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California Penal Code § [Section] 288.4(a)(1) – Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose

California Penal Code § [Section] 288.4(a)(1) – Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose

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California Penal Code [CPC] §288.4(a)(1) - Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose – Penal Code Section 288.4(a)(1) makes it a crime to arrange to meet with a minor in order to expose your genitals, pubic area or your anus, or to engage in lewd and lascivious conduct. Unlike similar offenses, §288.4(a)(1) makes it a crime to arrange a meeting with someone you only assume “to be a minor.”[1]

If you're convicted under §288.4(a)(1) you face up to a year in a county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. However, if you have a prior sex offense conviction on your record, or if you actually attend your meeting “at or about the arranged time,”[2] you can be sentenced to up to four years in a state prison and fined up to $10,000. You'll have to register as a Sex Offender in either case.

What Does California Penal Code §288.4(a)(1) [Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose] Prohibit?

In sum, to be guilty of Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose under CPC §288.4(a)(1), the prosecution must prove that:            

  • You arranged a meeting with a minor (or someone you thought was a minor); AND,
  • You arranged the meeting because you're sexually interested in children; AND,
  • You intended to expose your genitals, pubic or rectal area, or to have the minor do one of these at the meeting; OR,
  • You intended to do else something lewd or lascivious at the meeting.

Defining “Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose” Under California Penal Code §288.4(a)(1)

To convict you under CPC §288.4(a)(1), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Arranged A Meeting/Minor: You arranged a meeting with a minor[3] or a person you believed to be a minor; AND,
  • Sexual Interest/Children: When you arranged the meeting, you were motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children; AND,
  • Intended To Expose…: You intended to expose your genitals or pubic or rectal area, or to have the minor expose these; OR,
  • Intended To Engage…: You intended to engage in lewd or lascivious behavior[4] at the meeting.

Note: “Under the law, a person becomes one year older as soon as the first minute of his or her birthday has begun.” Additionally, courts have a “duty to instruct on [your] good faith belief that the victim was not a minor as a defense […] when that defense is supported by evidence.”[5]

Example: An Internet user, Defendant Dallas, begins to chat online with Victim Valerie, who represents herself as being a fifteen-year-old girl. Dallas arranges to meet her at her house and brings condoms to the meeting. But when Dallas arrives at the agreed-to destination, on time, he's confronted by Host and Cameraman, employees of a TV show that lures online predators into a televised “sting.”[6] Police later arrest Dallas. He admits he's attracted to minors but defends himself by pointing out that he never met with (or even saw) Valerie. He's still charged under §288.4(a)(1). Should he be convicted of the offense?

Conclusion: Dallas, believing Valerie to be under the age of eighteen, arranged to meet with her. The statement that Dallas is attracted to minors satisfies the second element of the crime. The remaining question is whether Dallas intended conduct covered by the statute. Since Dallas arrived at the meeting with condoms it's reasonable to assume he intended on engaging in some kind of sexual activity with Valerie. The law doesn't require that Dallas actually meet with Valerie to be guilty under §288.4(a)(1) – although arriving on time does make him a felon under Subpart (b). Thus Dallas should be convicted.

Penalties For “Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose” Under CPC §288.4(a)(1)

Conviction under §288.4(a)(1) ordinarily carries a penalty of up to one (1) year in a county jail, a fine of up to $5,000 (five-thousand dollars), or both imprisonment and a fine. These are the Misdemeanor penalties.[7] If you arrange to meet with a minor and actually arrive at the location at or near the arranged time, however, you become eligible to receive up to four (4) years in a state prison[8] and a    fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars).[9] The same is true if you violate CPC §288.4(a)(1) after a previous conviction of one of the crimes listed in CPC §290(c), a Subpart of the statute establishing Sex Offender registration rules and crimes. These are Felony sentences.

On that note, conviction under this Section will also require that you register as a Sex Offender.[10] If you are convicted of the Misdemeanor form of §288.4(a)(1) you'll have to register as a “Tier One” offender for ten years.[11] If you're convicted of the Felony form, however, you'll have to register for the rest of your life as a “Tier Three” offender.[12]  

Defenses To Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose Under CPC §288.4(a)(1)

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

You Didn't Know That You Were Communicating With A Minor

 Example: Defendant Dennis begins an online friendship with Victim Vern. Vern often writes to Dennis about Vern's exploits as a twenty-year-old college student. He gives Dennis extensive details on his   campus and his dormitory which are confirmed by pictures Dennis sees when he looks up the locations online. Then Vern sends Dennis photos that he says are images of Vern having sex with another student. Dennis arranges to meet with Vern soon after so that they, too, can have sex. But Dennis is arrested before they can meet because Vern's parents find out about the arrangement and report Dennis for arranging a lewd meeting with their fifteen-year-old son. Dennis, shocked, insists that he had no idea    of Vern's age and that he thought Vern was an adult college student. Should Dennis be convicted?

