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How Do Chatroom and Other Online Stings Work?

Today, digital communication facilitates the commission of numerous sex crimes. Consequently, authorities began setting up sting operations to catch online sexual predators. The operations primarily target suspects engaging in illegal sexual conversations or encounters with minors. If you are caught in an online sting, Florida sex crimes defense attorneys employ effective case strategies to protect your rights.

Agents can pose as minors in online chatrooms and try to induce a suspect to do something illegal. Usually, at some point in the conversation, agents mention or allude to the fact that they are under the age of 18 or even 15. Whatever they say can be a lie, of course, but lying is legal for agents and law enforcement conducting investigations. However, entrapment is illegal, and challenging the prosecution based on entrapment is an affirmative defense in a sex crime case. Entrapment involves inducing suspects to take part in a criminal act in which they would not otherwise participate. Federal prosecutors typically argue that the defendant was already inclined to commit the crime and would have done so anyway, despite the fact the government agent had suggested it or helped with the commission of the crime. Realize that the mere action of continuing sexual conversations with minors after they directly or implicitly disclose their age is a federal crime.

At the first intimation that you are under investigation for a sex crime, you should consult with a Jacksonville sex crimes lawyer. The best opportunity for effective criminal defense is prior to arrest or indictment. However, afterward there are still tactics an experienced lawyer can use to protect your rights.

Robert Shafer & Associates has more than 80 years of combined experience defending clients’ rights in criminal cases.

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