online service, Internet service, or electronic device can be charged as a separate criminal offense.

This means that if you use a computer on four separate occasions to discuss engaging in unlawful sex with a person believed to be a minor, you can be charged with four separate counts of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act.

The penalties for those convicted of such as offense are severe. Individuals charged will face felony charges, a minimum 21 month prison sentence and up to a maximum sentence of 15 years. Depending on the circumstances, offenders can also pay up to $10,000 in fines. Sex offender probation will also be assessed upon release.

It’s important to also understand that the meeting with the minor doesn’t instigate the charge. Each separate use of a computer device used to talk or discuss meeting arrangements with that minor will be one offense.

For instance, any individual who communicated with a minor via an online platform five times before actually meeting up in person, will likely face five different counts of the offense of traveling to meet a minor. And, the more counts, the more aggressive the penalties.

DEFENSES FOR TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR

Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when an agent of the government induces a person to commit a crime that the person was not otherwise predisposed to commit.

In most prosecutions where the “Bait & Switch“ technique is used to charge a defendant with the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act, the inducement by the government agent will not be in question; it is the predisposition of the defendant that will be the issue.

In determining whether the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act, we would need to closely examine the following issues to see if an Entrapment Defense might be viable:

  • Who initiated the discussions of unlawful sexual acts;
  • Persistence of law enforcement to commit the unlawful sexual act;
  • Documented instances of reluctance by the defendant to commit the unlawful sexual act; and
  • Defendant’s expressed sexual interests.

 

Lack of Seduction, Solicitation, Luring, or Enticement

A fundamental element of the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act is that the defendant either seduce, solicit, lure, or entice the child or person believed to be a child to engage in an unlawful sexual act.

However, each word has a very specific legal meaning and if the defendant did not actually engage in acts that would constitute seduction, soliciting, luring, or enticement; then the person cannot be convicted of the crime.

This defense is most viable in “Bait & Switch“ prosecutions where the undercover law enforcement agent directs the entire conversation and the defendant merely acquiesces to the proposals.

 

Florida’s Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act

The state of Florida, for instance, passed the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act. A section of the law referred to as ” traveling to meet a minor,” essentially makes it illegal for any person to travel to meet a minor for sex whom he or she met online.

In detail, the law specifically says that: Any person who uses an electronic device to “seduce, solicit, lure or entice” (or attempt to) a minor (or another person portrayed as a minor), and
thereafter travels within the state of Florida (or travels outside the state) to engage in unlawful sexual conduct (as referenced under the law) with that minor (or another person portrayed as a minor) is guilty of a second degree felony. For purposes of the law, a minor is classified as an individual under 18 years of age.

Florida’s Jury Instructions for Traveling to Meet a Minor Child

Florida’s jury instruction 11.17(d) for traveling to meet a minor facilitated by a parent, legal guardian or custodian was adopted in 2009 [6 So. 3d 574] and amended in 2013. The jury instructions contain the following two elements which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

(Defendant) used a[n] [computer on-line service] [Internet service] [local bulletin board service] [device capable of electronic data storage or transmission] to [solicit] [lure] [entice] [attempt to [solicit] [lure] [entice]] a [parent] [legal guardian] [custodian] [person believed by the defendant to be a [parent] [legal guardian] [custodian]] of a child to consent for the [child] [person believed by the defendant to be a child] to participate in [(insert violation of chapter 794, 800, or 827 as alleged in the charging instrument)] [sexual conduct].
(Defendant) then [traveled] [attempted to travel] [caused another to travel] [attempted to cause another to travel] [within this state] [to this state] [from this state] for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act described in [(insert violation of chapter 794, 800, or 827 as alleged in the charging instrument)] [other unlawful sexual conduct] with a child or a person believed by the defendant to be a child.
The jury instruction also provides that the “mere fact that an undercover operative or law enforcement officer was involved in the detection and investigation of this offense shall not constitute a defense from prosecution.”

