Penal Code 288.3(a) PC – Contacting a Minor for Sexual Purposes

In California, contacting a minor to commit a felony is charged under penal code 288.3(a) pc[1] making it a crime to solicit a minor to commit a specified felony sex crime. Communication[2] can occur through mobile devices, personally, computer chat rooms, instant messenger, or any other common carrier communication systems.

Ordinarily, these cases arises from those who communicate with minors over the internet or communicating with undercover police officers posing as a minor. However, the crime can be accomplished in person such as meeting the minor at a social event or bar. Furthermore, prosecutors usually charge more offenses such as those listed below in connection with this charge. However, the “contact” of the minor must be for the purposes of committing the following list of felonies:

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Elements of the Crime

In order to be found guilty of PC 288.3(a), the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt, respectively:

  1. You contacted or communicated with [or attempted to communicate or contact] a minor;
  2. You intended to commit an enumerated sex offense involving that minor;
  3. You knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a minor.[3]

Punishment & Sentencing

A conviction will carry a sentence of state prison depending on the enumerated crime you purportedly intended to commit. Additionally, a conviction will require you to register as a sex offender. Furthermore, if you suffer from a prior conviction of this offense, then the court will sentence you to an additional five (5) years in state prison to run consecutive to your underlying sentence.[4]

Legal Defenses to PC 288.3(a)

Entrapment: These cases ordinarily arise from communications occurring over internet chats where the minor reports you to law enforcement, or, you are communicating directly with law enforcement posing as a minor. In cases where you had no thought of committing a crime and it was based upon law enforcements idea, it will open the door to a government entrapment defense. Some common examples of entrapment include when police badger, persuade you by flattery, repeated or insistent requests, or an appeal to friendship or sympathy.[5]

Reasonable Belief: It is not uncommon for someone to reasonably believe the minor was an adult. For instance, you could have met the minor at a bar where in order to gain entrance, the patron must be 21 or over, or, the minor could have produced fake identification to you.

Lack of Intent: It is not uncommon for law enforcement or minors to misconstrue the truth. Additionally, text or chat communication can be cryptic leaving only a one-sided version of interpretation. Accordingly, there could be an innocent or non-criminal reason for communicating with the minor – all of which was not for the purposes or intent of committing an enumerated sex crime.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been charged, arrested, or are under investigation for PC 288.3(a), then contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

 

 

Legal Footnotes:

[1] Penal Code 288.3(a): “Every person who contacts or communicates with a minor, or attempts to contact or communicate with a minor, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a minor, with intent to commit an offense specified in Section 207 , 209 , 261 , 264.1 , 273a , 286 , 288 , 288a , 288.2 , 289 , 311.1 , 311.2 , 311.4 or 311.11 involving the minor shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for the term prescribed for an attempt to commit the intended offense.”

[2] Penal Code 288.3(b) “As used in this section, “contacts or communicates with” shall include direct and indirect contact or communication that may be achieved personally or by use of an agent or agency, any print medium, any postal service, a common carrier or communication common carrier, any electronic communications system, or any telecommunications, wire, computer, or radio communications device or system.”

[3] See CALCRIM No. 1124.

[4] Penal Code 288.3(c) “A person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) who has previously been convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for five years.”

[5] See Defense of Entrapment CALCRIM No. 3408

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