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WHAT QUALIFIES AS SOLICITATION OF A MINOR?

Stephen Wolfe Jan. 7, 2022

If you are facing charges for solicitation of a minor – also known as “importuning” in Ohio – your freedom is on the line. In addition to facing the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, you may also be required to register as a sex offender.

Solicitation of a minor is a serious charge that carries severe penalties. If you have been arrested for or charged with importuning in or around Columbus, Ohio, consider speaking with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe Law Group, LLC are prepared to help you fight the charges and push for the best possible outcome in your case. The firm also serves clients in Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, and Hilliard, Ohio, as well as surrounding counties. 

Solicitation of a Minor (Importuning) in Ohio 

The criminal justice system in Ohio treats allegations of importuning seriously. Solicitation of a minor is a criminal offense that involves an individual who attempts to engage in sexual activity with a minor. There are various types of solicitation of a minor charges depending on the solicited person’s age:

  • Soliciting a child under the age of 13;

  • Soliciting a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 if the offender is at least 18 years old and at least four years older than the alleged victim; and

  • Soliciting a minor aged 16 or 17 when the solicited person is a victim of human trafficking and the offender is older than 18 and at least four years older than the alleged victim.

A large percentage of importuning charges in Ohio results from the online solicitation of a minor. This form of solicitation involves communication with a minor through the Internet or any electronic messaging services, text messages, emails, or chat rooms. According to The New York Times, approximately one in five children are solicited by strangers online.  

Possible Penalties for Solicitation of a Minor

Solicitation of a minor in Ohio is charged as a felony and carries harsh penalties. Possible penalties for importuning depend on the degree of the felony, the age of the alleged victim, and the defendant’s prior convictions for sex crimes. The younger the solicited person, the harsher the penalties. A defendant may also face severe penalties if they have been previously convicted of a sex crime.

Penalties for solicitation of a minor can affect you adversely for the rest of your life. That is why it is critical to fight the charges to prove your innocence or get the charges reduced. Consider discussing your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney to identify your defense options.

Possible Defenses to Solicitation Charges

There are several possible defenses to fight against solicitation of a minor charges in Ohio. Your criminal defense attorney will review your unique case and determine which defenses are appropriate for your particular circumstances. Defenses to importuning charges include but are not limited to:

  • You were not the one who solicited the minor (in the case of online solicitation, you might argue that someone else had access to your computer or phone);

  • The alleged victim lied about their age;

  • You reasonably believed that the alleged victim was an adult;

  • You were entrapped by law enforcement; or

  • You are falsely accused of solicitation.

An attorney may also use other defense strategies to prove your case and help you avoid harsh punishment for importuning in Ohio. The appropriate defense strategy depends on the circumstances of your particular case.

Criminal Defense Experience You Can Trust

If you are facing criminal charges for solicitation of a minor, you need a criminal defense attorney you can trust. The compassionate and results-driven attorneys at Wolfe Law Group, LLC are dedicated to aggressively representing individuals facing importuning and other sex crime charges involving minors.

Wolfe Law Group, LLC serves clients facing criminal charges in Columbus, Ohio, and throughout Licking County, Newark, Heath, Granville, Fairfield County, Lancaster, Pickerington, Delaware County, Delaware, Lewis Center, and Powell.