Importuning Lawyer in Cincinnati
If you are charged with importuning in Ohio, you face the possibility of incarceration. On top of this penalty, you may be required to register as a sex offender. Even if you are not convicted, you face the strong possibility of being shunned and judged by your community.
The people of Ohio do not look favorably on those accused of soliciting sexual activities with a child under the age of 13. You would be wise to consider acting quickly on any questioning, accusation, or arrest on this offense. An importuning lawyer in Cincinnati can sweep in to protect your rights and work fast and smart to produce the best possible outcome for your situation.
Importuning Lawyer in Cincinnati
Ohio prosecutors will be swift and aggressive in their attempt to charge and convict you. Whether you stand accused of engaging in sexually explicit electronic communications with a minor under the age of 13 or soliciting such an individual for prostitution, investigators will work quickly to gather evidence against you.
Meanwhile, the moment word gets out of these accusations, your reputation could suffer throughout your place of employment, schools, and neighborhood.
Importuning Charges Information Center
- Overview of Importuning Charges
- Definition of Importuning
- Ohio Penalties for Importuning
- Importuning Defenses in Cincinnati, OH
- Resources for Importuning Charges
- Importuning News in Ohio
- FAQs on Importuning Charges in Ohio
- Importuning Lawyer in Cincinnati
Overview of Importuning Charges
Ohio’s importuning laws make it illegal to solicit anyone under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity or to solicit someone who is between 13 and 15 to engage in such activities if you are over the age of 18 and at least four years older than the person you are soliciting.
In 1974, a section was added to Ohio’s importuning law that raised an exception to the idea that it is not illegal to “just ask” individuals in these scenarios to engage in sexual activity. The committee comment argued that “just asking” does constitute a criminal offense because children lack the maturity of judgment to make sound decisions, and the consequences of the solicitation can prove harmful to them.
Ohio’s importuning laws also once applied to soliciting homosexual or lesbian sexual activity. This section of the statute was struck down in 2002 (read more on this in “ ”).
Prosecutors can have a difficult time proving a case of importuning when the alleged offense transpired via some electronic medium, like an online chatroom. It is from these online forums that most importuning charges originate. Courts tend to be suspicious of evidence produced from alleged online solicitation of minors, and an importuning lawyer can use this skepticism to your advantage.
Your lawyer can ask questions that introduce further doubt about the legitimacy of the charges against you. For example:
- Were you convinced that the alleged victim was an adult because of specific things they said or wrote?
- Did your alleged solicitation occur in an adults-only online forum?
- Did police entrap you, encouraging you to behave in a way contrary to your nature?
- Is it possible someone else had access to your online accounts or computer?
- Did you actually communicate with the victim in a sexually explicit manner?
The right answers to the above questions could punch enough holes in the prosecution’s case to render their case ineffective. They just might drop the charges against you without even setting foot in a courtroom.
Definition of Importuning
Typically, importuning offenses occur over the internet in chat rooms or via text or email.
Ohio Revised Code 2907.07 specifies all the actions that qualify as importuning. The code breaks down the criminal act according to a variety of possible scenarios and ages of both offender and victim. The way the law defines age brackets can get confusing, so here they are in plain terms.
First, Ohio law says it is illegal to solicit a child under the age of 13 years for some sort of sexual activity. An individual who violates this law could be charged with importuning.
Next, the law says if you are at least 18 years old and at least four years older than someone between the ages of 13 and 15, you cannot solicit them for sex. Ignorance of the other person’s age does not count as a defense. Nor can you, within this same age parameter, solicit sex from someone who is 16 or 17 years old and a victim of trafficking (ORC 2905.32), and you know about this person’s age.
The law forbids people who are 18 and over to solicit sexual activity with a person over the internet, text, email, etc., when the person they are soliciting is under 15 years of age, and the offender is at least four years older and either knows the other person’s age or is reckless in informing themselves of their age.
Even if the other individual is a police officer posing as a person under the age of 13 or between the ages of 13 and 15, the solicitor can be charged with the crime of importuning if they believe the officer is the age they pretend to be, or the solicitor is reckless in determining their age, and the solicitor is at least four years older than the age they believe the officer to be.
Ohio Penalties for Importuning
Importuning is charged as a felony and carries penalties that correspond with that charge, depending on the degree of the felony.
If you are being accused of an importuning offense involving a minor under 13, and it is your first offense, you may be charged with a third-degree felony, and you will face a prison term between one and five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
If you have previously been convicted of a sex crime or a child-victim crime, you will be charged with an elevated felony of the second-degree and will face a tougher prison term of two to eight years and/or a $15,000 fine that corresponds with that charge.
If the importuning offense involves a person between the ages of 13 and 15, and it is your first offense, it will be charged as a fifth-degree felony. With this charge, you face a six- to 12-month incarceration and/or a fine of up to $2,500. However, if you are found to have been previously convicted of a sex crime or a child-victim crime, the charge is elevated to a felony in the fourth degree, with a correspondingly harsher sentence of six to 18 months and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Keep in mind, too, that people convicted of sex crimes in Ohio may be required to register as a sex offender. This penalty can affect you for the rest of your life.
