In the current age of technology, you can communicate with anyone in the world with the click of a mouse or a tap on your smartphone. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat were created specifically to interact with friends, family, and even strangers if we choose. But there are some downsides to such an accessible and massive world wide web. Being charged with solicitation to meet a child because of an attempt to meet a minor on the internet is a serious criminal offense that won't be taken lightly by Illinois authorities.
If you have been charged and arrested with solicitation to meet a child in Illinois, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you explore your options and fight a criminal conviction. The legal professionals at Dolci & Weiland have the experience and expertise to help you defend your charges. We believe the first step towards success involves us answering all the questions you have about your case and make ourselves accessible when you need us.
Solicitation to Meet a Child in Illinois
According to Illinois criminal law (720 ILCS 5/11-6.6), an individual who is 18 or older commits the crime of solicitation to meet a child when he or she uses a computer, cellular phone, or any other device with intentions of meeting a child for an unlawful purpose at a location without the knowledge of the child's parent or guardian.
This crime is often charged along with other crimes involving minors like traveling to meet a child and indecent solicitation of a child.
Penalties for Solicitation to Meet a Child
Illinois references two degrees of the criminal offense solicitation to meet a child; one a misdemeanor and one a felony. The severity of the crime depends on the specifics of the crime committed.
Solicitation to meet a child is a Class 4 felony if the defendant is five or more years older than the child. It carries penalties of 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. This crime is charged as a Class A misdemeanor otherwise, punishable by up to one year in jail, two years of probation, and a maximum fine of up to $2,500.
There are major consequences imposed outside of the criminal justice system because of the stigma attached to this crime and related ones. There are known as “collateral consequences,” which are carried out by society. The mere creation of a criminal record can make it difficult to adapt to post-conviction life. Having a crime like solicitation to meet a child on your record with such a serious stigma can wreak havoc on nearly every aspect of your life.
A conviction can severely limit your opportunities to find a job, get a place to live, further your education, and even apply for government resources unless you get the conviction expunged. The most effective way to avoid this reality is to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can fight a conviction.
Registration as a Sex Offender
The most damaging and lasting penalty for solicitation to meet a child surprisingly isn't jail or prison time. It's the requirement to register as a sex offender. The Sex Offender Registry is an online database with information about people who have been charged with sex crimes. It includes photos of offenders, along with other personal information, such as their birthdate, address, and age.
The ramifications of being registered on Illinois' Sex Offender Registry are severe. Offenders are generally barred from going to locations where kids normally are, like schools and parks. The people in a registrant's neighborhood may be notified every time they make a move, and renters can deny them access to housing because of their placement on the registry.
Potential Defenses for Solicitation to Meet a Child
An Illinois criminal defense attorney has the experience and knowledge to utilize certain defenses for purposes of reducing your sentence or even dropping your charges altogether.
You intended to meet the child for a lawful reason. The most common defense asserted in these cases is that the defendant didn't arrange to meet with unlawful intentions.
Charged With Solicitation to Meet a Child? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Now
The stakes are high for people charged with solicitation to meet a child. If you are in this situation, it's imperative you secure the representation of a criminal defense attorney right now. You should never defend yourself in any case, let alone one as serious as this one. But with the help of the legal team at Dolci & Weiland, you won't have to.
To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a call at the closest office to you today. The number for The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.