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Common Internet Sex Crimes in California

Posted by Dmitry Gorin | Feb 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Have you been accused of possession, distribution, or sale of child pornography, or contacting minors on the internet for the purposes of soliciting sex or other deviant sexual activity?

A conviction for a sexual related crime that involves children will have a life-long impact on your future. Not only will you typically face years in a California state prison, but relationships will be destroyed and there will be a lifetime stigma attached to Megan's Law sex offender registration.

Any evidence seized from your computer hard drive could be sufficient for the prosecutor to obtain a conviction, especially if you don't have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Internet technology makes it possible to exchange communicate anonymously.

There has been a sharp increase in people using the internet to send messages to minor in chat rooms in order to view sexually explicit pictures and find sexual partners. When minors become involved, this type of internet activity is often illegal in California.

Sex crimes refers to criminal charges involving prohibited sexual activity. This includes a wide variety of offenses, including indecent exposure, statutory rape, and sexual assault, among others. When prohibited sexual activity involves the use of the internet, it's typically referred to as an internet sex crime.

These criminal offenses often involve minors and a conviction will frequently change your life forever. It means you will find it difficult to find employment or live in certain neighborhoods.

If you have facing allegations or are being questioned about an internet sting operation, possessing child pornography, arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, you need to immediately consult with an experienced Los Angeles sex crime lawyer at Eisner Gorin, LLP.

Our law firm will protect your legal rights and start preparing an effective defense strategy. The most common Internet sex crimes in Los Angeles include the following:

Child Pornography – California Penal Code Section 311

California Penal Code Section 311 prohibits anyone from sending, transporting, duplicating, exchanging, advertising, or possessing, or persuading minors to participate in making child pornography.

Child pornography is legally defined as any material depicting sexual conduct by someone under 18 years old. This material includes pictures, film, or even slides.

Under PC 311, sexual conduct includes sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, masturbation, oral copulation, or any exhibition of genitals or rectal area for the purpose of sexual stimulation. In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to obtain a conviction, they must be able to prove you knew the nature of the sexual related material, and also knew the material showed a minor participating in or simulating sexual conduct.

Distributing Harmful Material to Minors – California Penal Code Section 288.2

California Penal Code Section 288.2 prohibits sending harmful materials over the internet. This law is commonly known as harmful matter sent with intent to seduce a minor.

What is considered “harmful material?” Under PC 288.2, the harmful material must show or describe sexual conduct that any reasonable person would consider offensive.

Therefore, harmful material includes sexual related pictures, videos, books, or even magazines.

In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to obtain a conviction, they must be able to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, you knowingly sent harmful matter to a minor, knew they were a minor, and you had the specific intent to arouse the sexual desire of yourself or the minor to seduce them.

California Penal Code 288.2 is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony crime. This decision is typically based on the facts and circumstances of the case, and your criminal history.

A felony conviction for violating PC 288.2 could carry a California state prison sentence of up to three years, and lifetime registration as a sex offender under California Penal Code Section 290.

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

California Penal Code Section 288.4 prohibits arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes. This type of internet sexual related crime typically occurs during a law enforcement internet “sting,” where a police officer will pose as a minor in a chat room.

It's legal definition states “Every individual who, motivated by an unnatural sexual interest in children, arranges a meeting with a minor for the purpose of exposing their genitals or pubic or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious.”

This legal definition means it's a crime just to arrange the meeting. It does not matter if the meeting actually occurred. Typically, these meetings are set up through chat rooms, text messages, or social media sites like Facebook.

Again, this offense is a “wobbler.” If you are convicted of a misdemeanor crime, you could get sentenced to one year in a county jail, a $5,000 fine, and registration as a sex offender.

If you have a prior conviction under this legal statute, or showed up at the meeting location, you will probably face a felony offense. If convicted of a felony crime, you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in a California state prison, a $5,000 fine, and registration as a sex offender.

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

In internet sexual related criminal cases that involve child pornography, or online solicitation of minors, the critical evidence is any material seized from your computer hard drive.

It's important to remember that even if you believe the material was deleted, forensic experts may be able to recover the material from your computer's memory that can prove very damaging to your case.

The memory on your computer will save websites you have visited, downloaded pictures or videos, emails you sent or received, and chat room conversations. If the Los Angeles County prosecutor is able to recover this significant computer evidence, you are facing an uphill battle.

Therefore, if you are facing criminal charges that involve internet solicitation of a minor, possession of child pornography, you must have a highly skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and expertise in defending cases with this type of extensive evidence.

Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

At the Los Angeles criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin LLP, we have the experience and resources to effectively challenge the evidence seized in internet sexual related cases. Our law firm can use our own independent forensic experts to analyze the prosecutor's evidence against you.

Our lawyers will thoroughly review all the facts and circumstances to discover how this critical evidence was saved on your computer hard drive. Our criminal attorneys will also closely examine how the evidence was collected by law enforcement. If any search and seizure laws were violated, this means the evidence can't be used against you.

This could force the prosecutor to reduce the criminal charges or even dismiss the case. Contact our law office at 877-781-1570.

Eisner Gorin LLP 1875 Century Park East #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-328-3776.

About the Author

Dmitry Gorin

Find me on Google+ Dmitry Gorin is a licensed attorney, who has been involved in criminal trial work and pretrial litigation since 1994. Before becoming partner in Eisner Gorin LLP, Mr. Gorin was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles Courts for more than ten years. As a criminal tri...

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