What Is the Crime of Online Solicitation of a Minor in Virginia?

Being charged with any sex crime involving a minor is a serious criminal charge that you cannot afford to take lightly. These are crimes under both Virginia and federal laws. Virginia and federal prosecutors aggressively prosecute people charged with these crimes, and the sentences often involve a lengthy prison sentence, fines, and a requirement to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. One of these crimes that you could be charged with is online solicitation of a minor if any electronic device was used in certain communications with a minor.

If you are charged with this crime, you must act immediately. Often you are facing other sex crime charges as well. Retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney who has defended people charged with online solicitation of a minor and other sex crimes is essential to building a strong defense.

What Is Online Solicitation of a Minor in Virginia?

In general, online solicitation of a minor involves engaging in an online communication with a minor where the person asks or solicits the minor to meet with him to engage in a sexual act. It can be a frustrating for anyone charged with this crime because it does not involve the actual sexual act. The simple act of communicating with a minor in a certain way can result in being charged with this crime.

In Virginia, online solicitation of a minor falls under the Virginia code section called use of communication systems to facilitate certain offenses involving minors. This is an extremely broad statute covering a wide range of activities, and can involve the use of any electronic device, such as a cell phone, bulletin board, Internet, and sexting. It is illegal for any person to use any electronic means to solicit any person that he knows or has reason to believe is under the age of 18 years old. The solicitation of the following could be a violation of this law:

  • Expose his genitals or sexual parts to a minor to whom he is not legally married to or suggest that the child expose his genitals or sexual parts to the person.
  • Propose that the minor fondle or touch his own or the person’s genitals or sexual parts or that the person fondle or feel the child’s genitals or sexual parts.
  • Propose that the minor engage in the act of sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus (oral sex on a female’s genitals), fellatio (oral stimulation of a male’s penis), or any other prohibited sexual act.
  • Entice, allure, or propose that a child enter into a vehicle, home, room, or any other place to perform one of these prohibited acts.

It is also illegal under this law to produce, distribute, or possess child pornography and to take indecent liberties with a child, such as exposing his sexual parts or genitals to the minor. Solicitation for the purpose of sex trafficking and prostitution are also crimes covered under this statute. If you are charged with online solicitation of a minor, you could also be charged with other sex crimes, such as taking indecent liberties with a child.

What Penalties Do You Face If Convicted of Online Solicitation of a Minor?

Online solicitation of a minor is a felony. You could be sentenced as follows:

  • If you are at least seven years older than the child or the child is or you believe he is under 15 years old, you could be sentenced to between 5 and 30 years in prison. The mandatory minimum sentence is five years in prison.
  • If the minor is between 15 and 18 years old, you could face a prison sentence of between one and ten years in prison.
  • You could be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500.

Contact Greenspun Shapiro PC Today If You Are Charged With Online Solicitation of a Minor

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fairfax have years of experience in defending our clients charged with online solicitation of a minor and other sex charges under both state and federal laws. We understand the complexities of these cases and the defenses that can be successfully raised—even when clients believe they are guilty. Do not take your chances without the help of an attorney. Your life is literally at stake and a conviction could affect what jobs you can apply for, where you live, and your custody of your children years after you complete your sentence.

If you have been charged with online solicitation of a minor, contact our Fairfax law office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you to obtain the best possible outcome.