Obscene Communication to Lure a Child in Florida: Protecting Our Youth

June 4, 2024 Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

Florida has strong laws in place to protect children from online predators and those who use communication channels to lure them into harmful situations. One such law is Section 847.013(1)(a) of the Florida Statutes, which makes it a crime to use obscene or harassing communication to seduce, solicit, induce, entice, or attempt to entice a child to commit a sex offense. This offense is known as Obscene Communication to Lure a Child.

Understanding this law and its implications is crucial for protecting children and holding perpetrators accountable. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown:

Elements of the Offense

To be convicted of obscene communication to lure a child, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Obscene or harassing communication: This includes any communication that, taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest in sex involving a minor. It can encompass written messages, images, videos, or any other form of communication that is sexually suggestive in nature and directed at a minor. Courts consider the context in which the communication occurs when determining obscenity.
  • Harassment can include messages that are threatening, insulting, or intended to cause alarm or distress to a child.
  • Seduce, solicit, induce, entice, or attempt to entice: The communication must be aimed at persuading or encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity.
  • A child: Florida law defines a child as anyone under the age of 18.
  • Sex offense: The communication must be intended to lead to a sex offense, which can include a wide range of crimes, such as:

Examples of Obscene Communication

The specific content deemed “obscene” can vary depending on the circumstances. Here are some examples of communication that might fall under this law:

  • Sending sexually suggestive messages or pictures to a child online.
  • Using online chat rooms or social media platforms to groom a child for sexual activity.
  • Making sexually suggestive comments or proposals to a child over the phone.
  • Sending messages that encourage a child to meet in person for sexual purposes.

Important Considerations

Several factors can influence how this law is applied:

  • Knowledge of the child’s age: The defendant must have known or had reason to believe they were communicating with a minor.
  • First Amendment protections: The First Amendment protects free speech, but these protections are limited when it comes to communication involving child exploitation.
  • Intent: Prosecutors need to prove that the defendant intended to lure the child into a sex offense.

Penalties for Obscene Communication to Lure a Child

This offense is a second-degree felony in Florida, carrying significant potential consequences:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Up to 15 years of probation
  • A fine of up to $15,000
  • Sex offender registration

Protecting Children Online

Here are some steps parents and guardians can take to protect children online:

  • Open communication: Encourage open communication with your children about their online activities and potential dangers.
  • Parental controls: Utilize parental controls on devices and platforms used by children.
  • Monitor online activity: Monitor children’s online activity with caution, respecting their privacy within reasonable boundaries.
  • Educate children: Teach children about internet safety, including how to identify red flags and avoid online predators.
  • Don’t delete any communication or evidence related to the suspected activity.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tallahassee, Florida

Being arrested in Florida can be extremely stressful. Being charged and “formally charged” by information in Tallahassee or Leon County, Wakulla County, Jefferson County, Gadsden County , Quincy, Crawfordville, Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, or Florida A&M University can be life changing. Given the possibility of a lengthy jail or prison sentence and hefty financial penalties, it is important to contact an aggressive, trusted and experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Don Pumphrey, Jr. and the attorneys at Pumphrey Law have decades of experience fighting on behalf of clients and winning. Call Pumphrey Law now at (850) 681-7777 to learn more about what we can do for you. Our lawyers will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

Back to Top