Florida police recently arrested a 50-year-old sex offender, alleging that he attempted to solicit a minor boy for sex by sending him an instant message. Specifically, police claim that the man asked the boy to meet for sex. In reality, however, the underage boy was really an undercover officer.
Based on these facts, the man may not be facing charges for traveling to meet a minor for illegal sexual conduct. The police apprehended the man shortly after he sent the instant message, apparently before he traveled anywhere. However, the man will still be facing charges for solicitation of a minor, which is a serious crime. For that reason, the man will need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An attorney who has represented other defendants charged with sex crimes will understand the many ways in which social media can be used against a defendant, including instant messages, text messages, e-mails, pictures and webcam images. An attorney will also be able to determine whether there are available defenses, such as entrapment.
The man's story also illustrates the aggressive tactics by which authorities prosecute and enforce perceived sex offenders. Those facing sex offense charges often find themselves confronted with information that was obtained from invasive police searches of homes, computers, files, and other private sources.
The repercussions following a conviction for a sex offense in Florida can be equally invasive, and may extend beyond the legal system. Mandatory sex offender registration may functionally prohibit offenders from living in certain neighborhoods. Future employers may be informed of the charges, which might interfere with employment options. In fact, the way a person interacts with his or her community, friends and family can be significantly changed after receiving a sentence for a sex crime.
For all of these reasons, it is essential that anyone facing charges for a sex crime consults with an experienced criminal defense attorney at the earliest opportunity.
Source: cbs12.com, "POLICE: Boynton Beach Sex Offender Arrested After He IMs Cop Posing As Boy," Scott T. Smith, Nov. 28, 2012