A conviction for any crime in Illinois can have serious repercussions. However, being found guilty of indecent solicitation of a child can have a devastating impact on a person's life. The consequences of a sex crime do not end after a prison sentence, which can last several years. After being released from prison, the social stigma that follows a person convicted of such a charge can impact almost every facet of the person's life, from obtaining a job to finding a place to live.
If you have been charged with indecent solicitation of a child in Illinois, it's extremely important to seek representation from an experienced attorney to help you fight your charge. Dolci & Weiland's team of criminal defense attorneys are committed to helping those who face criminal charges.
Elements of Indecent Solicitation of a Child
Illinois prohibits indecent solicitation of a child through 720 ILCS 5/11-6. The statute applies to any person over the age of 17 who solicits a child to perform a sexual act. To "solicit" such an act means to "command, authorize, urge, incite, request, or advise another to perform an act by any means including, but not limited to, in person, over the phone, in writing, by computer, or by advertisement of any kind."
The language of this statute--prohibiting a sexual act "by any means"--is very broad and leads to many different situations in which a person can be charged with indecent solicitation of a child. Virtually any request to a child to engage in any form of sexual conduct can lead to such a charge.
The widespread use of the Internet has led to new avenues for a person to solicit a minor for sexual acts. As such, 720 0ILCS 5/11.6(a-5) specifically addresses solicitation via the internet, making it a crime for a person to discuss "an act of sexual conduct or sexual penetration with a child or with whom he or she believes to be a child by means of the Internet with the intent that the offense of aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault, or aggravated criminal sexual abuse be committed." Circumstances which can lead to a charge of indecent solicitation of a child via Internet usage include:
- Posting a Craigslist advertisement requesting a sexual act from an underage individual; and
- Asking an individual believed to be a minor to engage in sexual relations via a private message on social media outlets such as Facebook.
Penalties for Conviction of Indecent Solicitation of a Child
The penalties that a person can face upon conviction of a charge of indecent solicitation of a child depends on the circumstances surrounding the solicitation.
Class 1 Felony Conviction
A person convicted of indecent solicitation of a child can face a Class 1 felony conviction if the individual solicited a sexual act which, if committed, would constitute aggravated criminal sexual assault or predatory criminal sexual assault. Someone found guilty of a charge under such circumstances faces four to fifteen years of incarceration.
Class 2 Felony Conviction
A person found guilty of indecent solicitation of a child faces a Class 2 felony conviction if the sexual act solicited would have constituted criminal sexual assault of the child. A Class 2 felony conviction carries a prison sentence of three to seven years.
Class 3 Felony Conviction
If the sexual act solicited from the child would conduct aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a person convicted of indecent solicitation of a child faces a Class 3 felony conviction. Such a conviction can lead to a prison sentence between two and five years.
Class 4 Felony Conviction
If convicted, a person charged with indecent solicitation while using the Internet to discuss acts of sexual penetration faces a Class 4 felony conviction, which is accompanied by a punishment of one to three years in prison.
Registration on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry
No matter the circumstances leading to a charge of indecent solicitation of a child, conviction of the charge will lead to the requirement of registering as a sex offender on the state's sex offender registry. In many ways, this can be a much more crippling punishment than incarceration--the stigma of being a sex offender can impact almost every aspect of a person's life. Being registered as a sex offender limits how close you can live to a school or park, as well as when and how you can interact with children in your everyday life.
Potential Defenses to a Charge of Indecent Solicitation of a Child
If you've been charged with indecent solicitation of a child in the state of Illinois, it's important to retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney to help you defend against your charge. This isn't a charge that a novice attorney should attempt to take on, and certainly isn't something that should be dealt with on your own. A criminal defense attorney with years of experience can offer legal defenses which may help to mitigate the penalties that you can face upon conviction of your charge. In some cases, a defense may result in a dismissal of your charges altogether. Common defenses to a charge of indecent solicitation of a child include:
- Mistaken identity, wherein you were wrongfully accused of soliciting a minor for sexual activity when another person actually performed the solicitation;
- The person alleged to be a minor is actually 18 years of age or older; and
- Not having the requisite intent to engage in such an act with a minor.
Your criminal defense attorney will examine the circumstances surrounding your charge to determine if any legal defenses to your charge exist which could mitigate the penalties that you could face upon conviction.
Charged with Indecent Solicitation of a Child? We Can Help
If you are an Illinois resident who has been charged with indecent solicitation of a child, it's critical to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your charge. Don't wait until it is too late to obtain the representation you need to defend against your charge--conviction of indecent solicitation of a child can have a devastating, lasting impact on your future.
The criminal defense division of Dolci & Weiland's legal team is standing by to help you defend against your charge; all you have to do is make the call. To speak with a member of our team about your charge, fill out an online case evaluation form or contact the office closest to you today--for our DuPage office, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago location, contact (312) 238-9007.