sex crimes

Internet Sex Crimes in California

Children are innocent and cannot protect themselves, which is why the law works to protect them. In California it is a crime to contact a minor online for the purpose of sending sexually explicit images to them or requesting the same, engaging in sexual conversations, possessing, selling, or distributing child pornographic images or depictions, or for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

When someone is accused of an internet sex crime, law enforcement will quickly obtain a warrant for the purpose of searching and seizing the accused’s cell phone, computer, and other records from his or her Internet provider. Here are the laws regarding Internet sex crimes in California. 

California Penal Code Section 288.2 – Distributing Harmful Material to Minors

An individual violates this law when he or she sends “harmful materials over the Internet.” But what constitutes harmful material? Harmful material is defined as that which shows or describes conduct of a sexual nature that a reasonable person would find offensive. In order to be found guilty of this crime, the accused must have had the intent to send this harmful material and that he or she meant to send it to someone who was under the age of 18, and that he or she intended to sexually arouse themselves or the minor, or intended to seduce the minor. Whether the crime is categorized as a misdemeanor or felony is dependent upon the individual facts of the case. The consequences for a conviction of this crime include time in jail or prison, fines, and a lifetime as a registered sex offender. 

California Penal Code Section 288.4 – Arranging a Meeting with a Minor for Lewd Purposes

This law is pretty self-explanatory: An individual violates this law when he or she arranges to meet a minor for lewd purposes. These types of meetings are often arranged after speaking in a chat room or on social media. Often a parent discovers the conversation and reports it to the police. However, sometimes law enforcement poses as an underage child for purposes of catching sexual predators. There is much debate as to the lawfulness of such sting operations, as many people believe that they are a form of police entrapment. 

It’s important to note that under this law it is not required that the accused actually has the meeting with the minor to be found guilty of a crime. Simply arranging the meeting for any type of sexual encounter is enough. Again, this may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the facts of the case and the criminal history of the individual accused. Penalties for this crime include incarceration. 

California Penal Code Section 311 – Child Pornography


An individual is found to be in violation of this law when he or she possesses, transports, duplicates, advertizes, exchanges, or persuades minors to participate in the creation of child pornography. But what is considered child pornography? This is any content that depicts any type of sexual activity with someone under the age of 18. This may also include illustrations, art work, and deep fakes. 

The Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman Helps Those in California Who Have Been Charged with a Crime 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in California, you should be sure to take it seriously. Such a charge can have tremendous life-long effects on you, impacting everything from where you can work to where you can live, to what you are allowed to possess. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorney who understands criminal law and can help to walk you through the whole process. 

At the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman, our San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorneys will work to defend your freedom, collect proper evidence to help your case and work hard to have the criminal charges against you dropped or your reduced. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!