CALL AN EXPERIENCED SEX CRIMES DEFENSE LAWYER

If you have been accused of or arrested for a sex crime contact my experienced central Florida criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case and how I can help you. I offer a free confidential consultations to all prospective clients. In addition to keeping extended business hours, my office is open every Saturday. Call 407-740-7275 to speak directly with me.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I have extensive experience in defending travelling to meet a minor cases in Orange County, Seminole County and throughout the entire Central Florida area. I examine each travelling to meet a minor case for a lack of evidence or conflict in evidence that would support not filing formal criminal charges. It is important that you start building your defense immediately after your arrest. Hiring an experienced travelling to meet a minor lawyer is essential. Once hired, I will:

1. Collect and review all written statements, photographs and 911 calls;
2. Find flaws in the police officer’s investigation;
3. Identify all possible defenses;
4. Immediately start negotiating with the prosecutor not to file formal charges, and
5. Do whatever is necessary to avoid a conviction.

EARLY REPRESENTATION CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Early representation can often times convince your prosecutor to not file formal charges against you. It is important to start preparing your best defense as soon as possible, well before your first court date. Important facts in your case to consider are:

  • Was any of the evidence collected against you illegally obtained?
  • Entrapment?
  • Is identity an issue? Do they have the wrong person?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights? Were your statements illegally obtained?
  • Are there other factors or motivations that show your lack of intent to commit a crime?
  • Is there a lack of evidence or a conflict in the evidence?

WHAT IS TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR

In Florida, traveling to meet a minor is the offense of traveling or attempting to travel to engage in unlawful sexual conduct after using an electronic device or online service to seduce, entice, or solicit a child. Section 847.0135(4), Florida Statutes, criminalizes traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse after using a computer to solicit the child. The statute defines the term “child” to mean any person, whose identity is known or unknown, less than 18 years of age.

The offense of traveling to meet a minor child has four elements:

  • knowingly traveling within this state,
  • for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act (in violation of chapters 794, 800, or 827, or other unlawful sexual conduct) with the victim after using a computer or other electronic data storage transmission to contact a child,
  • the victim was a child or person believed by the defendant to be a child, and
  • the defendant seduced, solicited, lured, enticed or attempted to do so to engage in the illegal act or unlawful sexual conduct.
    Hartley v. State, 129 So.3d 486, 491 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).

It is illegal to travel any distance or attempt to travel (within or outside Florida) to engage with a minor in unlawful sexual conduct after using the internet or any electronic device to seduce, lure, entice, or solicit that minor to engage in the activity.

For the purposes of this statute, a minor is a person under 18 years of age. Individuals can still be charged with this crime even if they did not travel, but requested another person to do so. For example, asking a friend to pick up the child.

Additionally, a defendant can also face criminal charges if he or she solicited or enticed the child’s legal guardian to consent their child to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. Notice that even if the sexual conduct did not occur, merely traveling to meet a child is enough to warrant criminal charges.

HOW IS TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR PROVEN IN FLORIDA

To prove someone committed a crime when traveling to meet a minor, the prosecutor’s office must present evidence to show that:

  • The defendant willingly and knowingly traveled to meet a minor with the intention of engaging in illegal sexual activity.
  • The victim was under the age of 18, or the accused had reason to believe the victim was under the age of 18
  • The accused solicited the minor or attempted to lure the minor, into engaging in a relationship of a sexual nature.
  • Given the complexity of these charges, you should retain the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our Goldman Wetzel attorneys to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

PENALTIES FOR TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR

In Florida, the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex is a Second Degree Felony and punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. Absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Traveling to Meet a Minor for Unlawful Sex to a minimum sentence of 21 months in prison.

Multiple Charges for Single Episode
Each separate use of a computer, online service, Internet service, or electronic device can be charged as a separate criminal offense.

This means that if you use a computer on four separate occasions to discuss engaging in unlawful sex with a person believed to be a minor, you can be charged with four separate counts of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act.

