The Most Common IL Internet Sex Crimes
In Illinois, internet sex crimes are being prosecuted at increasing levels. That’s partly because of how common communication online is today, which has led to the creation of a specialized police unit that investigates crimes online, including sex crimes.
Just like with any other sex crime, internet sex crimes are very serious charges. A conviction for sex crimes related to the internet can throw your life into turmoil, leaving you facing serious felony charges and even decades in prison if convicted, all on top of being labeled as a sex offender.
Here is what you need to know about the most common Illinois internet sex crimes and the associated penalties.
IL Child Pornography Charges
The internet has made the creation and dissemination of child pornography easier, which has led to it being one of the most common internet sex crimes in Illinois.
Child pornography under Illinois law is defined as any depiction by photo, video, or film of a person under 18 engaged in sex or sexual conduct in the nude. Under state law, it’s illegal to make and distribute these types of images. It’s also illegal to simply have it in your possession, including viewing it on a computer and then deleting it.
In some circumstances, child pornography can be prosecuted at both the state and federal levels. How it is prosecuted depends on the conditions surrounding the offense. Any situation that includes the large-scale production of child pornography and its distribution will probably be prosecuted at the federal level.
Penalties for Child Pornography in Illinois
If your case goes through the state courts in Illinois, you will face a felony charge since all child pornography charges are felonies. They can range from a Class 3 felony to a Class X felony in the state.
Class 3 felonies will likely carry a prison sentence of between three and five years, but the more serious charges of Class 1 or Class X felonies can send someone to prison for 30 years or more. That’s why having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is vital for your future.
Sex Trafficking in Illinois
Another common sex crime that occurs online is sex trafficking. When someone intentionally harbors, transports, recruits, obtains through any means, or entices a person for the purpose of sexual servitude, then it is considered sex trafficking in Illinois.
It should be noted that to be charged with sex trafficking, the victim does not need to be transported. Even in situations where the victim never leaves their location, it’s still considered sex trafficking if you attempt to subject the victim to it over the internet.
Penalties for Sex Trafficking in Illinois
In Illinois, sex trafficking is a Class 1 felony. If convicted, you can face up to 15 years behind bars. It’s important to note that in a case with aggravating factors, sex trafficking can be elevated to a Class X felony, the most serious in the state. That can send a person to prison for decades if found guilty.
Online Solicitation of a Minor
Another common internet sex crime prosecuted in Illinois is the online solicitation of a minor. This is a sort of blanket term that can be applied to various crimes, such as electronic enticement of a minor, the demand for sexual favors from a minor, and even simply discussing sex with a minor online.
Essentially, when someone commits online solicitation of a minor, they use an electronic device such as a computer or smartphone to request a meeting with the child without the consent of the child’s parents. There doesn’t need to be any sexual act that occurs to be charged with this in our state. One must only intend to engage in a sexual act with someone under 17.
The Penalties for Online Solicitation of a Minor
The penalties associated with online solicitation vary depending on the underlying crime. For example, if you are charged with discussing sex with a child over the internet, then that is a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by up to four years in prison and fines of as much as $25,000.
However, requesting a sexual act from a minor can be a Class 1, 2, or 3 felonies in the state. That can result in incarceration for as many as 15 years and make you accountable for fines of as much as $25,000.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor serving as a defense attorney in greater Chicago. He has extensive experience handling all criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.