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Houston Attorney Explains Online Solicitation of a Minor

Under Penal Code Section 33.021, the Texas statute for online solicitation of a minor defines the term "minor" to include any individual who represents that he or she is younger than 17 years old or any person whom the defendant believes to be under the age of 17.

Most of the time an arrest under this statute is made after an elaborate sting operation that uses an undercover officer to pose as a child. Law enforcement officers have become much better at using these sting operations to gather evidence against the person accused. Furthermore, the statute has been designed to eliminate the most common explanations given by the person accused to show that there was no intention to actual carry through with the act.

Texas Online Solicitation Lawyer

If you have been arrested for online solicitation of a minor then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Matt Horak represents clients charged with this serious sexual offense of online solicitation of a minor in Houston for Harris County or The Woodlands for Montgomery County, Texas.

Call Horak Law locally at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009.


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Online Solicitation of a Minor under Texas Penal Code Section 33.021(b)

An offense for online solicitation of a minor under Subsection (b) is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the minor is younger than 14 years of age or is an individual whom the actor believes to be younger than 14 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense.

Under Subsection (b), the prosecutor is required to prove the elements of the crime of online solicitation of a minor beyond all reasonable doubt include proving that:

  • the defendant is 17 years of age or older;
  • the defendant acts with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;
  • over the Internet,
    • by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or
    • through a commercial online service
  • intentionally;
  • communicates in a sexually explicit manner with a minor; or
  • distributes sexually explicit material to a minor.

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Defenses to Online Solicitation of a Minor under Texas Penal Code Section 33.021(b)

It is a defense to prosecution for online solicitation of a child under this section that at the time conduct described by Subsection (b) or (c) was committed

  • the defendant was not more than three years older than the minor and the minor consented to the conduct; or
  • the defendant was married to the minor.

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Online Solicitation of a Minor under Texas Penal Code Section 33.021(c)

An offense under Subsection (c) is a felony of the second degree if conduct that constitutes online solicitation also constitutes an offense under any other law. In fact, the defendant may be prosecuted under this criminal statute, the other law, or both.

Under Subsection (c), the prosecutor is required to prove the elements of the crime of online solicitation of a minor beyond all reasonable doubt including proving that:

  • the defendant act
    • over the Internet,
    • by electronic mail or
    • text message or
    • other electronic message service or system, or
    • through a commercial online service,
  • knowingly solicits a minor to meet another person, including the actor;
  • with the intent that the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with the actor or another person. 

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Defenses to Online Solicitation of a Minor under Texas Penal Code Section 33.021(c)

It is not a defense to prosecution for online solicitation of a minor under Subsection (c) that

  • the defendant did not intend for the meeting to occur;
  • the meeting did not actually occur or
  • the defendant was engaged in a fantasy at the time of commission of the offense

It is a defense to prosecution under this section that at the time conduct described by Subsection (c) was committed

the actor was married to the minor; or

  • the actor was not more than three years older than the minor and the minor consented to the conduct

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Definitions Use in the Texas Statute for Online Solicitation of a Minor

Texas Penal Code Section 21.01(3) generally defines the following terms used in the statutory scheme:

  • “sexual contact;”
  • “sexual intercourse;” and
  • “deviate sexual intercourse.”

As defined in Texas Penal Code Section 43.25.(b), the statutory scheme for the crime of online solicitation of a minor defines the term “sexually explicit” to mean any language, communication, material, video image or photographic that describes or relates to sexual conduct.


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Finding a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney for Online Solicitation of a Minor

If you have been charged with the criminal offense of online solicitation of a minor than contact an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Matt Horak represents clients charged with this serious offense of online solicitation of a minor in The Woodlands for Montgomery County and Houston for Harris County, Texas.

Call Horak Law locally at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009.


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Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
Our Office in Houston
5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014