What are the Penalties for Traveling to Meet a Minor in Florida?
Travelling to meet a minor is a serious criminal offense that is not taken lightly in the State of Florida. The penalties are stiff and the prosecution shows no mercy for crimes that involve children. To help answer the questions that are asked after an arrest, we have outlined the details of the “travelling to meet a minor” charge, it’s penalties and the possible defense strategies that an attorney may use.
Definition of Traveling to Meet a Minor
Florida State Statue 847.0135 considers it illegal for a person to travel within Florida or to another state with the intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor. To stop these acts from happening, law enforcement has increased their efforts and improved their tactics, primarily using undercover sex stings. During these operations the police will pose as a minor looking to engage in sexual activities and communicate with the defendant until they agree to meet in person.
Florida classifies the crime of traveling to meet a minor as a second degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and a $10,000 fine. The minimum prison sentence for the charge could be up to 21 months. Anyone convicted of this crime will also be required to be listed on the national sex offender registry and possibly be obligated to certain civil commitment. If the individual crossed state lines, they may also be subject to criminal charges from other jurisdictions.
To only way to reach the best possible outcome in a sex crimes case is to make sure you have an attorney capable of developing a solid defense. A good lawyer will carefully examine all the facts surrounding your case and determine the best possible defense strategy, including:
Entrapment : It is illegal for law enforcement to push you to commit a crime that you may never have had any intention to commit. An attorney will review this possibility by asking questions like, Who started the sexual communication? Were there any signs of reluctance by the defendant? Were the authorities too persistent?
Lack of Intent: The prosecutor has to prove that you intended to meet with a minor for a sexual purpose. An attorney can argue that your reason for meeting with the minor cannot be defined as sexual.
What Should You Do if Arrested?
This is a serious offense and must be approached aggressively if you want to avoid severe punishment. Not only could you be facing time in jail, but a conviction would make it nearly impossible to find employment. Your first step after an arrest should be to hire an attorney to help you fight the charges in court. They have the skill to identify a successful defense strategy and the ability to negotiate with the State Attorney to get your charges dropped or punishment reduced.
If you have been accused of traveling to meet a minor, contact us today and we will be happy to review your case for free. Fill out our online form or call our office. You can also live chat with someone 24/7.