Alachua police arrested a Gainesville man Sunday after they allege he drove with a 16-year-old to an empty field, where they smoked marijuana and the man allegedly exposed his genitals.
The 33-year-old is accused of driving to the Hal Brady Recreation Center in Alachua at 11:53 Saturday night, according to an arrest report. An officer approached the vehicle because it was unusual for someone to be there that late when no sporting event was taking place, the report said.
The officer smelled marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, where the man was in the driver’s seat and the teen in the front passenger seat, the report said.
At first, the man apparently told the officer the teen was a cousin and they had driven out to discuss family issues, the report said. The report said he later told police they were not related, met online and exchanged inappropriate photos before the man traveled to the area to meet the teen and have sex with him.
The man is charged with traveling to meet with a minor, transmission of harmful information to a minor, indecent exposure and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bail was set at $80,000.
In the state of Florida, any person that attempts to solicit a minor for sexual activity through the internet or any other type of electronic device can be arrested and charged with traveling to meet a minor. The accused must have traveled some distance, however short, in order for him or her to be convicted of traveling to meet a minor. For example, even if the accused left their home and went to a street corner or even to a neighbor’s house, they will likely be found to have met this element. In addition, any person that travels either within the state of Florida or in or out of Florida with the intention of meeting a minor can be charged with traveling to meet a minor.
Our Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have successfully defended many individuals accused of traveling to meet a minor. In defending yourself against charges of traveling to meet a minor,we will need to carefully analyze the evidence the prosecution has available and any favorable evidence that you may have knowledge of that could help with your case. If the prosecution fails to prove each and every element of the crime of traveling to meet a minor beyond a reasonable doubt, then you will be acquitted of the charge.
Potential Penalties in Florida for Traveling to Meet a Minor
Florida law classifies traveling to meet a minor as a second-degree felony. This offense carries a minimum prison sentence of 21 months and can be up to 15 years. A conviction may also include a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years of probation. In addition, you will be required to register as a sex offender in the national database.
Being charged with traveling to meet a minor is embarrassing and scary. These charges will not go away on their own and are very serious. The State often seeks to make examples out of those individuals facing these charges, which is why it is so important to obtain legal counsel as soon as you have been arrested. Being convicted of a sex crime carries a lifelong brand of being a registered sex offender. In addition, you may face a lengthy prison sentence.
Due to the fact that the penalties for traveling to meet a minor can be quite severe, it is important to have a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side. Our Florida Traveling to Meet A Minor Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help you understand your charges and determine the best possible defense strategy to use in order to get the accusations against you dropped or lessened. We will take into account all of the evidence against you when formulating a defense strategy specifically designed to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential. We are available 24/7 to advise you on what steps to take to influence the best possible outcome for your charges. We have consultation offices throughout the state of Florida, including Gainesville, Spring Hill, Boca Raton, Naples, Tampa and St. Petersburg. Once you reach out to us, we can meet with you at no charge to go over the facts of your case.
I have been to this office three different times and have not one complaint! Always prompt and on point. I wouldn't pick any other office! Rosemary Sanchez
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