Many high-profile and highly regarded people make the mistake of “cruising” online websites in search of an escort only to learn that they have been swept up in an online sting operation. With the rise of web-based sex crimes, law enforcement agencies have become more effective and aggressive in their efforts to entrap those with no criminal history into situations that lead to their arrest. If you or your loved one is facing criminal prosecution after responding to online advertising or communication with an undercover agent, you need an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney with an understanding of the way that law enforcement uses social media, the Internet, and related technologies to illegally entrap otherwise law abiding individuals.
Cook County criminal defense attorney David L. Freidberg has over two decades of experience tenaciously defending the rights of people from all walks of life while passionately fighting to protect their reputation and liberty. Mr. Freidberg leaves no stone unturned when representing clients charged with sex crimes such as internet solicitation. At The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, we recognize that the stigma associated with an internet solicitation conviction and the requirement of lifetime registration as a sex offender can mean that your punishment endures long after your release from jail or prison. With so much at stake, you need a seasoned litigator in your corner who is prepared to dissect every aspect of the prosecutor’s case and to expose every instance of misconduct and overreaching by law enforcement officers. Our team of qualified associates, experienced investigators, and computer forensic experts work closely with Mr. Freidberg in crafting the most effective defense strategies.What Constitutes Internet Solicitation of Adults in Illinois?
Law enforcement agencies are using online advertising services as a way to crackdown on the illegal sex trade. Our criminal defense attorneys represent people of both genders who are arrested for advertising sex services or soliciting prostitutes online. Internet solicitation in this context essentially consists of seeking or arranging for services to provide sexual gratification over the internet in exchange for something of value.
Criminal cases involving online solicitation can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony sex crime. The penalties can include jail (prison) time, fines, formal probation, sex offender registration, probation and more. Solicitation offenses can constitute a Class A misdemeanor and even a felony in certain circumstances. If a minor is involved, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony and face mandatory registration as a sex offender. Conviction of a Class 3 felony carries a prison sentence of up to five years in state prison.
If you are arrested as part of an internet sting operation by the Cook County Sheriff or the Chicago police, you could face immediate negative consequences. These law enforcement agencies along with many others often publish the picture and name of individuals arrested for online solicitation and list the charged offense. This public disclosure can damage your job and personal relationships.
When law enforcement officers use sting operations or undercover officers to lure individuals into online solicitation of a prostitute, these law enforcement tactics can open the door to defenses based on entrapment or other improprieties in the prosecution’s evidence. Because Mr. Freidberg has handled hundreds of sex offense cases, he has extensive experience identifying these unlawful tactics to leverage a compromise plea for diversion, pretrial dismissal or a favorable jury verdict at trial.Arrests for Internet Solicitation of Children in Cook County
Internet solicitation that involves a person under the age of 17 can result in very serious penalties. This type of child sex crime can take three separate forms: (1) Electronic Enticement, (2) Luring a Minor, and (3) Indecent Solicitation. An accused cannot base a defense to any of the offenses below on the fact that the alleged victim is actually a law enforcement officer rather than a child. The prosecutor can seek a conviction for these offenses as long as the accused believed that the alleged victim was the relevant age.
- Electronic Enticement [720 ILCS 5/11-6.6]: If a person uses a computer, cell phone, or other type of device to set up a meeting to commit an illicit act with a child under the age of 17 without a parent or guardian’s permission, this constitutes electronic enticement of a child. An example of this offense might include an adult encouraging a 15-year-old girl to sneak away and meet at a motel to engage in sex acts. This offense is a Class 4 felony that carries a punishment of 1-4 years in prison and a maximum fine up to $25,000.
- Luring a Minor [720 ILCS 5/10-5.1]: An adult who uses electronic means like a social network or website to contact or communicate with a child under the age of 15 to arrange a meeting for an illicit purpose (such as sex acts) without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian can be charged with this offense. Our internet solicitation attorneys might assert defenses that include your reasonable belief the child was over the age of 16 or that you were providing assistance during an emergency. A conviction of luring a minor is considered a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.
- Indecent Solicitation [720 ILCS 5/11-6]: Any person age 17 or older commits this offense by engaging in any of the following with the intent to commit sexual abuse of a child: (1) discuss a sex act over the internet with a child under the age of 17; or (2) to request or command a child under the age of 17 to engage in a sex act over electronic means, the phone or in person. It is important to keep in mind that the offense does not require any actual sexual abuse because the mere solicitation constitutes the offense. This offense can be a Class 1, 2 or 3 felony and carry a penalty of 2-15 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. The precise nature of the charge and punishment is contingent on the intended child sexual abuse.
In addition to these offense, the act of merely discussing sex with a child on the Internet constitutes a Class 4 felony that can be punished by 1-4 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.Speak to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!
The Chicago internet solicitation criminal defense law firm of David L. Freidberg, P.C. is dedicated to protecting the rights of citizens from overzealous law enforcement officers and prosecutors who engage in a rush to judgment. We carefully analyze the underlying facts and law enforcement tactics so that we can build the strongest factual and procedural defenses to internet sex offenses and crimes involving children. We offer a free consultation so please contact us or call 312-560-7100 or email us. Let us start protecting your reputation and freedom today! We are available 24/7 for your convenience.