The penalties for those convicted of such as offense are severe. Individuals charged will face felony charges, a minimum 21 month prison sentence and up to a maximum sentence of 15 years. Depending on the circumstances, offenders can also pay up to $10,000 in fines. Sex offender probation will also be assessed upon release.

It’s important to also understand that the meeting with the minor doesn’t instigate the charge. Each separate use of a computer device used to talk or discuss meeting arrangements with that minor will be one offense.

For instance, any individual who communicated with a minor via an online platform five times before actually meeting up in person, will likely face five different counts of the offense of traveling to meet a minor. And, the more counts, the more aggressive the penalties.

DEFENSES FOR TRAVELLING TO MEET A MINOR

Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when an agent of the government induces a person to commit a crime that the person was not otherwise predisposed to commit.

In most prosecutions where the “Bait & Switch“ technique is used to charge a defendant with the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act, the inducement by the government agent will not be in question; it is the predisposition of the defendant that will be the issue.

In determining whether the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act, we would need to closely examine the following issues to see if an Entrapment Defense might be viable:

  • Who initiated the discussions of unlawful sexual acts;
  • Persistence of law enforcement to commit the unlawful sexual act;
  • Documented instances of reluctance by the defendant to commit the unlawful sexual act; and
  • Defendant’s expressed sexual interests.

 

Lack of Seduction, Solicitation, Luring, or Enticement

A fundamental element of the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit an Unlawful Sex Act is that the defendant either seduce, solicit, lure, or entice the child or person believed to be a child to engage in an unlawful sexual act.

However, each word has a very specific legal meaning and if the defendant did not actually engage in acts that would constitute seduction, soliciting, luring, or enticement; then the person cannot be convicted of the crime.

This defense is most viable in “Bait & Switch“ prosecutions where the undercover law enforcement agent directs the entire conversation and the defendant merely acquiesces to the proposals.

 

Florida’s Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act

The state of Florida, for instance, passed the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act. A section of the law referred to as ” traveling to meet a minor,” essentially makes it illegal for any person to travel to meet a minor for sex whom he or she met online.

In detail, the law specifically says that: Any person who uses an electronic device to “seduce, solicit, lure or entice” (or attempt to) a minor (or another person portrayed as a minor), and
thereafter travels within the state of Florida (or travels outside the state) to engage in unlawful sexual conduct (as referenced under the law) with that minor (or another person portrayed as a minor) is guilty of a second degree felony. For purposes of the law, a minor is classified as an individual under 18 years of age.

Florida’s Jury Instructions for Traveling to Meet a Minor Child

Florida’s jury instruction 11.17(d) for traveling to meet a minor facilitated by a parent, legal guardian or custodian was adopted in 2009 [6 So. 3d 574] and amended in 2013. The jury instructions contain the following two elements which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

(Defendant) used a[n] [computer on-line service] [Internet service] [local bulletin board service] [device capable of electronic data storage or transmission] to [solicit] [lure] [entice] [attempt to [solicit] [lure] [entice]] a [parent] [legal guardian] [custodian] [person believed by the defendant to be a [parent] [legal guardian] [custodian]] of a child to consent for the [child] [person believed by the defendant to be a child] to participate in [(insert violation of chapter 794, 800, or 827 as alleged in the charging instrument)] [sexual conduct].
(Defendant) then [traveled] [attempted to travel] [caused another to travel] [attempted to cause another to travel] [within this state] [to this state] [from this state] for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act described in [(insert violation of chapter 794, 800, or 827 as alleged in the charging instrument)] [other unlawful sexual conduct] with a child or a person believed by the defendant to be a child.
The jury instruction also provides that the “mere fact that an undercover operative or law enforcement officer was involved in the detection and investigation of this offense shall not constitute a defense from prosecution.”

CALL AN EXPERIENCED SEX CRIMES DEFENSE LAWYER

If you have been accused of or arrested for a sex crime contact my experienced central Florida criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case and how I can help you. I offer a free confidential consultations to all prospective clients. In addition to keeping extended business hours, my office is open every Saturday. Call 407-740-7275 to speak directly with me.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email