We are often asked what will happen to me if I am charged with arranging a meeting with a minor for sex in violation of California Penal Code 288.4?
This is a severe charge. The prosecutors are going to be looking to put you in prison. They're going to be looking to have you register as a sex offender.
They're going to be looking to protect society from someone they perceive is looking to do bad things to minors under 18. That's just the stark, harsh reality of what you're facing if you're charged with this particular offense.
California law prohibits anyone from setting up a meeting with a minor (under 18 years old) if they are motivated by a sexual interest. Penal Code 288.4 is legally defined as follows:
- “Anyone who is motivated by an abnormal sexual interest in children, arranges a meeting with a minor to expose their genitals, pubic, rectal area, or having the child to do the same, or engage in lewd or lascivious behavior.”
It's a crime to arrange a meeting with a minor if you are motivated by an abnormal sexual interest with the intent to engage in sexual conduct at the meeting. Simply put, you don't have to meet them; instead, just the arrangement of the meeting itself is a crime.
Lewd or lascivious conduct means touching a minor's body with the specific intent of sexual arousal of either party. Touching bare skin is not necessary. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review the relevant laws below.
Defending Sex Crime Cases
That's where somebody like me comes in who's been handling cases like this for 30 years. All I do is criminal defense. I've handled thousands of sex-related offenses.
I know what it takes from a prosecutor's standpoint to convict you because I worked for the District Attorney's office early in my career, and I know what it takes from a defense standpoint to get a not-guilty verdict at a jury trial.
Believe it or not, they're not going to prosecute you for something so serious unless they have good evidence against you. That's where we need to start.
We need to sit down and evaluate the evidence against you from a neutral standpoint. In other words, let's not just assess it from your standpoint; let's see what evidence the prosecutors have so we can take an honest look at whether you could defend the case at a jury trial.
Because if you can't, then what you can expect is a big problem, so we have to figure out how we're going to solve that problem.
What are we going to do? What type of mitigating evidence can we get? Do you have a prior criminal record related to sex offenses? Have you ever been accused of trying to meet with a minor for purposes of some sex act before?
Have you gone to prison before? Have you gone to county jail before? These are the type of questions I need to find out to help put you in the best position possible.
Review of the Evidence and Legal Options
When you have a problem like this, and you're looking at registering as a sex offender, potentially for the rest of your life, you need to sit down and evaluate the problem.
See what evidence they have against you and see what your options are. I've been down this road before. Often, people who come to me have not been down this road, so they're coming to me with all of these preconceived notions.
They're also coming to me because they've read some stuff on the internet, or they're coming to me after they've talked to employees of other criminal defense attorneys who don't know what they're talking about, who has never been inside of a courtroom, who never spoke to prosecutors and judges about these type of charges.
All of the content on my website is written by me. You can see I have videos on just about every subject because I've been doing this for 30 years. This is my career. This is what I do for a living. So, I take pride in the information I provide you as a potential client.
Police Undercover Sting Operations
So, suppose you need the best criminal defense attorney. In that case, if you're charged with a severe crime under Penal Code Section 288.2 of arranging a meeting with a minor, and a lot of times, you're not setting a meeting with a minor, you're arranging a meeting with the police.
The police are pretending like they're a minor. They're telling you either by text or on the internet somehow that they're a minor, and you're still agreeing to meet with them for purposes of some sex act.
There are defenses to these crimes. We will first evaluate whether they can prove the case against you. If they can't then, we're going to investigate it and set up a plan, and we're going to take the case to a jury trial.
I've done over 250 jury trials in my career. I've been very successful when it comes to that because I don't take cases to trial unless we have a very good chance of winning.
The flip side of that is sometimes the authorities have the evidence against my clients. If we evaluate the case and determine they've got the proof. They're going to be able to prove the case, we need to take a different approach.
Now, we've got to come up with a mitigation plan. Now, we've got to be able to tell your side of the story. We don't just get to have the other side of the story when talking about criminal defense.
We need your side of the story to get out there. We need to point out the mitigating circumstances related to you, what happened, what your life is all about. This includes your job if you've got a family, if you've got a future — we need to let the prosecutor and judge know about that, so they're looking at the whole picture.
That's what I do. If you want the best, if you're charged with this very serious crime, you're scared, I understand that. Pick up the phone now.
Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County and offers a free case consultation.