In Virginia, online solicitation of a minor is a very serious crime. The law entails a minimum mandatory five-year jail sentence for soliciting a minor online.
Soliciting minor online falls under the code of Virginia § 18.2-374.3, which is called use of communication systems or electronic devices to facilitate certain offenses including children. This law is used to impeach those accused of using communication systems in an attempt to be involved in sexual activity with a minor.
It shall be illegal for any person to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means for the purposes of obtaining or promoting the use of a child for any activity in violation of 18.2-374.1 or 18.2-370. A violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony which has severe penalties and charges.
“It shall be unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or computer networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means, for the purposes of soliciting any person he knows or has reason to believe is a child less than 18 years of age for (i) any activity in violation of 18.2-355 or 18.2-361, (ii) any activity in violation of 18.2-374.1, (iii) a violation of 18.2-374.1:1, or (iv) any activity in violation of subsection A of 18.2-370. As used in this subsection, “use a communications system” means making personal contact or direct contact through any agent or agency, any print medium, the United States mail, any common carrier or communication common carrier, any electronic communications system, or any telecommunications, wire, computer, or radio communications system. A violation of this subsection is a Class 5 felony. However, if the person is at least seven years older than the child he knows or has reason to believe is less than 15 years of age, the person shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years nor more than 30 years in a state correctional facility, five years of which shall be mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Any person who commits a second or subsequent violation of this subsection when the person is at least seven years older than the child he knows or has reason to believe is less than 15 years of age shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years nor more than 40 years, 10 years of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.”
These crimes can range from sexual abuse, aggravated sexual battery, child molestation, Internet solicitation, indecent exposure, indecent liberties, sodomy, rape, or object sexual penetration. These also include “statutory rape,” which is often charged as “Unlawful Carnal Knowledge of a Child.”
Some of the most dreadful crimes in Virginia that occur involve minors. Most of the time, these acts begin as a cybercrime in Virginia. Such acts like online solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography happen regularly. Whether a person made a mistake or was incorrectly accused, there must be a defense lodged to avoid conviction and its penalties.