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California Penal Code Section 288.4 PC - Arranging A Meeting With A Minor For Lewd Purposes

CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 288.4 PC – ARRANGING A MEETING WITH A MINOR FOR LEWD PURPOSES

Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerCalifornia Penal Code Section 288.4(a)(1) PC makes it illegal to plan a meeting with a minor with the intention of engaging in lewd and lascivious conduct, such as exposing your genitals, pubic area, or anus. It is important to note that this offense applies even if the individual arranging the meeting only assumes that the person they are meeting is a minor.

If a person is found guilty of violating this law, they can be sentenced to up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. However, if the defendant has a prior sex offense conviction or actually attends the arranged meeting, they could face up to four years in a state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Regardless of the sentence, the defendant will be required to register as a sex offender.

288.4. (a) (1) 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, having the child expose his or her genitals or pubic or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment. (2) Every person who violates this subdivision after a prior conviction for an offense listed in subdivision (c) of Section 290 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison. (b) Every person described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) who goes to the arranged meeting place at or about the arranged time, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years. (c) Nothing in this section shall preclude or prohibit prosecution under any other provision of law.

Source: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=288.4

ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTOR NEEDS TO PROVE

To be convicted of Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose under CPC §288.4(a)(1), the prosecution must establish the following elements:

  • The defendant arranged a meeting with a minor or someone they believed to be a minor.
  • The purpose of arranging the meeting was due to a sexual interest in children.
  • The defendant intended to expose their genitals, pubic or rectal area, or intended to engage in other lewd or lascivious conduct at the meeting.

Please note that according to the law, a person is considered one year older as soon as the first minute of their birthday begins. It is also important to know that courts have a responsibility to provide instructions on the defense of having a good faith belief that the victim was not a minor, as long as there is evidence to support that defense.

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EXAMPLES

For example, let’s say John, a 40-year-old man, uses a chat application to communicate with someone he believes to be a 14-year-old girl named Sarah. John’s intentions are sexual, and he arranges to meet Sarah at a park with the intention of engaging in sexual acts with her. However, when John arrives at the park, he discovers that Sarah is, in fact, an undercover police officer posing as a minor.

John has violated California Penal Code Section 288.4 PC for arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes. Even though Sarah was a police officer posing as a minor, John’s actions constitute a criminal offense. The consequences of a conviction under Penal Code Section 288.4 PC can be severe, including imprisonment, fines, and potentially negative immigration consequences for non-citizens.

PENALTIES, PUNISHMENT, AND SENTENCING

The penalties for violating Penal Code 288.4 PC in California depend on the defendant’s criminal history and the specific circumstances of the case.

If a defendant arranges a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, it is generally considered a misdemeanor offense. The potential penalties for this misdemeanor offense include:

  • Misdemeanor probation;
  • Up to one year in county jail; and/or
  • A fine of up to $5,000

However, if the defendant has a previous conviction for a sex crime that requires registration under California’s Sex Offender Registration Act, arranging to meet a minor for lewd purposes is charged as a felony. The previous conviction can include violations of California rape law, sexual battery, forced non-intercourse sex acts, or violations of California “indecent exposure” law. The potential penalties for felony crimes convictions with a previous sex crime conviction are:

  • Felony probation;
  • Sixteen months, two years, or three years in California state prison; and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Additionally, if the defendant is alleged to have actually shown up for the meeting with the minor, Penal Code 288.4 is also charged as a felony. The potential penalties for this type of case include:

  • Felony probation;
  • A fine of up to $10,000; and/or
  • Two, three, or four years in state prison.

It is important to note that these penalties are based on general information and that the specific penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney for a thorough understanding of the potential penalties in a specific case.

SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT

One of the most severe consequences of being convicted of arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes in California is the requirement to register on the state’s Sex Offender Registration (Penal Code 290 PC).

Those convicted of a misdemeanor will be classified as a tier-one offender and will be required to register for a minimum of 10 years. On the other hand, those convicted of a felony will be classified as tier-three offenders and will be subject to a lifetime registration requirement.

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Under California’s Sex Offender Registration Act, convicted sex offenders who reside in the state must register with the police department of the city or county where they live. This registration must be renewed every year, within five working days of the offender’s birthday, and must be updated every time they move to a new residence.

It is crucial to understand that the registration requirement constitutes a serious invasion of privacy and can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, including limited employment opportunities, loss of custody or visitation rights, and social group.

DEFENSES TO ARRANGING MEETING WITH MINOR FOR LEWD PURPOSE UNDER CPC §288.4(A)(1)

The most common defenses against a charge of Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose under Section 288.4(a)(1) include:

  • Lack of sexual interest in children: You can argue that you were not motivated by a sexual interest in children and instead may have been motivated by loneliness, boredom, or a vague romantic interest. If there is no abnormal sexual interest, you should not be convicted under Penal Code 288.4 PC.
  • Absence of intent to engage in lewd activity: Even if there was a romantic or sexual interest in the minor, you cannot be convicted unless you intended to engage in sexual activity at the meeting. The circumstances surrounding the planned meeting, such as a public location, daytime meeting, or conflicting commitments afterward, can support an argument that you had no plans for lewd behavior.
  • Lack of knowledge about the minor’s age: If you genuinely and reasonably believed that the person you were meeting was over 18 years old, it can be a defense. Although it is unclear if this defense is valid under Penal Code 288.4 PC, it may create doubt in the minds of the jury and potentially lead to a more favorable outcome.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers engage in overbearing behavior, such as pressuring, harassing, defrauding, flattering, or threatening individuals to engage in criminal behavior they wouldn’t have otherwise. In cases involving internet sting operations by undercover officers, where aggressive flirting and posing as minors occur, you can argue that you were a victim of entrapment and not guilty of arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes.

It’s important to consult with a criminal defense attorney to assess the specific details of your case and determine the most appropriate defense strategy.

IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

Being charged with a violation of California Penal Code Section 288.4, which pertains to arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, can have significant immigration consequences. This offense is taken very seriously and is considered a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) under U.S. immigration law. In some cases, it might also be classified as an aggravated felony depending on the specific circumstances and the sentence imposed.

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If you or someone you know is charged with this crime, it is strongly advisable that you also consult with an immigration lawyer. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.

EXPUNGEMENT

Under California law, certain sex offenses, especially those involving minors, are ineligible for expungement. This includes many offenses requiring registration as a sex offender under Penal Code Section 290 PC. Since Penal Code Section 288.4 is related to sexual offenses against minors, individuals convicted of this crime may be required to register as sex offenders, which typically disqualifies them from expungement eligibility under the standard process.

It’s important for individuals seeking expungement for convictions under Penal Code Section 288.4 PC or similar offenses to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An expungement attorney can offer guidance on the feasibility of expungement in their specific case, explore potential legal strategies, and provide representation throughout the process if expungement is a viable option.

RELATED CRIMES

SPEAK WITH CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER FROM TABIBNIA LAW FIRM

Sex crimes are taken seriously in California. If you are facing charges for Arranging a Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer promptly. Your freedom and rights are on the line.

A knowledgeable defense attorney can potentially:

  • Negotiate a plea deal for a lesser charge;
  • Advocate for a reduced sentence;
  • Work towards getting the charges dropped.

At Tabibnia Law firm, Cyrus Tabibnia possesses a deep understanding of the local legal system and California’s criminal justice processes. If you or someone you know is confronting charges related to arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, our attorney will carefully analyze your case details and develop a defense strategy aimed at achieving the best possible outcome. To seek legal guidance, please contact Cyrus Tabibnia at 866-713-2159.

Sources:

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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