PC 288.4 Law, Penalties, & Defense. Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers Explain PC 288.4 Laws

PC 288.4 Laws PC 288.4 Penalties PC 288.4 Defenses


PC 288.4 Laws


Per California law, it is a crime to arrange a meeting with a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd act with, or against, a minor. There are several varieties of PC 288.4 laws that may be charged against a defendant when he or she arranges a meeting with a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd act. The following represents common PC 288.4 laws and definitions:


288.4(a)(1): Every person who, motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, arranges a meeting with a minor or a person he or she believes to be a minor for the purpose of exposing his or her genitals or pubic or rectal area, having the child expose his or her genitals or pubic or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior…is guilty of a misdemeanor (PC 288.4(a)(1) Abbrev.).


Per PC 288.4(a)(1), it is a crime to arrange a meeting with a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd or lascivious act. It does not matter if the defendant actually meets his or her intended victim. The crime is complete once the defendant makes the arrangement to meet a minor for a lewd or lascivious purpose and the defendant knows that he or she made such an arrangement with a minor (or believed to be a minor).


Also, per PC 288.4(a)(1), it does not matter if the person, with whom the defendant made an arrangement to meet for a lewd and lascivious purpose, was actually not a minor and/or was not actually interested in meeting the defendant.


Note: Lewd or lascivious behavior is generally defined as sexually crude and offenses desires, usually towards a child (“lewd” and “lascivious” have very similar definitions). As used in PC 288.4 laws, lewd or lascivious behavior means the defendant intends to engage in sexual behavior with his or her victim. Sexual behavior is generally defined as either the touching or the exposing the genitals of either the defendant or the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal of either the defendant or the victim.


PC 288.4(a)(2): Every person who violates PC 288.4(a)(1) after a prior conviction for a sex offense listed in PC 290 is guilty of a felony (PC 288.4(a)(2) abbrev. and paraphrased)).


Note: For purposes of PC 288.4(a)(2), a prior conviction for a sex offense listed in PC 290 includes, but is not limited to, a prior conviction for any of the following: Lewd and lascivious acts upon a minor (PC 288); oral copulation (PC 287); sodomy (PC 286); sexual penetration (PC 289); distribute lewd image of a child (PC 311); sexual battery (PC 243.4); rape (PC 261, 262, & 264); pimping a minor (PC 266h); aggravated sexual assault of a child (PC 269), sexual abuse of a minor 10 or younger (PC 288.7); unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor more than three years younger than defendant [formally statutory rape] (PC 261.5(d); indecent exposure (PC 314); child molestation (PC 647.6), and more.


PC 288.4((b): Every person described in PC 288.4(a)(1), who goes to the arranged meeting place at or about the arranged time, is guilty of a felony (PC 288.4(b) abbrev. and paraphrased).


Per PC 288.4(b), if the defendant makes the arrangement to meet a minor for a lewd or lascivious act is guilty of PC 288.4(a)(1); however, if the defendant actually follows through with his intent to meet the minor by going to the prearranged location at the prearranged time then the defendant is guilty of PC 288.4(b), which is more serious offense than PC 288.4(a)(1).


Also, per PC 288.4(b), it does not matter if the defendant actually meets the minor with whom he made an arrangement to meet; it does not matter if the person with whom the defendant made an arrangement to meet was actually a minor; and, it does not matter if the person with whom the defendant made an arrangement to meet actually wanted to meet the defendant or wanted to engage in lewd or lascivious acts. It is the defendant’s intent to commit lewd and lascivious acts with a minor that is crucial to allegation of PC 288.4 crimes.


Note: A defendant who commits PC 288.4(a)(1), and then follows up on that crime by going to the prearranged location at the prearranged time, is technically guilty of both PC 288.4(a)(1) and PC 288.4(b); however, under this situation, the defendant is likely to be criminally charged with only the latter and more serious offense of PC 288.4(b).


Example: If David arranges a meeting with another person (i.e. by text, email, phone call, social media, mutual friend, etc.), who the defendant believes to be a minor (under 18 years of age), for the purpose of arranging a sexual encounter with the minor (lewd or lascivious acts), then the defendant is guilty of PC 288.4(a)(1). If David has a prior sex crimes conviction (a PC 290 listed offense) when he makes the arrangement with the other person, then David is guilty of PC 288.4(a)(2). Any finally, if David actually follows through with attempting to meet the person with whom he made the arrangement by going to the location at the time arranged then David is guilty of PC 288.4(b).


