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What is Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes in Michigan?

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In Michigan, the crime of Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes under MCL 750.145a (sometimes referred to as Accosting a Minor for short) is a serious felony crime. Committing this crime essentially means doing exactly what the name suggests, and it is the crime involved in the popular Dateline NBC show To Catch a Predator. If you are convicted of this crime, you can be sentenced to "imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $4,000.00, or both."

While the law is broad in scope, most of the time, Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes in Michigan is a Sex Crime of the same general category as the degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 1, CSC 2, CSC 3, and CSC 4). This is because the most common instance involves an allegation of trying to solicit a child to perform a sex act.

In most cases,a conviction for Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes means having to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, most likely for a period of 25 years. Sex offender registration clock begins only after any time in Jail or Prison is served (although registration actually occurs prior to Sentencing).

DON'T TRUST THE POLICE! When you are accused of this crime, the first Police contact will likely be an Officer or Detective wanting just to "speak to you to hear your side of the story." Do NOT fall for this! All they want is for you to incriminate yourself. Even when you think you're helping, you're probably signing your own Arrest Warrant. Police will even lie about what you supposedly said to send you to Prison. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT, and you should exercise it. Never call a Police Officer or Detective back! Immediately contact a Michigan sex crimes attorney to guide you throughout this most difficult journey.

RELATED: I'm facing charges of Accosting a Minor for Immoral Purposes. Should I take a Polygraph?

What is the definition of Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes in Michigan?

In Michigan, the definition of Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes (also called Accosting a Minor for Immoral Purposes or Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes) is relatively straightforward. In fact, there is no standard Jury Instruction for this crime (the document used to explain the legal concepts to a Jury).

The law for this crime, MCL 750.145a reads:

"A person who accosts, entices, or solicits a child less than 16 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows the individual is a child or knows the actual age of the child, or an individual whom he or she believes is a child less than 16 years of age with the intent to induce or force that child or individual to commit an immoral act, to submit to an act of sexual intercourse or an act of gross indecency, or to any other act of depravity or delinquency, or who encourages a child less than 16 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows the individual is a child or knows the actual age of the child or an individual whom he or she believes is a child less than 16 years of age to engage in any of those acts is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $4,000.00, or both." What you should notice about this crime is that it is not limited to only soliciting a minor for sex. Nor is it limited to the use of a computer; this crime can be charged for an alleged event that happens in-person. It includes enticing a child to commit an act of Gross Indecency. You should also realize that it doesn't have to actually involve any child at all. It could be someone much older but pretending to be a child. It only needs to be someone the accused "believes is a child less than 16 years of age. This is what paves the way for organizations like "Perverted Justice" (as seen on NBC's To Catch A Predator) to go to online chat rooms pretending to be early teenage girls and boys looking for sex and convict people of serious sex crimes when, all too often, the men they catch suffer from serious mental health and other issues. On the other hand, you may honestly and sincerely believe that the other person is over age 16, but if it turns out you are wrong, you may still be convicted of this crime. You may meet someone online who lies and tells you they are 18, but end up charged with Accosting anyway (however, criminal charges are less likely if that fact is proven). This crime also refers to any "immoral act" or "any other act of depravity or delinquency." Every day, prosecutors are inventing more reasons to charge people with this crime. And the most surprising part is, Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes often results from just the accuser saying "he did it" - no eyewitnesses, no physical evidence, nothing but an accusation.

RELATED: Is consent a defense to a charge of Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Minor in Michigan?

What happens when a computer or the internet is involved in Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes?

When a computer or the Internet is involved, things become much more complicated and serious. If you are suspected of using a computer to Accosting a Minor for Immoral Purposes, the Police will likely obtain a Search Warrant, which is a court order to take not just your computer, but your cell phone, hard drives, and all other electronic devices. They can enter your home unannounced and remove all of these items, whether you are home or not. Since it is a court order, you will not have the opportunity to object before these items are taken against your will.

Once these items are seized, they will be taken to a Detective who specializes in forensic computer examinations. They will be turned on, plugged into a special computer at the Police Department, and run through a battery of forensic examinations with specialized software like "Oxygen Suite" or others. These programs are capable of detecting web browsing history, SMS messaging history, social media, instant messaging history, and are even capable of accessing deleted content. In-fact, deleted content may even be used to show malicious intent.

