Hawaii’s Solicitation of a Minor Law

Under Hawaii Revised Statutes §712-1209.1, prosecutors can charge you with a Class C felony for soliciting a minor for prostitution. What is solicitation? It’s when an adult intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly offers to pay a minor a fee to engage in sexual conduct.

Who is an adult vs. a minor? An adult is anyone 18-years-old and older, while a minor is anyone 17-years-old and younger.

This Doesn’t Apply To Police

You also can be charged with solicitation if you offer a fee to a police officer, sheriff, or any other law enforcement officer pretending to be a minor. And any officer can offer or agree to pay a fee while acting under the scope of their duties. In other words, officers can lie when undercover and looking for people to break the law. It’s important to remember the police can lie to you during a sting or even during questioning.

What is Sexual Conduct?

Sexual conduct includes:

  • Sexual penetration
  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex
  • Sexual contact – sexual acts other than penetration
  • Sadomasochistic abuse

What if There Was a Mistake of Age?

When charged with soliciting a minor, your first instinct might be to claim you didn’t know the other person was a minor. For this law, that doesn’t matter. It holds you strictly liable for soliciting a child. Your state of mind or intent doesn’t matter.

You might wonder about the age of consent. In Hawaii, anyone 16-years-old or older can consent to sexual activity. This doesn’t apply to solicitation because prostitution is illegal no matter any participant’s age.


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Penalties for Soliciting a Minor for Prostitution

If convicted of a Class C felony, you face up to five years in prison and a fine between $5,000 and $10,000.

There are many other consequences, too. You’ll have a felony sex conviction on your record. Even after completing your sentence, you’ll face stigma.

The law requires you to register as a sex offender, which means anyone can find out about the conviction online. It can keep you from getting a good job, moving up at work, renting housing, and more.

Related Sex Crimes

The police might arrest you for soliciting a minor online for any sexual activity. But if there was no talk of a fee, then you won’t face this charge. You’re more likely to face a different offense, such as the electronic enticement of a child.

You can be charged with a Class B felony if you use an electronic device to:

  • Knowingly or intentionally communicate with a minor
  • Agree to meet with the minor
  • With the intent to commit a felony
  • Intentionally or knowingly travel to the agreed-upon place

A felony includes murder, a Class A felony, a crime against a minor, or a sexual offense. If convicted of a Class B felony, you face up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

If you intended to commit a lesser felony, you might face Class C felony charges for the electronic enticement of a child in the second degree. A Class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Another possible charge is an indecent electronic display to a child. If you intentionally expose your genitals or masturbate live online, and you know or should know a minor will see it, then you face a misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

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Defending Against Solicitation Charges

You can and should defend yourself against these allegations. Michael Fayard will look at your situation closely to build the strongest defense possible. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to argue:

  • These are false allegations
  • The police have arrested the wrong person
  • The electronic evidence isn’t accurate or reliable
  • The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence
  • Entrapment by law enforcement

If officers arrested you as part of an online sting, call Michael Fayard immediately. Law enforcement agents use online stings to target predators, but innocent people get trapped in their nets, too. We can fight back against inaccurate electronic information.

Call a Sex Crime Defense Attorney Right Away

Don’t waste time wondering if you’ll be charged or trying to figure out what to do after an arrest. The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced and aggressive defense lawyer.

Reach out to Michael Fayard, Criminal Defense Attorney, at (808) 445-6708 or online. You can talk with Michael about your situation during a free consultation.