Under California Penal Code Section 288.4, attempting to meet with a minor for lewd purposes is against the law.1 According to the State of California Department of Justice, there were 114 arrests in Riverside County for lewd and lascivious acts in 2012.2
2011 Case in Riverside County
In 2011, a Murrieta man was arrested when he tried to meet a 14 year old to perform sexual acts.3 Instead of meeting with the teen, the man was met by investigators of the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team. He was booked at the Larry Smith Correctional Facility on suspicion of meeting a minor through the Internet, distributing obscene material to a minor, and meeting a minor with the intention of lewd acts.
Unfortunately, if you are charged with a violation of PC 288.4 in Riverside County, there are other related criminal offenses that you may potentially be charged with in connection with this offense. Those related offenses include lewd acts with a minor, harmful matter sent to seduce a minor, and child endangerment.4 If you are convicted of violating PC 288.4, you may be sentenced to serve time in a Riverside County jail or California state prison.
Three Components to PC 288.4
The first element that must be proven is that you arranged to meet with a minor. This element will be satisfied even if the person you are attempting to meet is not a minor as long as you believed the person was a minor.
The next element of the crime that must be proven is that you were motivated to arrange the meeting with the minor by an unnatural sexual interest in the child. For example, the Murrieta man was attempting to meet the teenager to engage in sexual acts.
Lastly, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to engage in lewd or lascivious behavior with the child. This includes showing your genitals or rectal area to the minor or having the minor show his or her genitals or rectal area. In addition, engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior has been interpreted to include any touching of the child’s body with the specific intent to arouse the sexual desires of the offender or the child.
Will I Be Charged for a Felony or Misdemeanor Violation of PC 288.4?
Whether you have a prior criminal record will determine whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony. If you do not have a prior record then this offense will likely be charged as a misdemeanor. However, if you have a criminal record, the charge will be raised to a felony.
Punishment for Attempting to Meet with a Minor for Lewd Purposes
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may serve up to one year in county jail, fined up to $5,000, and be required to register as a sex offender for life. If you had a prior criminal record and were convicted, you may serve up to three years in state prison, fined up to $10,000, and required to register as a lifetime sex offender.
Riverside County Courts that Handle PC 288.4 Cases
In Riverside County, there are six superior courts that handle cases involving sex crimes against children. Those courts include Banning Court, Blythe Court, Indio Annex Office, Larson Justice Center, Southwest Justice Center and Riverside Hall of Justice.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
For the past 30 years, our attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing charges for violation of PC 288.4 in California. It is critical that you do not attempt to defend this alone because attorneys are more equipped to navigate the legal system than you. There may be legal theories and defenses that you are unfamiliar with that our attorneys can work into defending your case.
At Wallin & Klarich, we aim to have your side of the story heard. We understand the pain you are going through and want you to know that you do not have to face this alone.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.
1. [Cal. Penal Code § 288.4]↩
3 . [http://www.shouselaw.com/meeting-minor-lewd-purposes.html]↩