Conclusion:  Dennis arranged a meeting with a person under the age of eighteen. He intended on having sex with Vern at that meeting. But Dennis thought he was communicating with a legal adult the entire time he exchanged messages with Vern. Vern represented himself as being an adult college student; he gave Dennis details that corresponded to actual college campus buildings; he even sent photos which purported to be pictures of Vern with another adult college student. Given these facts it's reasonable   for Dennis to assume that Vern was actually an adult, even if there might be some degree of doubt, since defendants are entitled to all reasonable doubt being resolved in their favor in the United States. Dennis, it follows, should be acquitted because he didn't know that he was communicating with a minor.

You Weren't Motivated By Sexual Interest In Children

 Example: A novelist, Defendant Dina, is writing a YA (“young adult”) novel but has little knowledge of modern teen slang and culture. She decides to interview a teen to get more information. Dina begins to exchange emails with Victim Vicki, a sixteen-year-old high school student, and asks Vicki about her life. In time Dina asks more personal questions – about dating, relationships, and about sex. Dina eventually arranges to meet with Vicki to record their conversation for reference purposes. Vicki's parents, who overhear Vicki talking about the meeting and the intimate topics she has discussed with Dina, report Dina for arranging a lewd meeting in violation of §288.4(a)(1). Should Dina be convicted of the charge?

Conclusion:  Dina arranged to meet with a minor who was not yet eighteen. These are elements of the crime. However, as the facts make clear, Dina wanted to record an interview so she'd have material for a novel. The facts don't suggest that Dina had an attraction to underage persons. Thus Dina should be acquitted because she wasn't motivated by a sexual interest in children.[13]

You Didn't Actually Engage In Lewd Conduct At The Meeting

 Example: Defendant Davey, who counsels teenagers having problems with depression, arranges online to meet with fourteen-year-old Victim Veronica, one of his newest clients. He tells Veronica that he's going to “make [her] very happy” when they meet. But Davey is arrested outside the meeting place after Veronica's domineering parents force her into confessing that she's “meeting with an older man.” Davey   defends himself by showing police the puppy he'd purchased for Veronica. “This is what I meant about making her happy!” He says. “I never wanted to do anything lewd at all!” Should Davey be convicted?    

Conclusion: While CPC §288.4(a)(1) doesn't require that the defendant actually meet with the victim, it does require some kind of lewd intent or act in the arrangement. Here, while Davey arranged to meet with a person under eighteen, he did neither did nor attempted anything lewd at meeting. He brought a puppy to cheer Veronica up; this was how he planned on making her “happy.” This fact is not criminal. Davey, therefore, should be acquitted. He didn't actually engage in lewd conduct at the meeting.[14]

You Were Entrapped

 Example: Defendant Deidre has a conviction on her record for Possession Of Child Pornography [a violation of CPC §311.1(a)]. Knowing this (and knowing, from her updated address in the Sex Offender Registry, that she just moved into City), Police decide to induce Deidre to violate law again. They have Officer pose as an online teenager who'll pose for child pornography and order him to offer services to Deidre. She refuses. Then Police send her unsolicited emails offering photos of the “teen” in exchange for a meeting. She destroys them all. Eventually they communicate with teenage Volunteer, a minor who works with law enforcement, and induce him to make a sexual advance to Deidre in person. This time, Deidre, worn down by the consistent assault, assents to meet with Volunteer to have sex. Police arrest Deidre and charge her under CPC §288.4(a)(1). Deidre insists that she wouldn't have agreed to

meet with Volunteer “if Police hadn't kept at” her. Should Deidre be convicted of the accusation?

Conclusion: California's Entrapment rules prohibit “a law enforcement officer or his or her agent” from engaging “in conduct that would cause a normally law-abiding person to commit [a] crime.” This would include “conduct like badgering, persuasion by flattery or coaxing, repeated and insistent requests, or an appeal to friendship or sympathy.”[15] Turning to the facts, law enforcement's repeated attempts to induce Deirdre to meet with a teenager could easily be characterized as “badgering.” In any case, once she'd refused their initial advance, subsequent attempts could surely take on the character of “repeated and insistent requests.”  Given enough time and repetition these efforts could cause a normally law-abiding person to agree to violate the law. Although Deidre, in a moment of weakness, surrendered to a desire to meet with a minor, she didn't do so owing to her free will; law enforcement actually caused Deidre to violate the law. Deidre should be acquitted of the accusation because she was entrapped.