These penalties all serve as reminders and motivation for you to not take allegations of importuning lightly. You have much to lose—your freedom, finances, reputation, and so much more. Consider hiring an importuning lawyer in Cincinnati the moment you are questioned about activities connected to such an offense.
Contact Joslyn Law Firm today to discuss your case. Call us at (513) 399-6289.
Importuning Defenses in Cincinnati, OH
The following are possible defenses that your lawyer may utilize if you are facing importuning charges.
- Another party had access to the victim’s computer.
- There was a compelling reason to believe the victim was of age.
- The alleged offense took place in an adults chat room or other online forum for adults only.
- The victim lied about their age.
- The police entrapped you.
Other defenses may apply to your case, and a criminal defense lawyer will build your defense based on the circumstances of the alleged offense. The ultimate goal will be to establish inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case against you.
Resources for Importuning Charges
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2907.07 – Complete reference to Ohio’s laws about importuning
The Ohio Legislature – Information about proposed revision of penalties for importuning in Ohio
Felony Sentencing Quick Reference Guide – Provided by the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission
Importuning News in Ohio
Supreme Court Invalidates Same-Sex Importuning Law – On May 15, 2002, the Supreme Court of Ohio voted 7-0 to strike down a provision of the state’s importuning statute that made it illegal for a person to solicit another individual for homosexual or lesbian sexual activity. The original language wrote that the solicited individual would find the solicitation offensive. The Supreme Court ruled that this portion of the law restricted freedom of speech and violated equal protection in that the statute “seeks to handicap the expression of particular content – offensive same-sex solicitations – while permitting offensive solicitations between opposite sexes.”
Akron Attorney Suspended after Soliciting Sex from Undercover Officer Posing as Minor – An undercover police officer pretended to be a 15-year-old boy on a mobile phone app. Attorney Harold M. Schwarz III exchanged messages with the “boy,” attempting to meet him at a restaurant to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. Schwarz pleaded guilty to importuning, a fifth-degree felony, in 2019. In 2020, he was also sanctioned with an indefinite suspension by the Ohio Supreme Court Office of the Disciplinary Counsel.
Registered Sex Offender Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Attempting to Coerce a Minor – In February 2019, a registered sex offender was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to coerce a minor. An undercover agent posed as the mother of a 13-year-old girl. The man, John C. Fortner, arranged to meet the “mother” and her daughter in a hotel to engage in sexual activities. Fortner was convicted in 2016 in Belmont County, Ohio for importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. In 2015, he was convicted in Texas for possession of child pornography. This investigation is an example of cooperative investigations between jurisdictions, both local and federal.
FAQs on Importuning Charges in Ohio
Q. What is an importuning charge?
- Ohio Revised Code 2907.07 makes it illegal for a person to solicit another person who is under 13 years of age to take part in sexual activities. The law speaks to sexual solicitation of minors, and more rules apply for other minors and offenders.
Q. Is importuning a felony in Ohio?
- Yes, Ohio charges importuning offenses as felonies of varying degrees. Depending upon the age of the alleged victim and other factors, an importuning offense can be charged as a felony in the fifth degree, a felony in the fourth degree, a felony in the third degree, or a felony in the second degree—with sentencing and fines that correspond to each charge.
Q. What are possible defenses against an importuning charge?
- Importuning charges, especially for offenses that allegedly occurred online, can be difficult for prosecutors to prove. A sex crimes lawyer can question the validity of allegations by asking a number of questions, including:
- “Did someone else have access to the offender’s computer and/or online accounts?”
- “Did the alleged victim offer a compelling reason for the defendant to believe the victim was an adult?”
- “Did the alleged offense happen in an ‘adults-only’ forum?”
Q. If I am convicted of importuning, must I register as a sex offender?
- If you are convicted of importuning, a court will most likely require that you register as a convicted sex offender.
Importuning Lawyer in Cincinnati
Although you are presumed innocent until found guilty of importuning, please keep in mind that being charged with this offense is an extremely serious matter. Strongly consider seeking the help of an importuning lawyer in Cincinnati as soon as you learn that you are being questioned or investigated for such a crime.
Joslyn Law Firm is equipped with the experience, knowledge, and resources that are required to fight prosecutors who are eager to see you convicted. The Joslyn Law Firm team will listen to your side of the story, investigate the circumstances that have put you in this undesirable position, and work fervently to protect your rights and prove your innocence.
Put the power of a criminal defense attorney to work for you. With so much at stake—your freedom, your finances, your reputation, and so much more—you will want Joslyn Law Firm in your corner.
Contact Joslyn Law Firm today if you are facing importuning charges in Cincinnati. Call us at (614) 444-1900.