Enticing or seducing a minor to engage in prostitution is a crime in California. The law and the criminal penalties for this crime are defined at California Penal Code § 266. The applicable defenses and post-conviction relief options related to PC 266 are listed below. For more information on Penal Code 266, contact our sex crimes defense lawyers today for a free consultation.
PC 266 Law
Per California law, "a person who inveigles or entices a minor into a house of ill fame, or of assignation, or elsewhere, for the purpose of prostitution, or to have illicit carnal connection with another person, and a person who aids or assists in that inveiglement or enticement, and a person who, by any false pretenses, false representation, or other fraudulent means, procures a person to have illicit carnal connection with another person, is…guilty of seduction of a minor for prostitution" (PC 266 Abbrev.).
PC 266 Definitions
Inveigles: Inveigles is defined as ‘persuading someone to do something by means of deception or flattery.’
Minor: Minor is defined as a person under the age of eighteen (18) [California]
Assignation: Assignation is defined as an appointment to meet someone in secret for sexual activity.
House of Ill Fame: House of Ill Fame is defined as a house of prostitution, brothel, bordello, bawdyhouse, cathouse, whorehouse, or other similar location where prostitution is conducted.
Prostitution: Prostitution is defined as the act or occupation of engaging in sexual services for payment (i.e., cash, goods, services, etc.).
Illicit Carnal Connection: Illicit Carnal Knowledge is defined as an act of sexual intercourse or sexual activity with another person (i.e., sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration with object, etc.).
The following acts are considered a violation of PC 266
Enticing or persuading a minor to engage in prostitution, either with the defendant or with a third person
Enticing or persuading a minor to work in a brothel, whorehouse, cathouse, or other similar house of prostitution
Aiding and abetting a minor in prostitution activity
Bring a person to engage in illicit carnal connection with a minor, regardless of payment,
Tricking a minor into engaging in illicit carnal connection with another person, regardless of payment
Note: PC 266 covers the circumstances where the defendant enticing a minor to work as a prostitute or engage in sexual conduct with another person. However, if the defendant actually engages with a minor in an illicit carnal connection, then the defendant may face additional charges related to his or her conduct, including lewd acts with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, statutory rape, sexual penetration with an object on a minor, and more, depending on the facts of the allegations.
PC 266 Penalties
Wobbler Offense: The crime of enticing or seducing a minor to engage in prostitution is classified as a “wobbler” offense in California. A “wobbler” offense is a crime that may be classified as either a misdemeanor, or alternatively as a felony. Whether the district attorney charges a misdemeanor or felony offense in any particular PC 266 case depends on the defendant’s criminal history, the sophistication of the alleged offense, the presence of any aggravating sentencing factors, and more.
Felony Prison Sentence: A felony conviction of PC 266 may result in the defendant facing up to three years in a California state prison. A probation sentence may be imposed instead of a prison sentence in some cases (See Probation Sentence below).
Misdemeanor Jail Sentence: A misdemeanor conviction of PC 266 may result in the defendant facing up to one year in a local county jail. A probation sentence may be imposed instead of a jail sentence in some cases (See Probation Sentence below).
Good Conduct Credits: Any prison or jail sentence imposed after a conviction of PC 266 is eligible for fifty percent (50%) good conduct credit. Essentially, this means that the defendant may have his or her incarceration time reduced by up to fifty percent (50%) is he or she conducts themselves with good behavior while in prison or jail (i.e., no crimes committed while incarcerated).
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence, sometimes called “community service” sentence, is a period of supervision by either a judge (misdemeanor probation), or a probation officer (felony probation). A probation sentence is allowed in PC 266 cases, but a probation sentence is not guaranteed in any particular case. Whether a probation sentence is granted, as opposed to a jail or prison sentence, depends on many factors, including the defendant’s criminal history and the circumstances of the case.
A probation sentence includes “conditions of probation” that must be obeyed in order for the defendant to remain out of jail. If the defendant fails to perform the conditions of probation, then his probation may be “revoked” and the defendant may be sentenced to jail thereafter. For more information, see Probation Violations.
Terms of probation in PC 266 cases will include, but are not limited to, the following: violate no law (new misdemeanor or felony charges while on probation), register as a sex offender pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290, pay fines and court fees up to two thousand dollars ($2,000), have no contact with victim(s) (criminal protective order), submit to a search of person or property upon law enforcement request (felony PC 266 probation), pay restitution (if any), and more. For more information, see Misdemeanor v. Felony Probation.
