What is the Offense of Online Solicitation?

  • Posted on: Mar 16 2023
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The state of Virginia aggressively prosecutes people who are charged with sex offenses. The consequences of a sex crime conviction in Virginia include incarceration, fines, and inclusion on the sex offender registry. In addition, a conviction for a sexual offense of any kind often results in multiple collateral consequences for the offender. Online solicitation is a type of sex offense in Virginia that involves the solicitation of a minor using an electronic device. In this article, we take a closer look at online solicitation in Virginia. 

What is Online Solicitation? 

The online solicitation of a minor in Virginia involves engaging in an electronic communication with a minor in which an individual solicits or asks a minor to meet with him or her in person to engage in a sexual act. The statute is written in a broad manner, and it covers a wide range of activities. Specifically, online solicitation can involve the use of practically any electronic device, including a computer or cell phone.

Violations Under the Online Solicitation Law

Virginia’s solicitation statute outlines several actions that can constitute violations of the law. Specifically, a person violates the online solicitation statute if he: 

Exposes his genitals to a minor to whom he is not legally married or suggests that the minor exposes his genitals;

Suggests that a minor touch his own or the adult’s genitals or that the adult feel the minor’s genitals; 

Suggests that the minor engage in an unlawful sexual act; or

Suggests that a minor enter into a home, vehicle, or any other place to carry out any of the aforementioned unlawful acts. 

Online Solicitation Penalties

In Virginia, online solicitation is charged as a felony and is punishable as follows: 

If the offender is at least seven years older than the minor, or the minor is under 15 years old, then the offender faces between five and 30 years in prison. However, the mandatory minimum sentence in this situation is five years in prison.

If the minor is between the ages of 15 and 18 years old, the offender could face between one and ten years in prison. 

A person who is convicted of online solicitation in Virginia could be forced to pay a fine of up to  $2,500. 

Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you have been charged with online solicitation in Virginia, you must act quickly. Specifically, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to defend you against your charges. At Walker Jones, PC, our criminal defense lawyers are ready to aggressively defend you against your online solicitation charges. When you come to us for assistance, we will protect your rights and do everything in our power to obtain a successful result in your criminal case. Please contact us to arrange an initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Posted in: Criminal Defense, Online Solicitation