What is online solicitation?
Local law enforcement agencies are conducting more and more online child predator stings. Online solicitation of a child for purposes of engaging in a sexual act is a felony in Georgia. It carries a possible punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a $ 25,000 fine.
The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes (CEACC) Unit and local law enforcement agencies are conducting operations all over the State of Georgia to catch individuals who are using the internet to solicit underage children for sex.
What should you do?
If you are arrested in one of these stings, do not talk to the police without a lawyer. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story without a lawyer. If the police tell you that they will cut you a break if you speak to them about the case, please tell them that you want a lawyer before making a statement. Nothing you say to law enforcement when you are arrested is going to benefit your case. Do not make any statements such as you thought the person was an adult or that you did not intend to actually go through with the sexual act. Do not talk to law enforcement without a lawyer present.
You have an absolute right to speak to a lawyer before making any statements. If you have already made a statement to the police, then please do not make any further statements without calling a lawyer. The stakes in these cases are too high to not retain a lawyer and fight these allegations. Your freedom is literally at stake in these cases. The State of Georgia and its local law enforcement agencies are aggressively prosecuting these cases.
What qualifies as solicitation?
Online solicitation is when you intentionally or willfully utilize the internet, local bulletin board, chat room, e-mail, instant messaging service, or any other electronic device, to solicit, seduce, lure, or entice a child, another person believed by such person to be a child, any person having custody or control of a child, or another person believed by such person to have custody or control of a child to commit any illegal act, by, with, or against a child as described in O.C.G.A. 16-6-3, sodomy or aggravated sodomy; O.C.G.A. 16-6-4, child molestation or aggravated child molestation; O.C.G.A. 16-6-5, enticing a child for indecent purposes; or O.C.G.A 16-6-8 public indecency, or to engage in any conduct that by its nature is an unlawful sexual offense against a child.
So, if you are talking to someone that you believe is underage and it turns out that you are actually speaking to law enforcement, you can still be charged and convicted of online solicitation. Do not think that just because the person you were chatting with turned out to not be a child, then you have nothing to worry about. It is still against the law, even if the child turns out to be law enforcement.
Direct communication with a minor is not required for a conviction. There is no requirement that you actually perform any type of sexual act to be convicted. All that is required is that you believed that the person you were speaking to was underage and your purpose in talking to them was for a sexual act.
If you have been charged with online solicitation and exploitation, child pornography and/or human trafficking, then it is very important to hire a lawyer who handles these types of cases. Please call my office 24/7 at 404-581-0999. We will meet with you for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and explain the procedure that will take place in court.
by Mike Jacobs