Related Offenses

Note: The crimes below are described as “related” because they're frequently charged with §288.4(a)(1) and/or have common elements that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

The California Penal Code contains several offenses related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose: Lewd Acts On A Child (CPC §288(a)), Statutory Rape (CPC §§261.5(a),(b)), Showing Or Sending Harmful Material To Seduce A Minor (CPC §288.2(a)(1)), Contacting Minor With Intent To Commit Certain Felonies (CPC §288.3(a)), Distributing Obscene Matter Showing Sexual Conduct By A Minor   (CPC §311.1(a)), Lewd Conduct In Public (CPC §647(a)), Indecent Exposure (CPC §314(1)), Rape (CPC §261(a)), and Sexual Battery (CPC §243.4(a)).

Lewd Acts On A Child

The crime of Lewd Acts On A Child (CPC §288(a)) occurs when an adult engages in a sex act with a minor under fourteen.  The act must occur “with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires”[16] of yourself or the child.

Section 288(a) is written to so that prosecutors can charge differently, depending on the ages of the victim and defendant,[17] so Lewd Acts On A Child is a “wobbler”[18] offense in California. The crime is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because both offenses can involve sexual conduct between adults and minor children, resulting in charges for both in the same trial.

If you're convicted of Lewd Acts On A Child under CPC §288(a), the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to eight (8) years in a state prison;[19] OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand) dollars; OR,
  • Both a fine and imprisonment;[20] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[21]

Note: Section 288(a) also requires some kind of touching “with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of [the adult] or the child” for the law to be broken - but actual arousal isn't required. Additionally, it is not a defense that the minor consented to the act.[22]

More information can be found in the Sex Offense Lawyer section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call will always go directly to a lawyer – and we guarantee it.

California Criminal Jury Instructions – Lewd Acts On A Child

To convict you under §288(a), the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You willfully touched a part of a child's body on the bare skin or through the clothing or you got a child to touch your body, the child's own body, or someone else's body on bare skin or through the clothing. The prosecutor must also show that you acted intending to gratify your sexual desires or the desire of the child. Finally, the prosecutor must prove the child was under age fourteen at the time of the act.

Example:  Defendant Darrin babysits six-year-old Victim Vanessa. Darrin is secretly attracted to children. One night, while babysitting, Darrin asks Vanessa to remove the clothes from her favorite doll, a Barbie, and use the doll to show him how she “likes to get dressed.” Vanessa strips the doll and then dresses it while narrating what she wants to wear. Darrin is aroused. Later, when Vanessa tells her parents that Darrin “made her take clothes off,” Darrin is arrested and charged under CPC §288(a). Should Darrin be convicted of the charge?

Conclusion: Vanessa was much younger than fourteen at the time Darrin asked her to undress the doll and tell him how she would like to dress. Darrin was attracted to children, as the facts state, and was aroused by Vanessa's narration. Thus we can say that Darrin acted to satisfy his own sexual desires. However, Section 288(a) requires that an actual person be touched, whether on bare skin or through the clothing. The facts make it clear that Vanessa was induced to touch a Barbie doll, not a human body. Therefore, while the other elements of the crime are present, Darrin cannot be convicted under CPC §288(a) because he didn't get Vanessa to touch a human form.

Statutory Rape

Statutory Rape (CPC §§261.5(a),(b)) occurs in California whenever an adult has “[u]nlawful sexual intercourse[23] […] with a [minor] who is not the spouse of the perpetrator[.]”[24] For purposes of the law, “adult” means a person eighteen years of age or older, while a “minor” is under eighteen.[25]

Section 261.5 is written to so that prosecutors can charge differently, depending on the ages of the victim and defendant.[26]  However, without aggravating facts, you won't be required to register as a Sex Offender for violating §261.5.[27] The crime of Statutory Rape is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because both offenses may involve sex acts between adults and minor children, resulting in charges for both in the same trial.

If you're convicted of Statutory Rape Of A Minor Within Three Years of your age, the penalty may be:

  • Imprisonment for up to six (6) months in a county jail; OR,
  • A fine of up to $1,000 (one-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both imprisonment and a fine.[28]

Note:  The minor's consent is not a defense to a charge of violating CPC §261.5. However, it is a defense that you reasonably believed the other person was eighteen or older. The prosecutor must prove that you didn't reasonably (and actually) believe the other person was at least eighteen.[29]

More information can be found in the Statutory Rape Lawyer section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. We guarantee that your call will go directly to a lawyer.

California Criminal Jury Instructions – Statutory Rape

To convict you under CPC § §261.5(a),(b), Statutory Rape Of A Minor Within Three Years Of Your Age, the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You had sex with another person. You and the other person were not married to each other at the time. Finally, at the time of the sex, the other person was under the age of eighteen but not more than three years younger or older than you are.

Example: Two college students, Defendant Danica and Victim Vincente, begin dating after meeting at   Friend's party. Vincente graduated from high school at sixteen. Danica graduated at eighteen. The pair meet when Vincente is eighteen and Danica is twenty. Soon they begin a sexual relationship. Vincente, excited about his new love, tells his Mother about Danica and accidentally reveals in so doing that they've had sex. Mother reports Danica to police for having “a sexual relationship with a high school-age boy.” She's charged under §§ 261.5(a) and (b). Should Danica be convicted or acquitted of this charge?   