Note: A probation condition may include a period of incarceration. However, when a probation sentence refers to incarceration as a condition, that incarceration may usually, but not always, be served alternatively on work release or house arrest.
Work Release: Work release is a common probation term associated with any violation of inciting a minor to engage in prostitution. Work release is form of manual labor, such as picking up trash or cleaning local jail reception areas. Work release is different than community service as community service is not usually associated with manual labor. Community service involves working with the community in volunteer type positions, such as volunteering at an animal shelter. Community service is not generally an option in PC 266 probation cases. For more information, see Work Release.
Split & Suspended Incarceration: If the defendant is sentenced to prison, as opposed to serving a probation sentence, after a felony conviction of persuading a minor to engage in prostitution, then the defendant must serve that incarceration time in a California state prison, as opposed to a local jail. Also, no part of the defendant’s prison sentence may neither be split (partially served out or prison on work release), nor suspended (not served upon certain conditions).
Note: PC 1170((h) sentencing does not apply to misdemeanor PC 266 cases. This means that any conviction of PC 266, where the defendant is not granted probation, the defendant will serve his incarceration in a local county jail.
Sex Offender Registration Requirement: The crime of inciting or persuading a minor to engage in prostitution is crime for which sex offender registration is required. This means that if the defendant is convicted of PC 266, then he or she must register as a sex offender and the court has no leeway in this regard.
Note: Sex offender registration for PC 266 convictions is considered a tier one registration (10 years). Violation of the duty to register as a sex offender is a new criminal offense in addition to a violation of probation. For more information, see California Sex Offender Tier System.
Crime Involving Moral Turpitude: PC 266 is considered a crime involving moral turpitude. A crime involving moral turpitude is a crime that is considered morally reprehensible or otherwise involves dishonesty. Crimes involving moral turpitude carry negative collateral consequences that are in addition to the statutory consequences (i.e., PC 290 registration, jail, prison, probation, etc.).
Note: Crimes involving moral turpitude may negatively impact military service (active members, veterans, recruits), immigrants (deportation, denial of US citizenship, and more), professional licensure (i.e., doctors, dentists, therapist, pharmacists, lawyers, etc.), and more.
CACI Listing: The crime of persuading a minor to engage in prostitution is a crime for which the defendant may be listed on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). CACI is a law enforcement tool used to give agencies the ability to quickly ascertain a person’s possible threat to children for use in family law custody and visitation schedule, restraining orders, professional licensure, and more. If the defendant is found guilty of PC 266, it is quite difficult for that defendant’s name to be removed from the CACI.
Three Strikes Law Application: The crime of inciting or persuading a minor to engage in prostitution is not classified as a serious or violent offense as those two terms are defined in the California Penal Code at sections 1192.7 PC, and 667.5 PC, respectively. This means that PC 266 is not a “strike” offense under California Three Strikes Law. However, if the defendant is found guilty of felony PC 266 after having suffered a prior felony conviction, then criminal penalty enhancements may nevertheless be applied to the defendant.
PC 266 Bail Issues: Bail is the placement of property or money with the court in order to be released from pretrial custody. Bail is intended to secure the defendant’s presence in court as the defendant’s bail will be forfeited if she does not appear as ordered during the pretrial process.
Note: Enticement for Purposes of Prostitution, or PC 266 has a current bail schedule of $100,000 in San Bernardino County. Misdemeanor PC 266 is $5,000 in San Bernardino County. This bail amount may be increased, decreased, or waived (not required) depending on certain factors presented to the criminal court judge.
Criminal Protective Orders: A criminal protective order is a restraining order issued in criminal court. A person charged with PC 266 may have a criminal protective order issued against him in order to protect the alleged minor victim. For more information, see CPO.
PC 266 Fines: The statutory fine related to PC 266 crimes is $2,000 dollars. This fine is in addition to any court security fee, and/or restitution that may be ordered against the defendant. This fine is also in addition to any fee associated with the use of the Public Defender’s services (if applicable).
Note: The PC 266 fine amount may be reduced in certain cases where the defendant shows that he does not have the ability to pay the fine. This is especially true where the defendant is being sentenced to state prison after a conviction for felony PC 266 (PC266-F).
