Whether you frequent adult dating apps or internet forums, meeting online friends or potential partners is a fun and exciting time for many. However, if you build a relationship or send messages back and forth with someone, only to find out they are underage, you may feel your blood run cold. This is the reality for many, as anonymity allows many to misrepresent their age online. If you’re worried because you talked to a minor online, the following blog explores what you must know about these matters, how it could evolve into a sexual communication with a minor charge, and why you must contact an Oklahoma City sex crimes lawyer.

Is Talking to a Minor Online Illegal?

When you are chatting online with someone you believe to be over the age of 18, it can be nerve-wracking to learn they are underage. However, it’s important to understand that simply messaging with a minor online, though not necessarily a good idea, is not inherently illegal.

If the conversation becomes sexual, however, this is where things become tricky. If the conversation turns sexual and then it’s revealed the person is underage, you should immediately cease all communication. This can help show that it was a mistake if legal action arises. However, if you know the person is underage and turn the conversation into that of a sexual one, or continue the conversation after they reveal their true age, you will likely face charges for sexual communication with a minor.

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Communication With a Minor?

If you’re charged with sexual communication with a minor in Oklahoma, the penalties can be intense. This is a felony offense, carrying the potential for ten years in prison and a fine of $10,000. However, this is per communication, meaning you can have severe consequences for these actions. In addition to prison time, you will also likely have to register as a Level 2 sex offender.

It’s critical to understand that you can face this charge even if no physical sexual contact occurred or if you had no intention of actually meeting up with the underage child. Simply having conversations of a sexual nature with someone under the age of 18 can warrant this charge.

What Should I Do if I’m Charged?

If you are charged with sexual communication with a minor, it is imperative to connect with an experienced felony defense attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many assume they can beat the charges on their own, which is far from the truth. In reality, this is a very complex matter, so putting your case in the hands of an experienced attorney is critical to fighting for the best possible outcome.

At the Jones Firm, PLLC, we understand how intimidating it can be to face a sex crime. That’s why our team will do everything possible to assist you during these matters by examining all potential avenues for defense. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you.