Additionally, if a computer or the Internet is involved, you run the risk of also being charged with Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, MCL 750.145d. When the underlying crime is Accosting a Child, this separate crime is a felony punishable by "imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both." Unlike most crimes, even an attempt or conspiracy to use a computer or the internet to commit a crime which falls short of actually committing the crime is treated the same. While an attempt usually cuts the maximum sentence in half, here, an attempt is still punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

If you are convicted of Using a Computer or Internet to Commit the crime of Accosting a Child, this separate crime carries its own Sex Offender Registration: it is a "Tier 2" offense, requiring public registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry for 25 years. In many ways, the added charge of Using a Computer or Internet to Commit a Crime in Michigan is more serious than the original charge of Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes, and it includes using not just a computer, but also a cell phone, gaming device, PDA, or similar devices.

Oftentimes, the prosecution will charge additional crimes or additional "counts" of the same crime to improve their bargaining position, so they can later dismiss charges and make it appear as if they're doing you a favor. For example, based on the same alleged act, a person may be charged with "Count 1: Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes," and "Count 2: Using a Computer to Commit a Crime." The Prosecutor may agree to dismiss the Accosting charge in exchange for a guilty plea to Using a Computer or Internet to Commit a Crime. This may seem like a good deal to the unsuspecting attorney and their unfortunate client, but when the Accosting is still the underlying offense, you're still signing-up for potential jail or prison time and Sex Offender Registration for the next 2 1/2 decades after their release.

Living as a registered sex offender is like living inside an invisible Prison. Get an exceptional Michigan sex crimes attorney on your side immediately!

An Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes Conviction means being forced to publicly register as a Sex Offender Due to the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act

Whether or not a particular plea deal or conviction will require Sex Offender Registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, as well as what type of registration, is always best left for individual judgment on a case-by-case basis. By law, those convicted of Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes are required to register publicly as sex offenders for 25 years beginning after any period of Jail or Prison ends (actually, registration begins even before Sentencing). Accosting a Child is a Tier 2 offense in Michigan, and it requires you to verify certain information with the Police twice per year.

Failing to comply with the requirements of the Sex Offenders Registration Act results in another serious felony charge of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender. The same is true for Using a Computer or Internet to Commit this crime (Tier 2, 25 years public registration). This is why, even in the worst cases which do not go to trial, getting a reduced charge with less or no registration is crucial.

Anyone with an Internet connection can access the public Michigan Sex Offender Registry. A registered sex offender is prohibited from residing, working, or loitering within 1000 feet from school property, known as a "Student Safety Zone" (with exceptions for students living with parents). The offender's work address will be published online along with their home address, and NO employer wants their address connected with the Sex Offender Registry. This is one reason why it is impossible to find or maintain employment when sex offender status becomes known.

In addition to "reporting" or "verifying" two times per year, you would have to notify the proper law enforcement agency immediately if you do any of the following:

  • Enroll at a College or University, or end enrollment;
  • Change place of employment, quit, or are fired;
  • Change residence or domicile;
  • Change name;
  • Establish any E-mail or Instant Message account or any other type of account used in internet communications;
  • Intend to temporarily reside at any place other than your residence for more than seven days; or
  • Purchase or start to regularly drive any vehicle, or if you sell, transfer, or stop driving the vehicle.

Failures to register, report/verify, and comply with the Sex Offenders Registry Act are crimes themselves. You must aggressively defend against Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes charges.

Can I get the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act ("HYTA") for Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes in Michigan?

It is possible, but it depends. The major advantage of getting HYTA is that you never have to register as a sex offender (with limited exceptions, but they would not apply to anyone recently charged. Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes isn't per se ineligible for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. But because Accosting a Child is a "listed offense" that requires sex offender registration, a young person cannot get HYTA unless there is a showing by clear and "convincing evidence" that they are not likely to commit further listed offenses in the future. Finally, if the case involves any act that is characteristic of 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct ("CSC"), 2nd Degree CSC, 3rd Degree CSC, or 4th Degree CSC. Even if you do get HYTA, you can still be sentenced to jail or prison.

The Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, MCL 762.11, is an opportunity for a young person age 17 to 21 (24 beginning in August, 2015) to plead guilty, but to have the case dismissed if they successfully complete their sentence.

What is the Sentence for Accosting, Enticing or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes in Michigan? Will I go to Jail or Prison for Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes in Michigan?

The Michigan Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes laws makes it a felony punishable by "imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $4,000.00, or both."

The actual amount of possible Jail or Prison time for Accosting a Minor will depend on the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. With a top Michigan sex crimes attorney fighting hard on your behalf, even if you are guilty, you can get Probation for Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes.

While difficult, rather than focusing on how much time you could spend behind bars, it is far more crucial to focus on how you will fight these charges with an impeccably skillful and detailed Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyer such as ours at Prain Law, PLLC. This is your life. This is your future. Don't trust it to just anyone!

Contact us at your earliest convenience by calling (248) 731-4543.

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