Additional Penalties: In addition to the penalties listed above, if the defendant is found guilty of enticing a minor to engage in prostitution, the defendant could face any of the following punishments: civil lawsuit, loss of certain rights in family law court (adoption, conservatorship, child custody, child visitation, etc.), loss of a massage parlor license (if applicable), loss of firearm rights (felony cases), and more.
PC 266 Defenses
Common Defenses: Common defense associated with PC 266 crimes include: statute of limitations, alibi, coerced confessions, insufficient evidence, entrapment, duress, and more.
Insufficient Evidence: Insufficient evidence is not a defense in the sense that the defendant must assert some facts that show he is not guilty. Rather, Insufficient evidence deals with the district attorney’s inability to prove every element of the PC 266 allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of PC 266 allegations, this means that the district attorney must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:
The victim was actually a minor
The defendant knew the victim was a minor
The defendant intended to entice the minor to engage in prostitution
Honest Belief Minor Was Not a Minor: When a defendant is charged with persuading a minor to engage in prostitution, there could be a defense available to him if he did not know that the minor was in fact a minor. This belief must be reasonable and honestly held. In other words, if the average person would not have believed the victim was a minor, and/or the defendant did not actually believe the victim was a minor, then the defense will fail. Nevertheless, in cases where the minor is near the legal age of adulthood, this defense could apply.
Entrapment: Entrapment is a defense where the defendant can show that the government persuaded him to commit the crime and that he was not otherwise predisposed to commit the crime. This occurs where over-zealous law enforcement officers create sting operations that actually promote the crime of PC 266, as opposed to just trying to net suspect who are already engaged in the criminal conduct. For more information, see Entrapment Defense.
Penal Code 17(b) Defense: A penal code 17(b) defense is not a true defense in the sense that the defendant’s case is either dismissed, or the defendant is found not guilty after trial. Rather PC 17(b) has to do with reclassification of the alleged offense from a felony to a misdemeanor. A “PC 17(b) Motion,” if successful, will remove some of the harsher penalties associated with a felony conviction. For more information, see Wobbler Crimes.
Serna Defense: In some cases, where the prosecutor unreasonably delays prosecution, either before formal charges are filed, or after former charges are filed, the defendant may request that the criminal charges be dismissed based on the prejudice caused to the defendant by virtue of the delayed prosecution. A Serna defense is similar to a statute of limitations defense in that both deal with unreasonable time delays in prosecution, but a Serna motion may be brought even where the statute of limitations has not expired in the PC 266 case.
Pre-Filing Litigation: Pre-filing litigation occurs where the defendant has not been formally charged with the crime of Enticing a Minor to Engage in Prostitution, but the defendant is nevertheless a suspect. In some cases, a criminal suspect may be able to persuade the district attorney to not file criminal charges against him or her, or perhaps file misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. For more information, see Pre-Filing Litigation in Criminal Cases.
Note: Judicial Diversion is not allowed in PC 266 cases per statute (See PC 1001.95)
Post-Conviction Options: Post-conviction options in PC 266 cases include: request a certificate of rehabilitation (felony PC 266 cases), motion to set aside the conviction (PC 1203.4 Motion), motion to terminate or change probation sentence (PC 1203.3 Motion), motion to terminate or modify a criminal protective order (PC 1203.3 Motion), motion to withdraw a guilty plea (PC 1018 Motion), appeal the criminal conviction, and more.
No Criminal Filings: If the defendant is cited and/or arrested for a violation of PC 266, but the defendant’s criminal charges are otherwise dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty after trail, then the defendant may be entitled to have his citation and/or arrest record sealed and destroyed. For more information, see Seal and Destroy a Criminal Arrest Record.
If you or a loved one is charged with seduction of a minor to commit prostitution, or PC 266, contact our Inland Empire sex crimes defense lawyers today. Our sex crimes defense lawyers have handled hundreds misdemeanor and felony sex crimes in every Inland Empire criminal court, including Banning, San Bernardino, Riverside, Pomona, Fontana, Victorville, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, Murrieta, Indio, and more. There is no charge to discuss your case at a first visit, in-office consultation. In some cases, we can arrange for a consult in a local jail for a small fee (West Valley Detention Center & Central Detention Center). Call today!
California Sex Crimes