California PC 288.4 Arranging a Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes

In California, Penal Code 288.4(a)(1) pc governs the crime of arranging a meeting with a minor which provides, “Every person who, motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, arranges a meeting with a minor or a person he or she believes to be a minor for the purpose of exposing his or her genitals or pubic or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious is guilty under this code section.”

Elements of the Crime

In order for someone to be found guilty under this code section, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Defendant arranged a meeting with a minor
  2. Defendant was motivated by abnormal or unnatural sexual interest
  3. Defendant intended to engage in sexual contact with minor
    AND/OR (P.C. 288.4(b))
  4. Defendant showed up to the designated location to meet the minor

What are the Legal Defenses to Arranging a Meeting with a Minor?

  1. The person was not actually minor but was of the age of majority.
  2. You did not intend to commit any sexual act with the minor
  3. You were not motivated by an unnatural sexual desire
  4. Entrapment by Police Officers
  5. If applicable, you did not show up at the location

What is the Punishment for Arranging a Meeting with a Minor?

The punishment for arranging a meeting with a minor varies depending upon one’s prior record and the severity of the correct offense. Additionally, if one shows up to the designated location, they can face greater punishment.

If convicted under this statute as to a misdemeanor, the consequences are:

  • Up to one year of incarceration in the county jail
  • Lifetime Sex Offender Registration
  • One year worth of Counseling and Rehab
  • Up to $5,000 in court fines
  • Criminal Conviction on their Record
  • Temporary Loss of Search & Seizure Rights
  • Immigration Consequences
  • Effecting State Licenses

However, if one has a prior conviction under this statute or actually showed up to the designated location, the prosecution will file the case as a felony. If convicted under PC 288.4(a)(2) or PC 288.4(b), the consequences are:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison
  • Lifetime Sex Offender Registration
  • One year worth of Counseling and Rehab
  • Up to $5,000 in court fines
  • Felony Conviction on their Record
  • Loss of Firearm Rights
  • Immigration Consequences
  • Effecting State Licensing

Examples of PC 288.4

Police officer poses as a 13 year old girl and places an ad on craigslist wanting to speak with an older man. Dan responds to the ad and engages in multiple discussion with the undercover police officer. The two arrange a meeting to have lunch in a public place. When Dan arrives at the location he is immediately arrested by police. In this scenario, Dan would not be guilty of arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes because the underlying meeting was not for sexual purposes but rather to have lunch.

Dan was chatting online with Sally. Sally and Dan agree to meet at the local coffee shop and later engage in intercourse. Dan shows up to the local coffee shop and is arrested on the spot for arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes. In this case, although Dan had the intentions of engaging in a sexual act with Sally, however, Dan did not “know” Sally was a minor, therefore Dan is not guilty of this crime.

What is the Evidence against Me?

Most often, a defendant has been in communication with an undercover police officer or someone who works with law enforcement. There are a number of pieces of evidence usually associated with prosecuting someone under this statute. Some include:

  1. Text message exchanges
  2. Phone call recordings
  3. Email exchanges
  4. Online Chat Logs / Conversations
  5. Craigslist or other online ads

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been accused, arrested, charged, or under investigation for arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, contact an experienced Orange County Sex Crimes Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers immediately. Give us a call to schedule a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.