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Texas Laws for Child Enticement

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Texas Child Enticement Laws

Texas laws are very clear about the illegal nature of actions that endanger the safety of children. Not only is it illegal to harm or abuse children, it’s a criminal offense to attempt to lure a child into a situation that could be harmful. This action is known as child enticement in the Texas Penal Code and it can be met with serious consequences.

Child enticement charges are usually filed in cases that involve an adult who attempts to lead a child away from their legal guardians in order to commit another criminal offense. This can take place in a variety of different circumstances but it frequenlty involves the use of the Internet. Messaging or emailing a minor under the age of 18 in Texas to lure them into a harmful situation is a serious crime.

Defining the Crime

According to Section 25.04 of the Texas Penal Code, the crime of child enticement has two main components. The two main components include:

  • The act of knowingly enticing, persuading or taking a child under 18 years of age away from the lawful custody of their parent or guardian
  • Committing such an act with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of that child

This definition means that child enticement involves the act of intentionally removing a child from the guardianship or supervision of their parents or guardians. In many cases, this involves a scenario where an adult uses persuasion to lure a child away from an area where they can be supervised by their parents, usually to commit further illegal acts.

For example, a person who asks a child to enter his or her vehicle with the promise of money or gifts may be charged with child enticement. It can also involve:

  • Using emails or text messages to convince a child to run away from home and meet up with an adult
  • Asking a child who has just left school to accompany the adult home with the promise of a reward
  • Promising money or gifts to a child to engage in sexual activity or perform sexually

This kind of offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Enticing a child for the purpose of committing a felony can raise this charge to a third degree felony. This criminal offense is often charged along with other offenses that occur after the child has been taken away from supervision.

Related Offenses

In many cases, children are enticed in order to commit further offenses. In some cases, these further offenses are sexual in nature. For example, cases of child enticement can also lead to charges including:

For example, an adult who uses the Internet to communicate with a minor aged 17 or younger in order to persuade the child to take explicit photos may be charged with online solicitation of a minor. This can also occur if the adult attempts to persuade the child to meet up for sexual activity or to engage in sexually explicit conversations. These charges can apply even if the proposed meeting never takes place. A conviction for solicitation of a minor can lead to:

  • A conviction on a felony of the third degree
  • A ten year prison term
  • A fine of no more than $10,000

Enticing a minor in order to cause or allow them to engage in sexual conduct with an adult can lead to charges of sexual performance by a child. A conviction for this offense is a felony of the second degree. Possible punishments include:

  • A term of incarceration in prison for up to 20 years
  • A fine of no more than $10,000

Using the Internet to commit an act of child enticement may cause the court to order a defendant to avoid any use of the Internet, computers or smart phone. Committing sexually based offenses may also be grounds for registration into the sex offender registry.

Texas is known for being especially harsh on defendants who are charged with sexually based offenses involving children. Any person who has been charged with an offense of this kind can hire a lawyer to provide counsel about their case. This kind of advice may be used to defend the client in court, possibly resulting in a plea deal that sentences the defendant to a less harsh outcome.

If you or someone you know is being charged with enticement of a child, you need to contact a tough, smart attorney as soon as possible. Brett Podolsky has the experience to help. Contact his office today at (713) 227-0087.

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