Solicitation of a minor to commit an unlawful sex act by a computer or other electronic means is made criminal by N.C. G.S. § 14-202.3. If you are 16 or older and “entice, advise, coerce, order or command” a minor under the age of 16 and who is at least five years younger than you are to meet with you to engage in an unlawful sex act, you can be charged with solicitation of a minor in North Carolina.
Online solicitation is a Class H felony. If you actually meet with the minor or show up at the scheduled meeting, regardless of whether the minor also shows up, you may face a Class G felony.
Simply asking a minor to meet you with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual conduct, without actually setting up a meeting time and location may lead to solicitation charges. North Carolina courts have interpreted the language of the statute broadly in prior cases.
Punishment For Soliciting A Child
A Class H sex offense is punishable by a minimum of five to six months of an inactive, intermediate or active prison sentence, depending on the circumstances of the crime and any prior criminal history.
A Class G sex offense is punishable by 10 to 13 months of an intermediate or active prison sentence, again depending upon the details of the crime as well as your prior record level.
Online enticement of a minor is a sex offense that, upon conviction, will require registration as a sex offender. As a Class G or H felony sex offense, it is not subject to longer maximum prison sentences under North Carolina’s structured sentencing for sex crimes.
Defenses Not Available In Online Solicitation Cases
A minor under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual activity in North Carolina. It is no defense to sexual exploitation charges that the minor voluntarily participated in the encounter.
A mistake in age is also not a valid defense. If you thought that you were engaging a minor in an internet chat room, by phone, through social media or other outlet, but instead have engaged with someone over 16, you may still face exploitation of a minor charges.