You often hear stories of law enforcement authorities catching would-be sexual predators online by posing as intended victims of said predators’ actions. Like most in Irvine, you likely have no problem with such actions due to two assumptions, the first being that you would never put yourself in a position to solicit any form of sexual conduct with a minor. The second is that such police action is only done in response to a predator attempting to locate a juvenile victim. Yet as many of those that have come to our team here at Ron Cordova Attorney at Law seeking assistance have discovered, that is not always the case.
Section 288.3 of the California Penal Code makes it illegal for anyone to contact or communicate with a minor online with the intent to commit an offense. An unintended consequence of this law, however, is that officials are now able to use the Internet as a tool to ensnare potentially unsuspecting people of alleged crimes. Imagine, for a moment, that you engage in online contact with one who identifies themselves as a minor. That person may use any sort of language to entice you into a potential sexual encounter, including:
What you do not know is that person could be a law enforcement officer willing to use your consent to their advances as evidence that you are a sexual predator and charge you with a crime.
It should be noted, however, that entrapment is a valid defense to a criminal accusation is such a case. You could reasonably argue that the officer was overzealous in their efforts, thus causing you to consent to something you otherwise would not have. More information on responding to accusations of internet crime can be found throughout our site.