Conclusion: Danica had sex with Vincente. They were not married to each other at the time (having just recently started dating). The couple was also within three years of each other's age (twenty years versus eighteen). However, while Vincente was a minor when he was in high school, Danica met Vincente when both were eighteen. Both were adults under California law and neither had reason to suspect anything else. It doesn't matter that Vincente might otherwise have graduated from high school at age eighteen - only that he was eighteen years old when he had sex with Danica. Thus Danica should be acquitted.

Showing Or Sending Harmful Material To Seduce A Minor

Showing Or Sending Harmful Material To Seduce A Minor (CPC §288.2(a)(1)) occurs whenever anyone “sends, causes to be sent, exhibits, or offers to distribute or exhibit” material featuring minors engaged in sexual conduct. The material must be “harmful,”[30] it must sent or exhibited to sexually arouse the sender or recipient, and some sort of sexual contact must be intended to violate if the Code section. The crime is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because both Showing Or Sending Harmful Material To Seduce A Minor and Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose involve adults and minors in sex acts or attempted sex acts.

Since CPC §288.2(a)(1) can be prosecuted as either Misdemeanor or a Felony, depending on the facts of your case, Showing Or Sending Harmful Material To Seduce A Minor is a “wobbler” crime[31] in California.   

If you're convicted of the Felony form of the offense, the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to five (5) years in a state prison;[32] OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both imprisonment and a fine;[33] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[34]

Note: The depiction of nudity or sexual activity doesn't necessarily make material harmful. While the prosecution must prove that you knew the character of the material, however, it doesn't have to prove you knew the material met the definition of “harmful.”[35]

More information can be found in the California Sex Offense Lawyers section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call will go directly to a lawyer –   and that's always guaranteed.

California Criminal Jury Instructions - Showing Or Sending Harmful Material To Seduce A Minor

To convict you under CPC §288.2(a)(1), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You exhibited, sent, distributed or offered to a minor material depicting at least one minor engaging in   sex acts.  When you acted, you knew the character of the material, and knew, should've known, or should've believed the other person was a minor. You intended to gratify the sexual desires of yourself or the other person. Finally, you intended on having sexual intercourse, sodomy, or oral sex, or to have anyone involved with the material touch an intimate body part.

Example: Defendant Donald takes seventeen-year-old Son's phone to a store to be fixed. Before arriving at the store, however, Donald looks at Son's phone and finds what he's sure is video of Son having sex with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend, Victim Vani. Donald doesn't approve of this. He assumes that Vani's Parents would feel the same way and sends the video to Vani's Parents for their information. But, while Vani's Parents recognize Son, Vani's Parents don't recognize Vani in the video. Vani's Parents become concerned that they might've broken the law by receiving the video and report Donald in order to protect themselves. Donald is arrested for violating CPC §288.2(a)(1). Should Donald be convicted?            

Conclusion: Donald sent video which he knew contained images of his own Son, age seventeen, to two persons. Thus he knew the character of the video and that it depicted at least one minor engaged in a sex act when he sent it to Vani's Parents. But Vani's Parents, we can reasonably assume, aren't minors. Donald neither intended on sending the video for sexual purposes, furthermore, nor did he intend on gratifying anyone's sexual desires; Donald wanted to inform Vani's Parents that their minor daughter was having sex with Son (something of which Donald didn't approve). Therefore, since he didn't send the material to a minor, didn't intend on gratifying sexual desires, and didn't intend on inducing sexual conduct with Vani's Parents, Donald should be acquitted of charges that he violated CPC §288.2(a)(1).

Contacting Minor With Intent To Commit Certain Felonies

Contacting Minor With Intent To Commit Certain Felonies (CPC §288.3(a)) only occurs when an adult contacts a minor with the intent of violating one of the laws listed in the statute, all of which are felonies. The statute lists fifteen different offenses.[36]

You must know “or reasonably should know that the” person you've contacted is a minor in order to violate Section 288.3(a).[37] The crime is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because both Contacting Minor With Intent To Commit Certain Felonies and Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose may involve minors committing sex acts with adults.

All violations of CPC §288.3(a) are punished as attempts at the committing the named felonies. If you're convicted of an attempted violation of one of listed crimes and the statute creating the original offense doesn't create a specific Attempt[38] punishment, the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to three (3) years in a state prison;[39] OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both a fine and imprisonment;[40] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[41]

Note: “Contacting or communicating with a minor includes direct and indirect contact or communication.”[42]

More information can be found in the California Sex Offense Lawyers section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call will go directly to a lawyer – guaranteed.

