Internet access is more prevalent than ever. Millions of American log on to email and other platforms on the World Wide Web every single day.
As an indirect result, states have passed what's commonly referred to as computer crimes-or illegal activities that utilize a computer, internet or network.
Florida's Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act
The state of Florida, for instance, passed the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act. A section of the law referred to as "traveling to meet a minor," essentially makes it illegal for any person to travel to meet a minor for sex whom he or she met online.
In detail, the law specifically says that:
- Any person who uses an electronic device to "seduce, solicit, lure or entice" (or attempt to)
- A minor (or another person portrayed as a minor), and
- Thereafter travels within the state of Florida (or travels outside the state)
- To engage in unlawful sexual conduct (as referenced under the law)
- With that minor (or another person portrayed as a minor)
- Is guilty of a second degree felony.
For purposes of the law, a minor is classified as an individual under 18 years of age.
Traveling to meet a minor: penalties
The penalties for those convicted of such as offense are severe. Individuals charged will face felony charges, a minimum 21 month prison sentence and up to a maximum sentence of 15 years. Depending on the circumstances, offenders can also pay up to $10,000 in fines. Sex offender probation will also be assessed upon release.
It's important to also understand that the meeting with the minor doesn't instigate the charge. Each separate use of a computer device used to talk or discuss meeting arrangements with that minor will be one offense.
For instance, any individual who communicated with a minor via an online platform five times before actually meeting up in person, will likely face five different counts of the offense of traveling to meet a minor. And, the more counts, the more aggressive the penalties.
Consulting with a Florida criminal defense lawyer
Due to the severity of repercussion associated with this crime other computer crime offenses, speaking with a criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in this area of law is advised-particularly if a sting, potential entrapment or other undercover law enforcement techniques were utilized.
A lawyer can advocate for your rights under the law and help mitigate potential consequences faced.