Traveling to Meet a Minor in Polk County

One important thing to understand about how the state prosecutes sex crimes is that simply taking action in furtherance of a sex offense can often be prosecuted as a crime on its own. A perfect example of this is “traveling to meet a minor,” an offense which—under certain circumstances—could lead to you facing felony charges just for speaking to someone over the computer and then walking down the block to meet them.

Of course, the specifics of this type of charge are a bit more complicated than that, but the fact remains that traveling to meet a minor in Polk County for a sexual encounter is a serious matter that courts tend to prosecute harshly. If you have been arrested by the Polk County Police Department on suspicion of this crime, you should prioritize speaking with the experienced sex crimes lawyers at the Umansky Law Firm.

“Traveling to Meet a Minor” as a Criminal Offense

Traveling to meet a minor is one of several criminal offenses defined under Florida Statutes § 847.0135, which also criminalizes other actions involving unlawful use of a computer to engage in sexual conduct with or around minors. Subsection (4) of this statute states it is against the law for someone to travel any distance into, out of, or within the state with the intent of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with a person under the age of 16.

In order to be prosecuted under this subsection, a person must also be traveling to meet the minor after previously using a computer or other communication service to “seduce, solicit, lure, or entice” that minor into engaging in unlawful sexual conduct. Alternatively, they may be charged under this subsection after communicating with the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian online to get their consent for sexual conduct with a child.

In both scenarios, it does not matter whether the individual actually engaged in unlawful sexual conduct with a person under 16, nor does it matter how far they traveled or what means of transportation they used. So long as they have gone any distance with the intention of engaging in a pre-arranged sexual encounter with a minor, they may be prosecuted for and convicted of violating this statute.

Fighting Against a Traveling to Meet a Minor Conviction

Attempting to meet a minor in Polk County or anywhere else in the state is considered a felony of the second degree, which means a first-time offender could face maximum penalties upon conviction of 15 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. In addition, that person would be required to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement and state authorities for the remainder of their time as a resident of Florida. The earliest they are eligible to petition for removal from the public registry would be 20 years after their conviction.

However, a person may be able to contest this allegation if they can prove they did not actually travel with intent to engage in sexual misconduct, or that were entrapped by law enforcement into breaking the law when they would not have done so otherwise. A defendant needs support from skilled legal counsel to develop defense strategies when dealing with this serious charge.

Call and Discuss How a Polk County Attorney Could Help Contest a Traveling to Meet a Minor Charge

Even if you have no prior criminal record, a single conviction for traveling any distance to meet a minor for sex could leave you as a permanent felon and lifelong registered sex offender. Needless to say, any accusation that you committed this offense requires a strong and proactive defense. It is extremely difficult and unwise to do this on your own.

Fortunately, you have assistance available from the seasoned criminal defense lawyers at the Umansky Law Firm who have experience in handling these situations. Call today to discuss your options after an arrest for traveling to meet a minor in Polk County.

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