The Internet has given us instant access to endless information, entertainment, and yes, pornography. This means that almost any minor with a computer can access pornography with a few strokes of the keyboard. Under most circumstances, minors (children under the age of 18) cannot be charged with a crime unless they are viewing child porn. 1 

If you are facing charges related to supply porn to a minor, Wallin & Klarich can help.
If you are accused of giving porn to a minor, Wallin & Klarich can help.

On the other hand, the person who provides the minor with pornographic material could be charged with a crime. Under California Penal Code Section 288.2, it is illegal to send explicit or “harmful” matter to anyone who is under the age of 18. 2 But what is considered “harmful” under the law?

California Penal Code Section 313 defines harmful matter as images or descriptions of sexual conduct. It must lack serious artistic, political, or scientific value in order to be considered harmful. 3 The images or descriptions can be in the form of:

  • Books;
  • Magazines;
  • Newspapers;
  • Pictures;
  • Drawings;
  • Movies; or
  • Other forms of recorded video. 4

The law specifically says that knowingly giving a minor any, “harmful matter that depicts (anyone) engaging in sexual conduct” is a violation of Penal Code Section 288.2 5 It is illegal to send porn to a minor through any means, including:

  • Physical delivery;
  • Electronic communication (including the Internet);
  • Or in person. 6

What Must the Prosecution Prove?

To find you guilty of violating California Penal Code Section 288.2 the prosecution needs to prove that you:

  • Knowingly sent or showed the harmful content to a minor (either in person, through mail or electronic communication;
  • Knew the person receiving the material was a minor;
  • Had intent to arouse lust or sexual desire of yourself or of the minor; and
  • Specifically intended to seduce the minor. 7

If you are being accused of this crime, the prosecution has to prove all of these elements in order for you to be found guilty. If you did not show this material to the minor to seduce him or her, you may not be found guilty of this crime.

Punishment for Sending Harmful Matter to a Minor to Seduce the Minor

This is a wobbler charge.
This crime can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Depending on your case and criminal history, this crime can be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may face:

  • Up to six months in county jail;
  • Probation; and
  • Up to $1,000 in fines. 8

For a felony conviction you can be sentenced to:

  • Up to three years in state prison;
  • Up to $10,000 in fines;
  • Probation; and
  • Lifetime registration as a sex offender. 9

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today

The charges for sending or showing explicit material to a minor under California Penal Code Section 288.2 can be severe. If you are facing these criminal charges, our skilled team of attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will fight aggressively to defend you. With over 30 years of experience defending clients accused of this crime, we can help you obtain the best possible legal outcome.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our skilled attorneys is available to provide you legal guidance no matter where you live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. [http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/can-you-get-in-trouble-if-your-under-18-and-watch–1211423.html]
2. [http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/288.2.html]
3. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=313-313.5]
4. [Id.]
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