In the State of California, contacting minors online for sex, sending sexually explicit images to minors, engaging in sexual conversations with a minor, or the possession, sale, or the distribution of child pornographic images or depictions (including cartoons, deep fakes, and illustrations) are serious criminal offenses. Clients who are accused of Internet sex crimes need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Law enforcement and the Prosecutor’s office will move quickly to obtain a warrant to search and seize the accused’s cellphones, mobile devices, computers, and records from the accused’s Internet provider.
Under California Penal Code Section 288.2, an individual is in violation of California law when engaged in sending “harmful materials over the Internet.” Generally, this law is commonly referred to as, “harmful matter sent with intent to seduce a minor”. According to California Penal Code 288.2, “harmful material” shows or describes conduct of a sexual nature that a reasonable person would find offensive such as images, photos, pictures, books, magazines, or videos containing nudity or are of a sexual nature. The Prosecutor will need to prove that the accused knowingly sent “harmful material” to a child under the age of 18, the accused knew that the person they sent the “harmful material” was under the age of 18, and the accused had the intention of self-sexual arousal or the intent to sexually arouse or seduce the minor. The accused may face a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on the facts of the case and the accused’s criminal history. If convicted, the penalties could include fines, incarceration, and a lifetime placement on California’s registered sex offender list.
Under California Penal Code Section 288.4, arranging to meet a minor child for any contact in a sexual nature is a crime. These types of cases are usually the result of some sort of Internet communication by way of chat rooms, forums, social media, text messages, “DMing,” direct messaging, email, and similar Internet communications. A person is accused of “Arranging a Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes” is usually accused of the crime when a parent discovers communications between their child and the accused. Another scenario in which an individual may be accused of committing this crime is during an “Internet Sex Sting Operation”. An online sex sting operation is set up by law enforcement who pose as underage children to entice and engage potential “sexual predators”. The use of online sex sting operations by law enforcement has become a topic for intense legal debated. Opponents online sex sting operations contend that law enforcement is engaging in police entrapment. Opponents also claim that these online operations “create the problem” because many of the accused would not ordinarily engage in underage sexual activity but were enticed and manipulated into the illegal act by highly specialized and trained law enforcement. Under California Penal Code 288.4, the accused does not actually have to meet the minor in order to commit the crime. In other words, discussing a meeting or arranging a meeting with a minor to engage in any sort of sexual act is a crime.
Arranging to meet a minor child for lewd purposes may be filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the circumstances, facts and the accused’s criminal history. If convicted of arranging to meet a minor child for lewd purposes, the penalties will include incarceration,
Under California Penal Code Section 311, an individual violates the law when possessing, transporting, exchanging, duplicating, advertising, or persuading minors to engage in creating child pornography. This includes any type of content that “depicts” sexual activity of a child under the age of 18 years of age. In other words, minors “acting out” or “simulating” sexual activity constitutes child pornography in the State of California. Pornography includes video, images, film, photos, polaroid pictures, deep fakes and in certain cases, child pornography can include illustrations and artwork.
A conviction of any sex crime can have lifelong repercussions, both during the period of incarceration or probation, and after the sentence is complete. An individual convicted of a sex crime involving a minor child also faces the public humiliation of being a registered sex offender. If you or someone you love has been charged with any types of criminal offense, it is essential to retain the services of a dedicated San Jose criminal defense attorney. Please call 408.277.0377 today to schedule your initial consultation with Attorney Wesley J. Schroeder.
Wesley Schroeder, Attorney at Law
181 Devine Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Monday – Friday 9am-5pm or by appointment