California Criminal Jury Instructions - Contacting Minor With Intent To Commit Certain Felonies  

To convict you under CPC §288.3(a), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You contacted, communicated with, or attempted to contact or communicate with a minor. You intended on committing one of the enumerated offenses with that minor when you did so. Lastly, you knew or reasonably should've known that the other person was a minor.

Example: Defendant Devlin doesn't deny that he contacted fourteen-year-old Victim Vicca with the intention of raping her. He doesn't deny that he arranged to meet with her knowing that she was only fourteen. He also doesn't deny that he raped Vicca at that meeting. But Devlin insists that the State can't make it illegal simply to contact other people. Doing so, Devlin argues in his defense, violates his First Amendment rights. Devlin is nonetheless charged with Contacting Minor With Intent To Commit Certain Felonies, among other crimes. Should Devlin be convicted of violating CPC §288.3(a)?    

Conclusion: If the State has a compelling interest it can create laws that are narrowly-tailored to restrain certain kinds of speech and certain speech acts. Courts in California agree that speech motivated by a desire to commit sex crimes can be restricted; the State has a compelling interest in protecting minors, and the public as a whole, from harm. Thus the State can make it illegal to form the intent to commit any one of a number of specified crimes and act on that intent by contacting another person in order to commit the crime. This is what California has done with §288.3(a) and Rape (CPC §261(a)) is one of the listed offenses. Devlin admits that he contacted Vicca with the intention of committing the crime. He admits that he knew he was contacting a minor. Thus Devlin formed the intent to commit a crime and contacted a minor in order to make the minor his victim. Courts agree that the State can constitutionally prohibit this kind of contact. This is why Devlin should be convicted under CPC §288.3(a).     

Distributing Obscene Matter Showing Sexual Conduct By A Minor

 Distributing Obscene Matter Showing Sexual Conduct By A Minor (CPC §311.1(a)) involves sending, bringing, or causing obscene matter to be sent or brought into the state. An alternative form involves

possessing, preparing, publishing, producing, developing, duplicating, or printing obscene matter. The law is broken if you offer to distribute obscene matter to someone else, or if you offer to distribute, show or exchange obscene matter with someone else. You must also know the nature of material and that it shows someone under eighteen participating in, or simulating, a sex act.

CPC §311.1(a) is a “wobbler”[43] offense in this state, meaning that it can be charged as Misdemeanor or a Felony, depending on the facts.  The crime is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because obscene material involving minors and arranging a meeting with a minor for a lewd purpose involve minors and sex acts or attempted sex acts.

If you're convicted of the Felony form of Distributing Obscene Matter Showing Sexual Conduct By A Minor, the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to three (3) years in a state prison[44]; OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both imprisonment and a fine; [45] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[46]

Note: To be obscene, material must show sexual activity and meet the requirements for obscenity. A person who possesses obscene matter for his or her own personal use is not guilty of violating CPC §311.1(a) and material isn't considered “obscene” if all the persons under eighteen in the material are legally emancipated or if it only shows lawful conduct between spouses.[47]

More information can be found in the Child Pornography section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call goes directly to a lawyer. Guaranteed.

 California Criminal Jury Instructions – Distributing Obscene Matter Showing Sexual Conduct By A Minor

 To convict you under CPC §311.1(a), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You sent, brought, or caused obscene matter to be sent or brought into the state or you possessed, prepared, published, produced, developed, duplicated, or printed obscene matter. You offered to distribute obscene matter to someone or you distributed, or showed, or exchanged obscene matter to, or with, someone. Finally, you knew the sexual nature of material, and you knew the material showed a person under eighteen personally participating in, or simulating, sex acts.

Example: Defendant Don subscribes to an online message board (a site used for posting information of common interest to subscribers) catering to pedophiles. He peruses the site and finds a link to a picture. Don clicks on the link. It opens to an image of a child, Victim Victor, being forced to commit a sex act with Adult. Don saves the image. He's unaware that the movement of the image is being tracked by law enforcement. Don is arrested, his computer is seized, and he's charged under CPC §311.1(a) for bringing illegal material into the state by saving the image. Don protests that he didn't pay for the image and doesn't think it can be a crime if he just exchanges pictures. Should Don be convicted or acquitted?

Conclusion: Don brought material that would certainly be considered obscene into the state when he saved the image from the message board. He obviously knew the nature of the material, since he saw the picture and kept it, and he knew it to contain sexual activity involving a child. These are elements of the crime. But Don neither exchanged the material with anyone nor showed or distributed the picture he kept; someone else did this and Don kept the image distributed.  Thus Don is in possession of illegal material, and should be prosecuted for it, but he shouldn't be convicted under CPC §311.1(a). The prosecution can't prove Don distributed, showed, or exchanged the picture to, or with, another person.  

