Unlawful Contact with a Minor
There’s always a lot of media attention around online interactions with minors leading to criminal charges. But when you are the one accused, it is a terrifying experience.
If you are charged with unlawful contact with a minor in Philadelphia, you need an experienced sex crime attorney, who can explain the process, deal with things carefully, and who’s capable of securing the best possible result. This could mean avoiding charges before they are officially filed, reducing the charge to something more appropriate, getting a dismissal, or fighting to clear your name in court.
With a history of favorable results for his clients, attorney Michael Fienman is a Philadelphia unlawful contact with a minor attorney who knows how these cases work and what it takes to move on with your freedom, reputation, and record intact. Contact us online or call (215) 839-9529 for a free and confidential consultation.
Unlawful Contact With A Minor Charges
Often the minors that adults make contact with online are actually police officers taking part in sting operations. But whether it’s a police decoy or parent who discovers the interaction, the result is the same: a humiliating arrest and the risk of jail, a sex offender registration, and the scorn of spouses, family, friends, and coworkers.
A person commits unlawful contact with a minor in Pennsylvania, if they intentionally contact a minor, or a law enforcement officer pretending to be a minor, to try to meet them for a sexual act. An example would be if a 30-year-old emails an explicit picture to someone he/she believes is 13 and asks to come over and have sex:
- Usually the communication occurs over the Internet, in a chat room or through email, but it can also take place through text messages.
- The offender does not have to make direct contact with the minor or police decoy to be charged.
Unlawful Contact With A Minor Penalties
Unlawful contact with a minor is a felony of the third degree. It is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Registered Sex Offender
If convicted of unlawful contact with a minor, you must register as a sex offender under the Sexual Offender and Notification Act. Your name and information about your conviction will be placed on a list available on the Internet for all to see.
This means that everyone from the people who live down the street to your boss will know about your offense, and it will make life far more difficult and embarrassing for you.
What If You Are Charged with Unlawful Contact?
If you are charged with unlawful contact with a minor, do not make state statements to the police without a lawyer or try to contact the minor in question.
You will probably be held in jail overnight. Remember, do not discuss what happened with the police or try to explain the situation. Do not tell the police you were just kidding or that the alleged victim wanted to talk to you.
- As with most criminal charges, what you say can be taken out of context and used against you.
- If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.
What Your Defense Lawyer Can Do
When you meet with your attorney, he or she will review your case to determine if there is evidence to support the charges against you.
From there your attorney will :
- Investigate to see if there is any evidence that supports you version of events.
- Work to discredit /limit the evidence against you.
The Benfit of Working with an Attorney
When you are up against an unlawful contact with minors charge, you need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way. From the pretrial hearing to motions, and even a trial, your lawyer will work to discredit any evidence – and help determine your best course of action.
For example, undercover operations that target people for this type of offense are fraught with errors and oversights. If a police mistake led to you being charged, your attorney can fight to have that information excluded. If computer evidence reveals that someone else was actually the one communicating with the child, your lawyer can present that evidence to the prosecutor or in court.
Pennsylvania Unlawful Contact with Minors Law
Unlawful contact with minors is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 31. Read the code here.
Questions? Contact us today.
Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible.