Penal Code 266j PC - Giving or Transporting a Minor Under 16 for Lewd Purposes
In California, any form or version of child sex trafficking is a severe offense punishable by harsh penalties. Under Penal Code 266j PC, it is a felony offense to transport or arrange for the transportation of a minor under the age of 16 for the purpose of lewd or lascivious acts.
Related Penal Code 266 PC is the statute that makes it a crime for someone to entice a minor into a brothel for the purpose of prostitution or to fraudulently procure a child to have sexual intercourse with another person. A minor is anyone under the age of 18.
PC 266j says, “Any person who intentionally gives, transports, provides or makes available, or who offers to give, transport, provide, or make available to another person, a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of any lewd or lascivious act as defined in Section 288, or who causes, induces, or persuades a child under the age of 16 to engage in such an act with another person, is guilty of a felony and shall be….”
If you are charged and convicted of this crime, you could spend up to eight years in state prison and be required to register as a sex offender for life.
PC 266j - Explained
This law is designed to protect minors from sexual exploitation and punish those seeking to facilitate such abhorrent conduct. The law also explicitly targets would-be pimps who seek to recruit or offer prostitutes under the age of 16.
Penal Code 266j PC makes it a crime to do any of the following to a child under age 16 for "lewd or lascivious purposes":
- Give the child to someone;
- Transport the child somewhere;
- Provide access to the child;
- Make the child available to someone;
- Offer to do any of the above; or
- Persuade or induce a child to commit lewd acts with another person.
A "lewd or lascivious" act against a child, to which this law refers, is defined in Penal Code 288 as an act of a sexual nature performed with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the minor or the perpetrator.
Note that since this crime frequently occurs in tandem with other child sex crimes, such as violations of PC 288 itself, PC 266j is often charged along with other crimes.
However, it can be charged independently, as well. In other words, prosecutors don't have to prove that the child was sexually molested to convict you of this crime; they only have to prove that the child was offered, transported, or given the intent of doing so.
What Are the Elements of the Crime?
Notwithstanding any other crimes involved, to obtain a conviction against you specifically under PC 266j, prosecutors must demonstrate the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You transported, gave, or otherwise made available a minor under the age of 16 to someone else;
- You knew that the child was below the age of 16 at the time;
- You did so with the purpose of facilitating lewd or lascivious conduct involving the child; and
- You did so intentionally.
What Are Some Examples?
EXAMPLE 1: Jerry is an "errand guy" for an organized human trafficking ring. He's tasked with transporting three 15-year-old girls to a private party to “entertain" the guests with sexual favors. Although Jerry was not the perpetrator of this act, he can be charged under PC 266j for knowingly transporting the girls.
EXAMPLE 2: Darryl is the father of two young children, ages 14 and 12. He offers to give his 14-year-old daughter to an acquaintance in exchange for a large sum of money. Here, Darryl's attempt to "sell" his daughter for a lewd purpose could result in him being charged under PC 266j.
EXAMPLE 3: Timothy entices a 13-year-old runaway with an offer to "make a lot of money" quickly. He brings her to an illegal brothel and coaxes her to come on board as a prostitute. Timothy can be charged under PC 266j for enticing a minor to commit lewd acts with others.
What Are the Related Crimes?
Several California laws are related to Penal Code 266j giving or transporting a minor under 16 for lewd purposes, such as the following:
- Penal Code 266 PC makes it a crime for somebody to entice a minor into a brothel for the purpose of prostitution;
- Penal Code 288 PC lewd acts with a minor make it a felony to engage in lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old;
- Penal Code 288.2 PC sending harmful matter to seduce a minor makes it a crime to distribute any harmful material of a sexual nature to minors;
- Penal Code 288.3 PC contacting a minor to commit a felony prohibits any attempts to convince a minor to commit a felony.
- Penal Code 288.4 PC arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes law makes it a crime to coordinate a meeting with a minor;
- Penal Code 266h and 266i PC pimping and pandering law prohibit anyone from collecting any portion of someone's work as a prostitute or persuading them to become a prostitute.
- Penal Code 236.1 PC human trafficking law prohibits depriving someone's liberty with the intent to violate pimping and pandering or child porn laws.
What Are the Penalties for PC 266j?
Violating Penal Code 266j PC is a felony sex crime that can result in severe penalties. If you're convicted of giving, transporting, or providing a minor under 16 for lewd purposes, you could face the following penalties if convicted:
- Prison time: You could be sentenced to state prison for three, six, or eight years, depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Fines: You can be fined up to $15,000.
- Required sex offender registration: PC 266j is a "Tier 3" sex crime in California, meaning that if convicted, you'll be required to register as a sex offender for life.
What Are the Defenses for PC 266j?
Despite the seriousness of this crime, a skilled California criminal defense attorney can employ several possible legal defenses against charges under Penal Code 266j PC, as discussed below.
Perhaps we can argue there was a lack of intent, which is the most essential element of the crime for prosecutors to prove. It is also difficult to prove.
If your attorney can show that you had no intention of involving the child in a lewd act or you were unaware that the purpose of transport was for lewd acts, you may be able to get an acquittal or dismissal.
Perhaps we can argue that the child was 16 or older. If you can prove the child in question was past their 16th birthday at the time of the incident, you may still be charged with other crimes, but you would not face the penalties under PC 266j.
You can contact us for a case review by phone or via the contact form. Eisner Gorin LLP has offices in Los Angeles, CA.