Traveling to Meet a Minor for the Purpose of Sexual Conduct - Florida Statute 847.0135(4)

sex offenses

Florida Statute 847.0135(4) makes it a crime to travel to meet a minor for the purpose of committing sexual conduct. Subsection (3) of Section 847.0135 is often charged together with this crime because subsection (3) makes it a crime to solicit a child or parent, guardian, or custodian about sexual conduct. Basically, a defendant solicits sexual conduct with a child and then someone travels for the purpose of the child and the defendant meeting; thus, both crimes are normally committed together and then prosecuted together.

Dateline NBC’s show “To Catch a Predator” has televised this crime happening many times. An undercover officer will pose as a child in a chatroom and someone will bring up sex. As the conversation goes on, the defendant and the decoy officer arrange to meet somewhere. The defendant drives to the location, is confronted by the news reporter, and then the defendant is arrested.

There are two crimes listed in subsection four: (1) traveling to meet a minor and (2) traveling to meet a minor facilitated by a parent, guardian, or custodian.

Florida Statute 847.0135(4 )(a) - Traveling to Meet a Minor

This crime, traveling to meet a minor, is very frequently charged alongside the crime of using a computer to solicit a child for sex over the computer under Section 847.0135(3)(a).

This crime can be committed with different people traveling. The defendant doesn’t have to travel to meet the minor; the defendant could have someone else do the traveling for him. For example, the defendant could get his friend to pick up the child.

What the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant

The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant used the internet or a phone capable of sending messages to seduce, solicit, lure, entice, attempt to seduce solicit, lure, entice a child or a person believed by the defendant to be a child to engage in any illegal act under chapter 794, 800, 827, or other unlawful sexual conduct; and

(2) The defendant then traveled, attempted to travel, caused another to travel, attempted to cause another to travel within this state, to this state, or from this state for the purpose of violating chapter 794, 800, 827, or for having unlawful sexual conduct with a child or a person believed by the defendant to be a child.

Chapter 794 deals with sexual battery, Chapter 800 deals with lewdness or indecent exposure, and Chapter 827 deals with child abuse.

Florida Statute 847.0135(4 )(b)- Traveling to Meet a Minor Facilitated by a Parent, Guardian, or Custodian

This scenario typically happens like this, a police officer poses as a parent or relative of the child and discusses with the defendant about him being a “sexual mentor” of some sort to the daughter or niece. The defendant agrees and then someone travels to have them meet. The traveling doesn’t have to be done by the defendant; the parent of the child could bring the child to the defendant.

What the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant

The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant used a computer device, internet, cell phone capable of messaging to solicit, lure, entice, attempt to solicit, lure, or entice a parent, legal guardian, or custodian, or person believed by the defendant to be a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a child to consent for the child or person believed by the defendant to be a child to participate in a violation of chapter 794, 800, or 827 or sexual conduct; and

(2) The defendant then traveled, attempted to travel, caused another to travel, or attempted to cause another to travel within this state, to this state, or from this state for the purpose of engaging in any illegal act described in chapter 794, 800, or 827 or for unlawful sexual conduct with a child or a person believed by the defendant to be a child.

Chapter 794 deals with sexual battery, Chapter 800 deals with lewdness or indecent exposure, and Chapter 827 deals with child abuse.

Defenses

The age of the police officer cannot be used as a defense. The defendant only had to believe that the police officer was a child, not the officer was a child.

Punishment

Either one of these crimes is considered a second-degree felony which is punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Both crimes are ranked as level 7 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.

Other Consequences

A conviction of either crime will result in the defendant being designated a sexual offender. Sexual offenders have many reporting and registration requirements which require constant update to law enforcement about any changes.

It is going to be difficult for the person designated a sexual offender to find a job because his name will be publically displayed on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website as a sexual offender and this conviction cannot be expunged from his record.

Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

A conviction will carry serious consequences. If you have been arrested and charged with this crime, contact out law firm. These cases can be difficult and are hard to win because law enforcement has been compiling evidence against you. It is important that our attorneys speak with you to understand your version of the story. We will develop a defense strategy to your case. Sometimes cases cannot be won because the evidence is too great. It is up to you to either take the case to trial or allow us to negotiate a plea deal. If you want us to negotiate a deal, we can create a mitigation package to convince the prosecutor and judge to give you a lesser sentence. However, if you choose to proceed with the case to trial, we will fight for you. Call us today so we can help you.

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