Traveling to Meet a Minor Florida

The criminal charges of “Traveling to Meet a Minor in Florida” or “Seduction of a Child Using the Internet” typically involve highly motivated and extremely aggressive police officers who misrepresent themselves as underage children. Sometimes, the undercover officer will pose on the internet as the parent or guardian of an underage child. The officers will attempt to snare unsuspecting individuals for the following criminal offenses (sometimes vaguely worded as “Certain Use of Computer Services Prohibited”):

  • Traveling to Meet a Minor, Fla. Stat. 847.0135(4)(a)
  • Seduction of a Child Using Internet, Fla. Stat. 847.0135(3)(a)
  • Solicitation of a Child (Parent or Guardian) Using Internet, Fla. Stat. 847.0135(3)(b)
  • Possession of Child Pornography/Sexual Performance, Fla. Stat. 827.071(5)(a)
  • Transmission of Child Pornography, Fla. Stat. 847.0137
  • Transmitting Harmful Material to a Minor, Fla. Stat. 847.0138
  • Certain Use of Computer Prohibited, Fla. Stat. 847.0135(5)(a)2

Law enforcement has been known to utilize any number of different methods of online communication in carrying out their “sting” operations. This includes:

  • Internet chat rooms
  • Social networking sites
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • AOL
  • Craig’s List
  • Text Messaging or
  • Various Publications such as Backpage

The Offense of Traveling to Meet a Minor in Florida

Internet solicitation of a minor for sex is commonly charged in conjunction with the offense of “Traveling to Meet a Minor” found in Florida Statute section 847.0135(4)(b). In many scenarios, the internet solicitation charge is used to prosecute the written communication that led up to an arrangement to meet the purported minor in person for sex. The “traveling” charge is then used to prosecute the act of actually going from one place to another in order to attempt to accomplish face-to-face contact for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with the minor.

Florida Penalties for Traveling to Meet a Minor

Mandatory State Prison

Our politicians have concluded that any criminal activity that involves “minor children” and “sexual conduct” is highly unacceptable to society. Persons charged with these offenses are seen as deserving of the modern day version of the Puritan’s “scarlet letter.” The media is quick to jump on board by using emotion driven labels such as “predator” or “pedophile.” Unfortunately, this “one size fits all” attitude prevails, even where the criminal case did not involve an actual child.

Under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, this crime is scored as a level 7 offense. This translates into a minimum state prison sentence of 21 months. If you have a prior criminal record, your sentencing points will be enhanced, exposing you to a longer period of incarceration.

Mandatory Registration as a Sex Offender

A conviction for internet solicitation of a minor or traveling to meet a minor for sexual activity carries a mandatory requirement that the accused register as a sexual offender. This is a burdensome requirement that imposes numerous restraints on an individual’s liberty. See Florida Sex Offender Registry FAQ.

Mandatory Sex Offender Probation Conditions

The offense of traveling to meet a minor not only can result in a state prison sentence, but this may (and often is) followed by a relatively lengthy period of probation or community control (house arrest). The Florida Legislature has mandated that a conviction for a sex offense that results in a probationary sentence carry certain conditions that must be fulfilled during the period of supervision.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney today.

Plotnick Law, P.A. serves clients throughout the Tampa Bay Area including but not limited to; St. Petersburg, Clearwater, & Bradenton

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