Penal Code 288.3(a) PC
PC 288.3(a) – Contacting a Minor with Intent to Commit Certain Felonies
Contacting a Minor with Intent to Commit Felonies – Table of Contents
- PC 288.3(a) Overview
- PC 288.3(a) Sentencing
- PC 288.3(a) Defending
- Contacting a Minor for Felonies – Hire Us
Contacting a Minor with Intent to Commit Certain Felonies, Penal Code 288.3(a) PC is defined by the state as when anyone contacts or communicates directly or indirectly with a minor with the intention of committing one of the specific crimes identified in the statute. Moreover, the mere attempt to contact or communicate with a minor is prohibited. Notably, actual knowledge that the victim is a minor is not necessary because the statute only requires that the defendant knows or should have known that the victim was a minor at the time of actual or attempted contact or communication.
Clearly, the statute is written to be interpreted broadly because the California legislation puts a high priority on protecting minors, and use of broad language is consistent with many crimes in which the victim is a minor. Generally, in California, a minor is considered a person under the age of 18.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you beat your case by making sure your side of the story gets fully explained to the prosecutor, who may be persuaded to drop the case once all the facts are presented and win your case. Moreover, an attorney can review the evidence and provide you with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses, which will help you make an informed decision regarding any plea deals or going forward to trial.
Sentencing for a conviction for PC 288.3(a) is complicated because the sentence depends on the underlying felony. In other words, the judge will sentence the defendant according to the felony that the defendant attended to commit when the contact or communication was made, even though the underlying crime was not actually committed. This is one example of how the criminal code is complicated and can be confusing, which is one major reason why you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to explain the law, help you understand the charges and penalties, and more importantly, help you win your case or obtain the most favorable outcome under the law.
According to the statute, the enumerated criminal acts in Penal Code 288.3(a) PC, Contacting a Minor with Intent to Commit Certain Felonies, include:
kidnapping, rape, child abuse likely to cause great bodily harm or death, sodomy, oral copulation, lewd acts on a child, showing or sending harmful material to seduce a minor, sexual penetration by force, fear or threats, distributing obscene material or matter showing sexual contact by a minor, using a minor to perform prohibited acts, or possession of obscene matter showing sexual conduct by a minor.
The majority of the underlying crimes are felonies, and possible sentences include:
- felony probation or formal probation (depends on prior criminal history and seriousness of the crime)
- a prison term of up to several years in a California State prison and/or
- a fine up to $10,000.
Notably, a second or subsequent conviction for PC 288.3(a) will result in an additional five years in state prison. Again, because the sentence is based on the underlying felony, your attorney will be able to ensure the sentence is appropriate, and more importantly, argue for a lessor sentence or formal probation which would include no time in prison, but supervision by a probation officer.
Furthermore, in addition to the actual sentence for the conviction, there could be on-going consequences for a conviction under Penal Code 288.3(a) PC. For example, many of the enumerated underlying felonies will require registering with the sex offender registry. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the charges and possible sentences.
In all criminal cases, the prosecutor has the burden of proof to prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for a conviction under Penal Code 288.3(a) PC, Contacting a Minor with Intent to Commit Certain Felonies, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- an attempt or actual contact of communication, directly or indirectly either personally or through an agent by any print medium; postal service; common carrier; electronic communications system; or telecommunications, wire, computer, radio device or system
- the victim is a minor (person under the age of 18 years old) and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known the victim was a minor
- intent to commit an underlying crime enumerated in PC 288.3(a).
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to review and assess the evidence, and if the evidence is weak, persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges. Depending on the evidence, your attorney could also argue that the charges should be reduced or agree to an acceptable plea bargain. Any of these outcomes would result in avoiding a trial and save you resources including time and money.
With the help of a talented criminal defense attorney there is a possibility that charges can be reduced or cases dropped altogether so that you win your case. Common defenses to Penal Code 288.3(a) PC, include:
- the alleged victim was not a minor
- the alleged victim was a minor, but the defendant had no knowledge nor should have known the age of the alleged victim
- no intent to commit a crime specifically enumerated in PC 288.3(a).
In addition to these defenses, which challenge an element of the crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney can identify any possible errors by law enforcement or the prosecutor that can result in the charges being dropped or evidence being inadmissible.
If you or a loved one is being charged with Contacting a Minor with Intent to Commit Certain Felonies, Penal Code 288.3(a) PC, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529
Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 20 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.
How to Win Your Case
We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:
- Don’t ever talk to the police
- Do not discuss your case with anyone
- Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
- Tell police you need to contact your attorney
- Never consent to any search by the police
- If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
- Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
- Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
- Information on your cell phone is evidence
- Early Intervention is the key