When Is It a Crime to Speak to a Minor?
These days, social media and technology make it easier than ever to communicate with each other. Apps like Snapchat and Tinder could connect you to people around the world with the touch of a button. But this also means you have to be more careful than ever when communicating with people you don’t know. If you communicate with a minor, you could be accused of a serious crime.
It is not a crime for an adult to communicate with a minor. However, if you contacted or communicated with a minor with the intent to commit a crime, you could face criminal charges. This can get tricky in situations where you did not know the age of the person you were communicating with. That is why it is important to understand the laws regarding this crime.
Contacting a Minor for Criminal Purposes (PC 288.3)
Under California Penal Code Section 288.3, you could be charged with a crime for attempting to communicate with someone under the age of 18 for criminal purposes. The law clarifies that it means you had the intent to commit one of the following felonies:
- Child endangerment (Penal Code section 273a)
- Child pornography offenses (Penal Code sections 311.1, 311.2, 311.4, and 311.11)
- Forcible acts of sexual penetration (Penal Code section 289)
- Kidnapping (Penal Code section 207)
- Lewd acts with a child (Penal Code section 288)
- Oral copulation with a minor (Penal Code section 288a)
- Rape (Penal Code section 261)
- Sending harmful material to a minor (Penal Code section 288.2)
- Sodomy (Penal Code section 286)
Defining Illegal Contact
Contacting or communicating with a minor entails any face-to-face communications, plus those made by email, text, letter, note and communicating through telephone, computer, fax or another person.
The law also applies if you attempted to communicate with the minor but your attempt(s) failed. For example, if you send an email to the wrong address, you could still be charged for attempting to contact the minor. If you sent a text or email and it was never read or opened, you could still be charged under PC 288.3.
Penalties for Speaking with a Minor with Criminal Intent
If you are prosecuted for contacting a minor to commit a felony under California Penal Code Section 288.3, you face a state prison sentence that is determined by the crime you intended to commit as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Contact Wallin & Klarich if You Have Been Charged with Illegal Communication with a Minor
If you or a loved one has been charged with contacting a minor with the intent to commit a felony, it is crucial that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Wallin & Klarich has been successfully defending our clients accused of contacting minors for criminal purposes for over 30 years. We’ve helped thousands of people in their time of legal need, and we can help you too.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a skilled Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.