Increasing numbers of people are on the Internet, and some use the platform to reach out to other people they do not know. Although people may feel that the Internet, cellphones and other types of electronic media provide a degree of anonymity to their actions, when such platforms are used by an adult to entice or lure minors into sexual situations, the adult can quickly find him or herself in trouble.

North Dakota law has several different levels of criminal offenses, depending on the age of both the perpetrator and the minor. Under the law, the person who is the target of luring behavior does not have to be a minor. If the perpetrator reasonably believes the target is a minor, that is sufficient for a conviction under the law. When someone is under the age of 22 and believes the person to whom he or she is talking is between the ages of 15 and 17, the person may be convicted of a class A misdemeanor. When the person is under 22 and believes the target is under the age of 15, he or she will be facing a class C felony offense.

Adults who are over the age of 22 and believe the target is between 15 and 17 face a class C felony, while those who are over 22 and believe the target is under the age of 15 face a class B felony. The law calls for those convicted of either a class C or class B felony luring offense to be sentenced to a minimum of one year in prison.

Internet sex crimes can subject the accused person to difficult collateral consequences in addition to prison. Those who have been charged with luring a minor over the Internet may want to seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.

Source: North Dakota Legislative Branch, “Chapter 12.1-20 Sex Offenses “, accessed on Jan. 18, 2015