Finally, if the defendant actually meets a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd and lascivious act, and the defendant actually commits a lewd and lascivious act upon a minor, then the defendant could face even more serious criminal charges in addition to the PC 288.4 charges (See PC 288(a) Crimes).


PC 288.4 Penalties


The penalties associated with PC 288.4 crimes vary to some degree depending on the exact crime for which the defendant is found guilty. Keep in mind that some of the penalties are initially exactly the same, but for post-conviction relief purposes, the penalties can have significant differences. This is especially true with regards to the length of sex offender registration required for the difference crimes.


PC 288.4(a)(1) Incarceration: Any conviction for PC 288.4(a)(1) is classified as a misdemeanor. If the defendant is found guilty of the crime of arranging a meeting with a minor to commit a lewd or lascivious act then the defendant could face up to one year in jail.


PC 288.4(a)(2) Incarceration: Any conviction of PC 288.4(a)(2) is classified as a felony. If the defendant is found guilty of the crime of arranging a meeting with a minor to commit a lewd or lascivious act, and the defendant has a prior conviction for a sex crime (PC 290(c) listed crime), then the defendant could face up to sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in prison.


Note: Whether or not the judge imposes a 16 month, 2 year, or 3 year prison sentence after a PC 288.4(a)(2) conviction depends on several factors, including, but not limited to, the following: 1) whether or not the defendant is granted a probation sentence (see below), 2) the facts and circumstances of the case, 3) the defendant’s criminal history for a non-sex offense, 4) the harm caused to the victim, if any, 5), the sophistication of the offense, and more.


PC 288.4(b) Incarceration: Any conviction of PC 288.4(b) is classified as a felony. If the defendant is found guilty of the crime of arranging a meeting with a minor, and the defendant actually follows through with attempting to, or actually meeting, the minor, then the defendant could face up to two (2) years, three (3) years, or four (4) years in prison.


Note: Whether or not the judge imposes the 2, 3, or 4 years prison sentence depends on the same factors as listed above in the notes to PC 288.4(a)(2) penalties.


Split or Suspended Prison Sentence: Neither split, nor suspended prison sentences are available after a felony conviction for either PC 288.4(a)(2) or PC 288.4(b). In other words, if convicted of any felony crime of arranging to meet a minor for the purposes of committed a lewd or lascivious act, and where the defendant is not granted a probation sentence (see below), then the defendant must serve his or her incarceration in a California state prison, as opposed to a local county jail, and that prison sentence may not be split (served partially out of prison), or suspended (not served unless the defendant violates a term of his or her post-release supervision). For more information, see PC 1170(h).


Note: If the defendant is convicted of the misdemeanor crime of PC 288.4(a)(1), then any jail sentence is served in a local county jail, as opposed to a state prison.


Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is period of supervision, as opposed to an actual jail or prison sentence. A probation sentence is allowed in all PC 288.4 crimes, but there is no guarantee that a defendant will be offered, or will receive, a probation sentence after a PC 288.4 conviction.


Whether or not a defendant receives a probation sentence after a conviction for any PC 288.4 crimes depends on many factors, including, but not limited to, the following: 1) the defendant criminal history, if any, 2) the harm caused to the victim, if any, 3) the sophistication of the offense, 4) the terms of any plea bargain between the district attorney and the defendant (defendant’s attorney), and more.


A probation sentence is monitored by a felony probation officer in felony PC 288.4 conviction (formal probation); a probation sentence usually, but not always, is monitored by the court in misdemeanor PC 288.4 (a)(1) convictions (informal probation) [court can place defendant on formal probation even after a misdemeanor violation]. A probation sentence involves the defendant fulfilling “terms of probation” or “condition of probation.” The terms of probation vary from case to case, but in virtually all PC 288.4 cases that involve probation the terms will include criminal protective orders (CPO), payment of fines and court fees, payment of restitution if the victim suffered economic loss, register as a sex offender, violate no law while on probation (felony or misdemeanor), and more. If the defendant violates any term of his or her probation sentence then the district attorney may file violation of probation charges against the defendant (See VOP for more information).


