Internet access can be an excellent educational tool for adults and children alike; however, there are also dangers associated with this resource. Utah has some of the highest rates of sex crimes against children, some of which including solicitation of a minor.
In most cases involving an arrest for solicitation of a minor, an individual may have been arrested by an undercover agent posing as a minor.
Being accused of this type of offense is extremely damaging to a person’s reputation, career, and overall personal life. Having an attorney working hard on your behalf is one way to limit the possible stigma many accused individuals face.
In the event that you have been arrested for solicitation of a minor, time is working against you. Call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 to speak with an experienced defense attorney with a successful track record for defending clients against these crimes.
This firm services clients in Salt Lake City, Davis County, and surrounding areas.
Utah code §76-4-401 finds an individual guilty of soliciting a minor when the person knowingly uses Internet or text message communication to entice a minor, or someone believed to be a minor, into participating in illegal sexual acts.
Although many refer to the crime as solicitation of a minor, the statute names the offense as enticing a minor. In the context of the crime, a “minor” is defined as any person under the age of 18 years old. The term “text messaging” in relation to enticing a minor means any form of electronic text or electronic images sent by the defendant from a telephone, computer, or other electronic device to another person’s telephone, computer, or other electronic device.
According to the statute, a person is guilty of enticement if they knowingly use the internet or text messaging to do the following:
It’s important to note that it’s not an admissible defense to state that a law enforcement officer or undercover operative was involved in the detection or investigation of the offense.
How much jail time a person will receive for conviction of enticement of a child will depend on the facts of the case. The state of Utah determines the classification of the crime based on what it would have been charged as under the statute for engaging in sexual activity with a minor. Whatever charge the defendant would have faced for unlawful sexual activity with a minor, the judge will charge the defendant with one classification below that.
For example, if the sexual activity proposed to the minor would have constituted a class B misdemeanor, then the offense would be charged as a class C misdemeanor.
The penalties for a class C misdemeanor include:
If the sexual activity would have constituted as a third-degree felony, then the defendant will face a class A misdemeanor.
The maximum sentence for a class A misdemeanor includes the following:
If the sexual activity offered to the minor would have constituted a second-degree felony, then the offense will be charged as a third-degree felony.
The penalty for a third-degree felony includes:
If the sexual activity would have constituted a first-degree felony, then the offender will face a second-degree felony. However, if the offender has a prior conviction for a sexual offense, then they will have their charges enhanced to a first-degree felony.
The maximum sentence a person can receive for a second-degree felony includes:
A first-degree felony can result in a minimum of five years in prison to a maximum of life.
To successfully convict a person of this offense, the prosecution must show that the accused intended to solicit, or entice a minor or someone he believed was a minor, with the purpose to engage in sexual activity.
Defending against this offense could be as simple as showing that the individual believed that he or she was in contact with another adult. An experienced attorney can use these types of defenses to create reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case, and work toward your acquittal.
Utah State Legislature- This state run site provides a list of Utah’s criminal laws.
Utah Courts- This state site provides information on penalties for criminal convictions
Solicitation of a minor carries severe consequences which can last a lifetime. Discussing your legal options is extremely important during these times, and can possibly spare you from a conviction.
Call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 to speak with a Salt Lake City defense attorney at your free consultation. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law works with clients in Davis County, Salt Lake County, and surrounding counties.