ALABAMA ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING THOSE CHARGED WITH “TRAVELING” The Code of Alabama 13A-6-124 makes it a Class A felony to travel to meet a child for sex. This means the punishment for such an offense is the same as Murder – up to life in prison. In addition, unlike Murder, those convicted under this statute are considered criminal sex offenders, meaning if they ever get out of prison, they must register as a sex offender. The proliferation of the internet has led to a large spike in arrests for travelling to meet a child. These arrests are typically caused by undercover sting operations where law enforcement poses as a child to ensnare potential defendants. The typical case begins with law enforcement posting a fake ad on the internet hinting (but not right out saying) the poster is looking for sex. Usually the ads also do not begin by saying the poster is underage, that comes later. The typical Defendant, usually a white male, is online looking for a casual relationship. There are some that are looking for sex with a child, but our experience is that they begin by looking for an adult interested in consensual sex. The communication between the Defendant and the poster (who is really the cops) usually begins with flirting. As the conversation continues, and the flirting intensifies into sex talk, law enforcement then suggests they are under age. Most of those we have represented on these cases ask for a photo, and are sent a photo by law enforcement, all too often looking like a female who could be 18 years or older. This is when a rendezvous is scheduled which ultimately leads to the arrest of the defendant. The charge itself is technically called “Traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act.” In other words, in order to convict someone of this charge, the state must prove that the person “travelled” some distance with the specific intent of engaging in a sex act with a child. In defending these cases, we have to analyze:
- Was the defendant entrapped by law enforcement?
- Did the defendant actually travel anywhere?
- What was the defendant’s true intent?
- Was the defendant really intending to have sex with a minor?
- Was it actually our client that was talking to the “child”?