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Child Enticement Defense

California Penal Code Section 288.4 Child Enticement/Solicitation Defense:

Though these cases carry a strong negative stigma, there are often defenses that can be pursued that will cause the dismissal of charges or the minimization of the consequences for the conduct.

The elements (facts) the prosecution must prove to get a conviction for child enticement are:
  1. Arrange a meeting person who is or is believed to be a minor;
  2. For any lewd conduct (includes exposure of genitals;
  3. Motivated by an unusual or abnormal sexual interest in children;
  1. If goes to arranged meeting – 2, 3. Or 4 years in prison
  2. With eligible sex prior - 16 months, 2 or 3 years
  3. Without meeting or prior, 1 year in county jail.

All require registration as a sex offender for life.

Stings for Child enticement or solicitation in California

We have been seeing an increase in police sting activity on sites like Craigslist, Backpage, Facebook, Etc.

Often, these stings begin with a solicitation for sex, paid or not, where the undercover appear to be an adult. At some point in the exchange of messages (we always get the full chat, text or email logs), the undercover will suggest that hey are actually a minor.


This raises several opportunities for the defense.

  1. That the defendant not believe the person to be a minor. This is based on a combination of the fact that originally the person was presented as an adult and the fact that the internet is notorious for misrepresentations especially about age.
  2. The other defense that often is available is related to the elements requiring the prosecution to prove that the defendant was motivated by an abnormal interest in children. This “motive” element is unusual in criminal law as most crimes do not require proof of motive. If the sting began with a representation that person was an adult, this will always be a potential defense.
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