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Contact a Minor for Lewd Act
PC 288.3
Law, Punishment, & Defense

Information on the crime of contacting or communication with a a minor to commit a felony sex offense against the minor is found at California penal code section 288.3 (PC 288).

PC 288.3 Laws, & Definitions

PC 288.3(a): Every person who contacts or communicates with a minor, or attempts to contact or communicate with a minor, who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a minor, with intent to commit certain sex offenses, is guilty of contacting a minor to commit a felony sex offense (PC 288.3 Abbrev.).

Sex Offense Listed in PC 288.3: The illegal sex offenses related to PC 288.3 crimes include, kidnapping, rape, gang rape, sodomy, oral copulation, lewd acts, sexual penetration by object, or and felony crime related to child pornography, and more (Most, but not all crime, listed in PC 288.3 involve sex offenses).

Note: Contact or communication with the minor means direct and indirect contact or communication that may be achieved personally, or by use of an agent or agency, by any print medium, any electronic communications system, or any radio communications device or system (PC 288.3(b) Abbrev.).


To prove the defendant’s guilt in a PC 288.3 case, the district attorney will need to prove that:

  • The defendant contacted or communicated with, or attempted to contact or communicate with, a minor [a person under eighteen (18) years of age];

  • When the defendant contacted or communicated with a minor, he or she intended to commit the crime of (rape, lewd act with a minor, sexual penetration with object, etc., against the minor; AND

  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a minor.

PC 288.3 Prison Sentence & Penalties

Prison Sentence: The prison sentence associated with a PC 288.3 conviction varies depending on the offense that the defendant intended to commit when he or she contacted or communicated with the minor. The following prison sentences relate to various common PC 288.3 allegations:

  • PC 288.3(a)/261(a)(2): Contact a minor under fourteen (14) to commit rape: Maximum prison sentence is thirteen (13) years

  • PC 288.3(a)/288(a): Contact a minor to commit lewd and lascivious act on a minor under fourteen (14): Maximum prison sentence is eight (8) years

  • PC 288.3(a)/287(c)(2)(B): Contact a minor under fourteen (14) to commit oral copulation: Maximum prison sentence is twelve (12) years

  • PC 288.3(a)/311.4(c): Contact a minor to use minor to pose for child pornography: Maximum prison sentence is three (3) years

Probation Sentence for PC 288.3(a): A probation sentence is a period of supervision instead of prison. A probation sentence is allowed in PC 288.3(a) cases, but a probation sentence is not guaranteed.


Whether a probation sentence request will be granted after a PC 288.3(a) conviction depends on many factors, including the defendant’s criminal history, the sophistication of the alleged offense, the terms of any plea bargain agreement, and more.

Note: A probation condition in any PC 288.3(a) case may include a condition to serve some actual jail time. However, a probation condition to serve jail time is much shorter than the prison sentence the defendant would otherwise have received if he or she was not granted a probation sentence.

Sex Offender Registration: If the defendant is convicted of contacting or communicating with a minor to commit a sex offense, then the defendant will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code 290(c).

Note: The length of sex offender registration will depend on the target offense alleged in the PC 288.3 allegations. For example, if the defendant’s target offense is to commit lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under fourteen (14) years of age, then the defendant’s sex offender registration requirement is a tier-two requirement. For more information, see Sex Offender Registration Requirements & CA Tier System for Sex Offenders.

Penalty Enhancements & PC 288.3(c): If the defendant is convicted of PC 288.3(a), and he or she has suffered a prior conviction of PC 288.3(a), then a five (5) year penalty enhancement will be added to the defendant’s prison sentence.

Additional PC 288.3 Penalties: In addition to a penalties listed above, if found guilty of contacting a minor to commit a felony sex offense, the defendant may suffer the following penalties: victim restitution, criminal protective orders in favor of the sex crime minor victim, loss of employment, loss of immigration status or deportation (for non-US citizens), loss of family law rights (child custody, adoption, etc.), court fines and fees, and more.

PC 288.3 Defense Options

Common Defenses to PC 288.3 crimes include, statute of limitations, insufficient evidence, illegal search and seizure, coerced confession, alibi, insanity, honest and reasonable belief minor was not a minor, entrapment, crime alleged as the target offense is not a crime enumerated in PC 288.3(a), and more.

Note: It is not a defense to Penal Code 288.3 crimes to show that the defendant did not have physical contact with the alleged victim. The attempt to contact or communicate with the minor is the same as contacting for purposes of PC 288.3 crimes.

For more information on defenses common to penal code 288.3 crimes, including a discussion of the statute of limitations and entrapment defenses, see Sex Crimes Defense Options.

If you or a loved one is charged with the crime of contacting a minor to commit certain felony sex offenses, or PC 288.3, call our sex crimes criminal defense attorney today. Our highly experienced team of sex crimes defense attorney, including winning trial attorneys, is available every day of the week for free consultations. Call today!



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