If you suddenly find yourself facing a charge of electronic child enticement, especially if you were ignorant of the fact that the individual you were chatting with was under the age of 18, you likely have a number of questions and concerns regarding your case. While your criminal law attorney can provide you with the most accurate information, below are the answers to three important questions surrounding electronic child enticement.
Am I Considered Responsible if I Truly Didn't Know?
As the nature of each case is individual, and as each state handles such cases differently, your lawyer will be able to best explain. You may, however, be able to claim ignorance or claim that any reasonable adult in your situation would have come to the same conclusion as you. This does not mean that you won't be charged, however.
It's important to understand that states treat child enticement cases very differently. Some states are more lenient than others when it comes to ignorance of a minor's age, such as Massachusetts, where a person cannot be convicted if they believed they were communicating online with an adult. In Michigan, however, such a defense would not hold up in court and the individual can still be convicted.
What Proof Can I Provide to the Courts?
If your lawyer feels that the defense of ignorance is your best bet at receiving a lesser charge, or having your case dropped altogether, you will likely need to provide some kind of proof that the underage party lied.
For your defense to stand, you'll need to prove that at the time of the crime you had no reason to believe that the individual was a minor. You can prove this with copies of text messages or chat logs where the minor provided you with a false age. You may even be able to show that based on where you were chatting, such as an adult site that requires members to be 18+, you had no reason to question the age of who you were chatting with.
What Consequences Am I Facing if Convicted?
Each state has their own penalties related to child enticement, but no matter what state you're in, the consequences of a conviction of child enticement can be life altering.
In Michigan, for example, where ignorance cannot be used as a defense, the crime of electronic child enticement can earn you up to four years and prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If you're unable to prove you were ignorant of the individual's age however and are convicted in Massachusetts, you could find yourself spending up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Your state will also likely require you to register as a sex offender.
The information offered above in no way is a substitute for legal advice. To learn more about what you can do to fight the conviction, set up a consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, such as the Law Offices Of Jerald Silvia, today.
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