Note: Sometimes, the defendant will receives a probation sentence, and as part of that probation sentence the judge or district attorney will impose some actual incarceration as a condition of probation. When this happens, the jail sentence that is made a part of the probation sentence conditions is usually much shorter than the jail sentence that the defendant could otherwise have received if he or she was not placed on probation. Also, the jail sentence, which is made a part of a probation sentence, may usually be served alternatively on work release or house arrest (See House Arrest & Work Release).


Note: A criminal protective order that is made a part of any PC 288.4 conviction will often include restraining orders not only in favor of the victim, if any, but the restraining orders will often preclude the defendant from visiting where children normally congregate (i.e. amusement parks, parks, playgrounds, etc.).


Three Strikes Law: PC 288.4 crimes are not considered “strike” crimes under California’s Three Strikes Law. As such, PC 288.4 crimes are not considered serious or violent as those terms are defined under California law at PC 1192.7 and 667.5, respectively. This does not mean that any PC 288.4 does not have serious consequences, it only means that the crime does not fit within the definition of serious or violent under California sentencing law.


Sex Offender Registration: Per California penal code section 290(c), anyone convicted of PC 288.4(a)(1), PC 288.4(a)(2), or PC 288.4(b) must register as a sex offender with local law enforcement. The length of sex offender registration is for life for any of these three crime; however, if the defendant meets certain time requirements and other requirements, the defendant might be allowed to have this lifetime registration reduced (See New Tier System for PC 290 Crimes). Keep in mind that if the defendant is convicted of PC 288.4(b), then his or her sex offender registration length is the greater of the two crimes (the length of sex offender registration for PC 288.4(b) or the length of sex offender registration for his or her prior sex crimes conviction).


Crime Involving Moral Turpitude: The crime of arranging a meeting with a minor to commit a lewd or lascivious act is considered a “crime involving moral turpitude,” or CIMT. A CIMT crime is one that involves immoral behavior or otherwise involves dishonesty. CIMTs carry negative collateral punishments and consequences (in addition to the consequences listed above). These consequences include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) negative consequences for non-US citizens as related to their immigration status (deportation, denial of naturalization, denial of reentry into the United States, and more), negative consequences for professional licensing (doctors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, teaches, contractors, etc.), negative consequences for military servicemen and women (denial of entry into the armed forces, discharge from the military, and more), reputation damage, and more.


Addition Penalties: In addition to the penalties and punishments listed above, any person convicted of PC 288.4(a)(1), PC 288.4(a)(2), or PC 288.4(b) may suffer additional punishments, including, but not limited to, the following: firearm prohibition, court fees and fines, civil lawsuits, family law consequences (child custody, child visitation, adoption, CPS investigations, CACI listing, etc.), probation and parole conditions, and more.


Note: These listed penalties and punishments do not include addition monetary costs, such as the payment of bail to secure out-of-custody release during the criminal proceedings, attorney fees, and more (See Bail Information).


PC 288.4 Defenses


Possible defenses to a criminal charge of PC 288.4 are varied. This is because the possible facts and circumstance behind any PC 288.4 vary from case to case. However, there tends to be a few defenses that are more commonly engaged with PC 288.4 crimes than others. These common defenses to PC 288.4 allegations include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: statute of limitations, coerced confession, entrapment, insanity, illegal search and seizure (usually of defendant’s home, cell phone or computer), insufficient evidence, and more.


Note: If is not a defense to a PC 288.4 charge to show that there was no actual minor that existed in order to complete the crime. It is the defendant’s intent that is of paramount importance with these allegations.


For more information on the crime of arrange a meeting with a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd or lascivious acts, or PC 288.4(a)(1), PC 288.4(a)(2), or PC 288.4(b), contact our sex crimes criminal defense lawyers without delay. Our sex crimes criminal defense lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of sex crimes in San Bernardino County cities and surrounding courts, including Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Colton, Rialto, Yucaipa, Victorville, and more. We offer free consultations for first-time visits in office. In some cases, we can visit defendants in local jails for a minimal fee for a consultation (Adelanto Detention Center, Central Detention Center, and West Valley Jail). Our attorneys are available every day of the week to assist you. Call today


909-913-3138


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PC 288.4 Crimes: Arrange to Meet a Minor for Lewd Acts
PC 288.4(a)(1), PC 288.4(a)(2), & PC 288.4(b)