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Are Police Stings Legal in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Collin County sex crimes defense attorneyMost people know that using the internet to look for sex with minors in Texas is a crime. Likewise, many people know that police conduct “sting” operations to find people looking to engage in criminal behavior. But sometimes, police conduct crosses a line and people get caught in sting operations and charged with crimes of which they are innocent. 

If you were caught in an internet sting operation, you may feel shame and fear and wonder what will happen to you. With a great criminal defense attorney, you can fight these unfair charges and have hope for a better future. 

What Counts as Online Solicitation of a Minor? 

When someone 17 years of age or older tries to use any form of electronic communication to get a minor to engage in sexual activity, including just sexual conversation, this is considered online solicitation of a minor whether the sexual activity occurs online or in person. Sending explicit photos and “sexting” with explicit language - two very common activities among young adults - are included in this crime. 

Even if you did not actually intend to meet up with a minor, you can be charged with online solicitation. Someone can be successfully convicted of a felony for soliciting a minor online but never actually have met a minor in real life - the law is really that strict. This is true even if the person was not actually a minor but only a person who was believed to be a minor, such as a police officer pretending to be a minor. 

Can Entrapment Be a Defense in an Online Police Sting? 

If you are thinking that this seems like a lot of power to give to police, you are right. People who are arrested for these crimes can have their names published in the news and receive humiliating public treatment, even if they are eventually exonerated. 

You may be wondering whether a police sting counts as entrapment, which is when a police officer induces someone into committing a crime they would not otherwise have committed. For online stings in Texas, however, entrapment is rarely a successful defense. Whether the police officer contacted the alleged perpetrator first, or vice versa, does not matter; all the matters is whether the alleged perpetrator believed he or she was talking to someone under age 17. 

However, entrapment may be a successful defense if a police officer tries to persuade someone to commit online solicitation of a minor, rather than simply presenting the opportunity to do so. This can be difficult to prove and requires the help of an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney. 

Get Help from a Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been caught committing a crime because of deceptive police tactics, you probably feel angry and indignant - and rightfully so. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our Dallas criminal defense attorneys fight passionately to protect our clients from manipulative behavior by those who are supposed to be protecting and serving us. Let us build you the strongest defense possible so you can fight against the crime you are being accused of. Call us today at 214-303-9600 to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Source: 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/docs/PE/htm/PE.33.htm

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