Traveling to Meet a Minor

Attorney Representing St. Petersburg and Clearwater Residents Charged with Sex Crimes

The State of Florida has criminalized sexual acts involving children, and rightfully so. However, not every person who is accused of a sex crime against a minor is guilty. Misunderstandings can happen, and police can make mistakes. If you have been accused of a sex crime like traveling to meet a minor, you need reliable legal advice – and you need it as quickly as possible. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg and Clearwater sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon has been representing people charged with felonies and misdemeanors for over two decades. He knows how much rests on the outcome of your case, and he will work hard to protect your future.

Florida Statutes § 847.0135(4) defines the crime of traveling to meet a minor. Under the statute, a person who travels within the state of Florida, to Florida, or from Florida for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act or other unlawful sexual conduct with a child after using the internet to entice a child to engage in an illegal act can be found guilty of a crime. The statute also criminalizes an “attempt” to travel, as well as the seduction, luring, solicitation, or enticement of a child (or a person whom the defendant believed to be a child) to engage in unlawful sexual conduct.

Penalties for Traveling to Meet a Minor in Florida

A conviction of traveling to meet a minor in violation of § 847.0135(4) can result in significant consequences under the law. As a felony of the second degree, this offense can result in imprisonment not exceeding 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Depending on the circumstances, the defendant may also be required to complete community service and may be put on probation or parole following incarceration. They may find it difficult to find employment after the conviction, especially in occupations involving children. Other difficulties may also arise, including lost educational or housing opportunities and challenges maintaining personal relationships.

Since the consequences of a conviction can be so devastating to a defendant’s future, a person accused of traveling to meet a minor must assert any defense that is appropriate under the circumstances. Negating an element of the State’s case is one possible way to defeat a sex crime charge. For a conviction, the State must prove that the defendant traveled for the purpose of an unlawful act with a minor. If the defendant can provide evidence suggesting that their travel was for another purpose, however, this could create a reasonable doubt, such that the State cannot meet its burden of proof. Entrapment is another possible defense in a traveling to meet a minor case. Police can be very aggressive and overbearing in internet seduction cases, so much so that they sometimes act illegally in their pursuit of a particular individual. If you were induced by police to commit a crime that you would not have committed without the inducement, this defense may apply to your situation.

Defendants have important rights under the Constitution, including the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures and to refrain from self-incrimination. A knowledgeable criminal attorney can investigate your case to determine whether your rights may have been violated.

Discuss Your Case with an Attorney in St. Petersburg or Clearwater

Handling a case involving traveling to meet a minor can be a complex task. Attorney Will Hanlon has been defending people accused of traveling to meet a minor and other sex crimes for many years, and he is here to serve you during this stressful time. To speak with Attorney Hanlon about a sex charge, call us today at 727-897-5413 or contact us online. While it may be tempting to try to deal with your situation on your own if you believe that your innocence is clear, one of the most important things that you can do is to exercise your right to remain silent if you are ever accused of a crime. Speaking with an attorney first, rather than agreeing to be interviewed by police about a situation, is very important. Will Hanlon also represents people in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Newport Richey, and Dade City who need a child pornography lawyer or representation against other sex crime charges.