Police officers in Grand Rapids, indeed throughout Michigan, are aggressively pursuing arrests for alleged sex crimes involving children. This is especially true when it comes to the crime of solicitation of a minor.
The rise of the internet has changed how we communicate with each other — and how law enforcement operates. It is now common practice for police forces to search the internet for people to target for arrest. They may claim that emails, instant messages and chat room transcripts show that the accused person was trying to arrange a sexual encounter with someone the accused knew was below the age of consent.
Another major difference in the internet age is the consequences of a conviction for solicitation. Traditionally, in Michigan the typical prison sentence was four years. But the law now states that if a computer was involved, the court can add up to three years to the sentence. Other penalties include having to register as a sex offender.
Because the stakes are so high, if you have been charged with solicitation over the internet, you cannot afford to hesitate. It is vital that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, ideally before you answer any questions from the police. It is virtually impossible to receive fair treatment from the criminal justice system without experienced representation.
Among other things, your attorney will examine the police report and other evidence for signs of illegal procedure by officers. By fighting for your rights and building a strong defense, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate the threat of imprisonment and other life-altering penalties.