 Lewd Conduct In Public

The crime of Lewd Conduct In Public (CPC §647(a)) occurs in California whenever a person touches him- or herself (or someone else) sexually in public. The touching must involve genitals, breasts, or buttocks. There must be someone who could be offended present and the defendant must know or suspect this.   You can be charged with both Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose and Lewd Conduct In Public, if the facts are right, but actual touching is required to violate CPC §647(a).

If you're convicted of violating Lewd Conduct In Public under Section (a), the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to six (6) months in the county jail; OR,
  • A fine of up to $1,000 (one-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both a fine and imprisonment.[48]

Note: California Penal Code §647(a) doesn't require Sex Offender registration.[49]

More information can be found in the California Sex Offense Lawyers section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call will go directly to a lawyer – and it's always guaranteed.

California Jury Instructions – Lewd Conduct In Public

To convict you under §647(a), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You willfully touched your, or another person's, genitals, buttocks, or (female) breast. You intended to sexually gratify yourself, or someone else, or to annoy or offend another. You were in a public place or a place open to public view at the time you did it and someone who might've been offended was present. Finally, you knew or should've known that another person who might've been offended was present.

Example:  A college wrestler, Defendant Dane, who's acting on a teammates' suggestion, makes an obscene gesture to the camera in a team photo taken at a public park. The gesture isn't detected until the picture is reprinted in a program. It's seen by Victim Vance, parent of Competing Wrestler, who's enraged. He takes his complaint to local police. Police conclude that Dane should be charged for every person in the photo. Dane is arrested and charged with dozens of counts of committing Lewd Conduct In Public.[50] He says he did nothing more than play a joke. Should Dane be convicted of these charges?    

Conclusion: Dane was in a public place when the events occurred of which Vance complained. There were other persons present when the image was taken. Any one of these persons might have been offended by the gesture. Dane would've also known that other wrestlers were present at the time he made the gesture. We can even assume that Dane made the gesture to offend or annoy other people. However, while it isn't well-advised to make obscene gestures, CPC §647(a) criminalizes acts involving touching a female breast, or a person's buttocks, or a person's genitals. It does not make it illegal to present an obscene gesture in a picture. Therefore, without considering whether Dane can be charged with a different offense, Dane should be acquitted of all charges alleging that he violated CPC §647(a).

Indecent Exposure

In California, the crime of Indecent Exposure (CPC §314(1)) occurs when a person exposes his or her naked body or genitals in front of anyone who could be annoyed or offended by it. While most people think it only happens in public, Indecent Exposure can happen in just about any environment. The exposure, however, must be willful and lewd.

Penalties for Indecent Exposure vary. Section 314(1) may permit the prosecutor to charge you with a Felony if you expose yourself inside a home or “inhabited” building.[51] This makes §314(1) a “wobbler”[52]  offense: the prosecution can charge you with a Felony or a Misdemeanor, depending on the facts. You will be charged with a Felony if you're convicted of violating §314 more than once or if you're convicted of violating Section 314 after you've been convicted of Lewd Acts With A Minor, a violation of CPC §288.

If you're convicted of the Felony form of Indecent Exposure, the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to three (3) years in a state prison;[53] OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both imprisonment and a fine;[54] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[55]

More information can be found in the Indecent Exposure section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call goes directly to a lawyer. Guaranteed.

California Criminal Jury Instructions – Indecent Exposure

To convict you under §314(1), the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You intended to expose your naked body or genitals near a person who might be offended or annoyed by it. You believed you would be seen, even if no one actually saw the exposure. Finally, you exposed yourself for your own sexual gratification, or someone else's, or to sexually offend someone else.

Example: Defendant Diego stays the night at Girlfriend's apartment. He takes a shower in the evening. Diego emerges from Girlfriend's bathroom, which is connected to her bedroom, without wearing his towel. Unbeknownst to him, Girlfriend's daughter, Victim Valentina, is sitting on the bed and watching television. Valentina sees him, screams, and runs from the bedroom. She tells her mother that Diego “flashed” her. Girlfriend calls police. Diego is charged with Indecent Exposure under CPC §314(1).  Should Diego be convicted?  

Conclusion: Valentina saw Diego's naked body and, judging from her reaction, was offended by it. The facts do not, however, state reasons to believe that Diego exposed himself for sexual reasons, or for reasons of offense, or that he even exposed himself intentionally. Diego also didn't know that Valentina was present when he exited the bathroom; thus he didn't believe that he'd be seen when he exited the bathroom. (At minimum he didn't think he'd be seen by anyone except Girlfriend, who wouldn't be upset, we can presume.) Several elements of the crime aren't present. Therefore, since the law must find for the defendant when even one element one a charge can't be proven, Diego must be acquitted.      

Rape

California's law against Rape (CPC §261(a)) applies when anyone has sexual intercourse with someone who's not his or her spouse without that person's consent. Absence of consent can be overcome in a number of illegal ways, including use of force or threats.

