Florida Sex Crime: Traveling to Meet a Minor

Here in Bartow, Florida, police agencies often perform undercover stings in the area of computer pornography/sex crimes. Many times, an undercover detective will pretend to be a minor and go on internet chat rooms in order to "lure" the unsuspecting. The "minor" may ask the suspect to come to Florida to meet. When the suspect comes to Florida and knocks on the door, detectives are waiting to make the arrest. (Dateline often featured such investigations.) For these types of investigations, the suspect is often charged with "Traveling to meet minor". In Florida, this law is 847.0135 (Computer pornography; traveling to meet minor; penalties) A few interesting tidbits about this statute: The statute does not define the word "child". (However, courts have held this failure does not render the statute overbroad. See Karwoski v. State, 867 So.2d 486 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004)). The statute has a section that internet service operators will want to know about. Under the law, if owners or operators of computer services knowingly permits a subscriber to use the service to commit a violation of this law, they commit a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000.00 (Typically, the maximum fine for a first degree misdemeanor in Florida is $1,000.00) Autumn Matthews is partner at Matthews Law Firm, P.A. She can be reached at 863-533-4400. (Disclaimer: This blog does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. If you have been charged with a sex crime in Florida, please consult an attorney.)

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