The state of California uses many different laws to protect minors from sexual abuse. One of these laws is Penal Code 288.2. This charge is used to prosecute individuals who send harmful material to a minor. In this case, harmful material refers to material that is sexually charged.
Harmful matter sent with intent to seduce a minor is a serious charge. PC 288.2 is considered a “wobbler.” This means prosecutors can treat it as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Individuals may face incarceration if they are convicted.
Harmful Matter Sent with Intent to Seduce a Minor
PC 288.2 is a fairly complicated charge in California. The court system provides a lot of information about sending harmful material to a minor. First, let’s consider the definition of “harmful material.” These are materials that:
- Portray sexual conduct in a way that is offensive
- Shows “prurient” interest in sex or nudity
- Does not have political, educational, artistic, or literary value
“Prurient” things are deplorable in some way. Here, this represents an excessive interest in sexual considerations. Any material that meets the above definition may represent “harmful” material.
The material may be sent to a minor through any means in California. This includes emails or even text messages. It could also involve the use of the U.S. postal service.
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California defines “minors” as individuals under the age of 18. Individuals can face criminal charges for sending sexual material to anyone below the age of 18. This charge may even apply if an individual thought they were sending harmful material to someone over 18. This is true if they:
- Should have known the minor was under 18
- Did not take reasonable care to determine the child’s age
An individual must also act with specific intent to be convicted under PC 288.2. The individual must have intended to arouse either himself or herself as well as the minor with their actions. They must also plan to entice the minor into:
- Sexual intercourse
- Sexual activities
- Oral copulation
However, individuals do not have to actually take part in sexual activity to face charges under PC 288.2. Merely acting with the intent to carry out a sexual act is enough to lead to PC 288.2 charges. A sex crimes lawyer in Los Angeles can help you fight these sex crime charges. Just call (310) 997-4688.
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Penalties Under PC 288.2
PC 288.2 is a “wobbler” charge in California. This means that the prosecution decides whether to charge this crime as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction may result in:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
Felony charges are more serious than misdemeanor offenses. This means that the penalties for a felony charge are more severe. Felony convictions may lead to:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to three years
Additionally, individuals must register as a sex offender after a felony conviction. They may remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of their life. The failure to register as a sex offender is another kind of criminal act in California. This could lead to additional fines and incarceration.
Defenses Available Under PC 288.2
There are some defenses that work for PC 288.2 charges in California. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you with these charges. Your lawyer can work to show that:
The Material Sent Was Not “Harmful”
Not all sexual material is harmful in California. For example, if you sent a piece of nude artwork to someone, and the image had educational value, you may not be convicted of PC 288.2 charges in California.
The Material Was Not Sent with Sexual Intent
Sending harmful material to a minor is only illegal if you intended to sexually stimulate yourself or the minor. If you were sending the material for another reason, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 288.2.
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The California courts use Penal Code 288.2 to prosecute the act of sending harmful material to a minor. A conviction could easily lead to prison time and fines. You may also have to register as a sex offender in this situation. A criminal defense lawyer can help you in this situation. If you are facing a sex crime charge, contact the Simmrin Law Group for a free consultation.
Contact us by calling (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form.