The statute lists several circumstances in which sexual intercourse is considered rape, such as sexual intercourse with someone who's unconscious owing to alcohol or drug intoxication. Rape is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because a minor is not legally considered capable of consenting to sexual intercourse, though sexual intercourse may be intended in meeting with a minor.         

If you're convicted of Rape, a Felony, the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to eight (8) years in a state prison;[56] OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both a fine and imprisonment;[57] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[58]

Note: A Rape conviction counts as a violent felony for purposes of California's “Three Strikes” system.[59]

More information can be found in the California Rape Attorneys section of the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your calls go directly to a lawyer.

California Criminal Jury Instructions – Rape

To convict you under CPC §261(a)(2), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You had sexual intercourse with someone who wasn't your wife or husband.[60] The other person didn't consent. Finally, you accomplished the intercourse using threats, fear or force directed at that person or someone else.

Example: Defendant Devon meets Victim Vivienne at a local bar. They talk and drink. They retire later to Devon's home, where Devon gives Vivienne a drink laced with Rohypnol (the “date rape” drug[61]). Once Vivienne is unconscious Devon has sex with her. Vivienne only realizes what Devon did when she awakens and calls police. Devon is arrested for violating CPC §261(a)(2). He defends himself by pointing out that, since Vivienne wasn't awake they had sex, he didn't actually overcome her will through force; therefore, he says, he couldn't have raped her. Should Devon be convicted or acquitted of the charge?   

Conclusion: Devon, by administering a drug to Vivienne, rendered her unconscious. This made it impossible for her to resist, or to even know, what Devon was doing to her. But this is merely another form of Rape under §261(a). Any time a person has sex with another person against that person's will, whether accomplished through force or otherwise, the law makes it illegal in California. But Devon is also correct in pointing out that he was charged under a Subpart of §261(a) that involves use of force, fear, or threats. He didn't use any of these with Vivienne. She willingly went to his home and willingly took the drink he offered her. Therefore, while Devon is guilty, he can't be convicted under §261(a)(2).[62]

Sexual Battery

Sexual Battery (CPC §243.4(a)) occurs whenever anyone “touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained.” The restraint can originate with you or an accomplice but it can only violate this Section “if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.”[63]

Since the prosecution can charge you with a Felony or a Misdemeanor, depending on the facts of your case, Sexual Battery is a “wobbler”[64] offense in California. The crime is related to Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose because an attempted (or actual) sex act with a minor can involve an act constituting Sexual Battery.

If you're charged with the Felony form of Sexual Battery, the penalty may be:

  • A term of up to four (4) years in a state prison; OR,
  • A fine of up to $10,000 (ten-thousand dollars); OR,
  • Both a fine and imprisonment;[65] AND,
  • The duty to register as a Sex Offender.[66]

Note: “Unlawful restraint requires more than just the physical force necessary to accomplish the sexual touching.”[67]

More information on Sexual Battery can be found on the Kann California Defense Group's website. If you have questions, contact any of the Kann Defense Group offices in Santa Clarita, Ventura, Encino, Pasadena or Los Angeles/Los Angeles County. Your call will go directly to a lawyer. That's a guarantee.

California Criminal Jury Instructions – Sexual Battery

To convict you under CPC §243.4(a), the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

You or an accomplice unlawfully restrained someone and touched an intimate part of that person's body or made that person touch him- or herself or touch someone else. You touched that person against his or her will and did it for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

Example: A well-liked physician, Defendant Danton, uses his connections through a community church and charity to recruit patients for his pediatric clinic. Parents bring their children to him for physical examination. He sees the patients in a private examination room. He also sexually molests patients by touching their genitals when his back is turned to their parents.[68] Victim Verner, five-year-old a patient, is assaulted in exactly this way. He later complains to his parents, who have Danton arrested and charged under CPC §243.3(a). But Danton insists he didn't restrain Verner; in fact, as he truthfully points out, he never even locked the door to the examination room. Should he be convicted of the accusation?

Conclusion: Restraint, for the purpose of CPC §243.3(a), may be both actual [using bonds or similar physical restriction] or constructive [by creating a barrier or condition which can't reasonably be overcome]. Here the fact that the very young Verner was brought to Danton's office by a parent and was being seen with Verner's parents present, in Danton's private examination room, suggests that Verner had no reasonable means of escaping from the situation. These facts would create a form of constructive restraint on Verner's movement. The restraint, combined with touching Verner on his genitals for Danton's sexual gratification and Verner's displeasure, establishes the case for convicting Danton of Sexual Battery. He should be convicted under CPC §243.3(a).

What Can I Do If I'm Charged With Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose?

