The answer to the question posed in this headline is, quite simply, very. Intent in regards to the attempt to commit or the act of committing a sex crime can typically make or break a case against you if you are accused of offenses like traveling to meet a minor or online solicitation of a minor for the purposes of engaging in or facilitating a sexual act.
Law enforcement agencies devote massive resources to establishing and arguing that someone in this position knowingly or intentionally engaged in certain behaviors that would ultimately lead to an illegal act. However, with legal support, you can defend yourself and challenge their findings of intent.
Establishing intent can be crucial for prosecutors because without it, they could just have a case of an adult traveling into, out of or around Florida. In order to secure a conviction, they will typically need to show that you said or did things to purposefully engage in illegal acts, according to Florida statutes.
In many cases, prosecutors will go to great lengths to search and seize your computers, phones and other digital transmitting devices. Analysts can be called in to retrieve deleted messages or trace the source of communications. They may speak with your friends, family members and even employers. By doing all this, they hope to find evidence of exchanges that show intent to travel to meet a minor for illegal purposes.
You don’t just need to sit by and let them build a case against you. You can work with your attorney to attempt to challenge search procedures, throw out incriminating statements you may have made and/or collect testimony from people who can support your character or speak to your mental capacity at the time of an alleged act.
This is a particularly sensitive area due to the nature of the alleged crimes and the ages of the people involved. You need to understand that defending yourself can be very complicated, but it can be crucial in protecting your freedom, family and reputation.
If you are in this or a similar situation, you are urged to discuss the details with a criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and legal options.