According to California Penal Code Section 288.3 (PC-288.3) it is illegal to contact, communicate with, or attempt to contact or communicate with a person, while knowing that person is a minor, with intention to commit any of the following offenses:
- Kidnapping: California PC Section 207
- Kidnapping for ransom, reward, extortion, or to commit robbery or rape: California PC Section 209
- Rape: California PC Section 261
- Rape in concert with another person: California PC Section 264.1
- Child endangerment: California PC Section 273a
- Sodomy: California PC Section 286
- Lewd acts with a child under 14: California PC Section 288
- Oral copulation by force or fear: California PC Section 288a
- Oral copulation with a minor: California PC Section 288a
- Sending harmful material to a minor: California PC Section 288.2
- Forcible acts of sexual penetration: California PC Section 289
- Child pornography offenses: California PC Sections 311.1, 311.2, 311.4, and 311.11
Elements of Penal Code 288.3
Prosecutor must prove the following elements for convicting the defendant of Penal Code 288.3
- Defendant contacted or communicated with, or attempted to contact or communicate with a minor
- Defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a minor
- Defendant had intention to commit one of the listed crimes under California PC Section 288.3 involving that minor
A minor is a person under the age of 18.
Contacted or Communicated with Minor
For purposes of California PC Section 288.3, contacting or communication with minor can be direct or indirect. Defendant can personally contact with the minor or through any print medium, through the mail, by postal service or common carrier, through email or the internet and other means of communication.
Under California law it is a crime either to contact or communicate or to attempt to contact or communicate with a minor. This means that crime is considered committed merely by sending the communication, regardless of whether the minor receives or responds to that communication.
Defenses to California Penal Code 288.3
No intention to commit a crime
Defendant should not be convicted under PC Section 288.3 unless the prosecutor can prove that he actually had intention to commit one of the mentioned above sex crimes.
Defendant reasonably believed that the person was not a minor
In case the defendant can prove that he actually and reasonably believed the person he contacted with was over 18 years this could be a valid legal defense. For example defendant could have met a minor in a place where only persons 21 or older are allowed to be admitted.
Penalties for California PC Section 288.3 Conviction
A conviction for contacting a minor with intent to commit a felony is punished by the same penalties prescribed for the underlying offense defendant is alleged to have intended.
The potential penalties include:
- A sentence in California state prison, depending on the crime defendant allegedly intended
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Felony (formal) probation
In case the defendant has previous conviction of PC Section 288.3 PC then for any future violations the prison sentence will be increased to an additional and consecutive 5 years.
Additionally, for a conviction under PC Section 288.3 PC defendant will be required to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290.