The State of California regards sex crimes as a serious offense. If you're charged with Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose, it's essential that you retain a skilled, dedicated criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your rights, freedom, and livelihood are at stake.

Remember, a professional criminal defense attorney may be able to:

  • Negotiate a lesser charge in a plea bargain;
  • Reduce your sentence;
  • Or even get charges dismissed completely.

The attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group have an excellent understanding of the local courts and an extensive knowledge of California's criminal justice system. We can represent you in Ventura, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Encino, Pasadena and many other Southern California cities. If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with Arranging Meeting With Minor For Lewd Purpose, our attorneys will analyze the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you obtain the very best possible outcome.

Contact the Kann California Defense Group today to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

References

[1] See CPC §288.4 (a) (1).

[2] See CPC §288.4 (b).

[3] “A minor is a person under the age of 18.” See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1125 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[4] “Lewd and lascivious behavior includes any touching of a person with the intent to sexually arouse the perpetrator or the other person. Lewd or lascivious behavior includes touching any part of the person's body, either on the bare skin or through the clothes the person is wearing. A lewd or lascivious act includes causing someone to touch his or her own body or someone else's body at the instigation of the perpetrator who has the required intent.” See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1125 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[5] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1125 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[6] Fact pattern parallels MSNBC's television show To Catch a Predator.

[7] See Endnote 1.

[8] See Endnote 2.

[9] See CPC §672.

[10] See CPC §290 (c). [Amended (as added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 541, Sec. 2.5) by Stats. 2018, Ch. 423, Sec. 52. (SB 1494) Effective January 1, 2019.]

[11] See CPC §290 (d) (1) (A). [Amended (as added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 541, Sec. 2.5) by Stats. 2018, Ch. 423, Sec. 52. (SB 1494) Effective January 1, 2019.]

[12] See CPC §290 (d) (3) (C) (xii). [Amended (as added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 541, Sec. 2.5) by Stats. 2018, Ch. 423, Sec. 52. (SB 1494) Effective January 1, 2019.]

[13] Dina also didn't intend on inducing exposure or engaging in lewd conduct.

[14] Note, furthermore, that Davey had no lewd intent in arranging the meeting. This would otherwise establish an element of the offense.

[15] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 3408 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[16] See CPC §288 (a).

[17] See CPC §288 (c) (1).

[18] See “Wobbler” definition at USLegal.com.

[19] See Endnote 16.

[20] See Endnote 9.

[21] See Endnote 10.

[22] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1110 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[23] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1070 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[24] See CPC §261.5 (a).

[25] See above.

[26] See CPC §§261.5 (b), (c), (d).

[27] See Endnote 10.

[28] See CPC §19.

[29] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1072 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[30] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1140 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[31] See Endnote 18.

[32] See CPC §288.2 (a) (1).

[33] See Endnote 9.

[34] See Endnote 10.

[35] See Endnote 30.

[36] Specifically, the Code Section lists CPC §§207, 209, 261, 264.1, 273a, 286, 287, 288, 288.2, 289, 311.1, 311.2, 311.4, 311.11, 288a.

[37] See CPC §288.3 (a).

[38] See CPC §21a.

[39] See CPC §18 (a).

[40] See Endnote 9.

[41] See Endnote 10.

[42] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1124 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[43] See Endnote 18.

[44] See Endnote 39.

[45] See CPC §311.1 (a).

[46] See Endnote 10.

[47] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 1141 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[48] See Endnote 28.

[49] See Endnote 10.

[50] Fact pattern based on charges pressed against a high school athlete who exposed himself in a team photo. See “High school football player faces 70 counts for exposing himself in team photo” by Des Bieler. The Washington Post Online, May 3, 2016.

[51] See CPC §314.

[52] See Endnote 18.

[53] See Endnote 39.

[54] See Endnote 9.

[55] See Endnote 10.

[56] See CPC §264 (a).

[57] See Endnote 9.

[58] See Endnote 10.

[59] See CPC §667.5 (c) (3).

[60] “Gender-specific language is used [in the jury instructions] because rape usually occurs between a man and a woman. In keeping with plain English principles, the committee used those terms to make the instruction clear and concrete.” See ‘Commentary,' California Criminal Jury Instructions 1000 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[61] For more information, see “Flunitrazepam.”

[62] Devon would likely be charged under CPC §261 (a) (3).

[63] See CPC §243.4 (a).

[64] See Endnote 18.

[65] See Endnote 63.

[66] See Endnote 10.

[67] See California Criminal Jury Instructions 935 (CALCRIM) (2017).

[68] Fact pattern based on a Pennsylvania case in which a former pediatrician was sentenced to a minimum of seventy-nine years for molesting very young children who were his patients. See “Ex-Pediatrician Gets at Least 79 Years in Prison for Sexually Assaulting 31 Kids” by Michael Rubinkam (AP). Time Magazine Online, March 18, 2018. 

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