Penal Code 266 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to entice a minor into a brothel for the purpose of prostitution, or to fraudulently procure a minor to have sexual intercourse with another person. A minor is a person under 18 years of age. A violation of this code section can lead to a felony charge punishable by up to three years in state prison.
The language of 266 PC states that “a person who inveigles or entices a person under 18 years of age into a house of ill fame, or of assignation, or elsewhere, for the purpose of prostitution…and a person who, by any false pretenses, false representation, or other fraudulent means, procures a [minor] to have [sexual intercourse] with another person, is [guilty of a crime]…”.
- attracting a 16-year-old girl into a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.
- tricking a minor into having sex with another person.
- using fraud to convince a 17-year-old boy to have sex with a neighbor.
A defendant can raise a legal defense to dispute a charge under this code section. Some defenses include a defendant showing that:
A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year in county jail.
A felony conviction is punishable by custody in a California state prison for up three years.
Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:
- 1. How does California law define carnal abuse of a child?
- 2. How can a person dispute the charges?
- 3. What are the penalties for a PC 266 conviction?
- 4. Are there immigration ramifications?
- 5. Can this be cleared from a person's record?
- 6. How will this affect gun rights?
- 7. Are there related offenses?
1. How does California law define carnal abuse of a child?
Penal Code section 266 criminalizes two separate acts. This means a person can break the law in one of two different ways.
First, a person is guilty of this California sex crime if he/she:
- entices or tempts a minor into a brothel, and
- does so for the purpose of prostitution or to have sexual intercourse with another person.1
Second, an accused is guilty of the crime if he/she:
- fraudulently procures, or persuades, a minor, and
- this is done to trick the minor to have “illicit carnal connection” with another person.2
“Illicit carnal connection” is sometimes referred to as “illicit connection.” These terms mean unlawful sexual intercourse.3 But the conduct could also include oral copulation.
Note that “procure” means the defendant persuades the minor to have sexual intercourse with a person other than him/herself.4
2. How can a person dispute the charges?
Criminal defense attorneys and law firms use several legal strategies to challenge allegations of carnal abuse of a child. These include showing that:
- the alleged “victim” was not a minor.
- the accused was entrapped.
- the defendant was falsely accused.
2.1. No minor
An accused is only guilty under these laws if his/her intended victim was a minor. This means it is always a defense for a defense lawyer to show that the victim was 18 years of age or over. Perhaps, for example, an accused's enticement or inveiglement involved an adult.
In many of these cases, suspects are often arrested and accused after an undercover sting. Any later charges, though, must get dropped if the officer lured a suspect into committing the crime.
This “luring” is known as entrapment. It is an acceptable legal defense provided that the accused shows he/she only committed the crime because of the entrapment.
2.3. Falsely accused
As with any offense that involves minors, PC 266 involves a large number of false accusations that lead to wrongful arrests. Anger, revenge, and jealously are all sources that could lead one to unjustly accuse a person of this crime.
3. What are the penalties for a PC 266 conviction?
A violation of these laws is a wobbler. This means a prosecutor can charge it as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by:
- imprisonment for up to one year in county jail, and/or
- a maximum fine of two thousand dollars.5
A felony conviction is punishable by:
- custody in state prison for up to three years, and/or
- a maximum fine of $2,000.
A conviction also results in a 10-year obligation for the defendant to:
- register as a sex offender, and
- do so as a tier one offender.
Sex offender registration is mandated under Penal Code 290 PC.
4. Are there immigration ramifications?
A conviction under this statute will have negative immigration consequences.
United States immigration law says that crimes involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”) will cause a non-citizen defendant to be:
One type of CIMT is an offense that involves fraud. Since fraud is an element of this crime, a conviction is harmful to a non-citizen's immigration status.7
5. Can this be cleared from a person's record?
A person can get a conviction expunged if:
- it was for a misdemeanor, and
- he/she successfully completed either a jail term or probation.
A person, though, cannot get a felony conviction expunged. Expungements are not allowed for offenses punished with prison terms.
6. How will this affect gun rights?
A misdemeanor conviction will not affect a person's California gun rights.
Felony convictions, though, will cause a defendant to lose his/her rights to:
- buy a gun,
- own a gun, and
- possess a gun.
State law says that convicted felons must give up their gun rights.
7. Are there related offenses?
There are three crimes related to the carnal abuse of a child. These are:
- contacting a minor to commit a felony – PC 288,
- arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes – PC 288.4, and
- pimping – PC 266h.
7.1. Contacting a minor to commit a felony – PC 288.3
Penal Code 288.3 PC makes it a crime for a person to:
- contact or communicate with a minor, and
- do so with the intent to commit certain California sex crimes or other serious felonies involving that minor.
Note that a defendant can be charged under both PC 266 and PC 288.3 if the accused:
- contacted a minor, and as a result,
- sexual intercourse took place between the minor and someone else.
For this to happen, though, the sexual intercourse would have had to involve:
- oral copulation, and
- “lewd acts” and the minor was under the age of 14.
7.2. Arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes – PC 288.4
Under Penal Code 288.4 PC, it is a crime to:
- arrange a meeting with a minor,
- do so while motivated by an abnormal sexual interest in children, and
- do so with the intent to engage in certain sexual conduct with the minor at the meeting.
The main difference between this law and PC 266 involves the number of parties involved. Under PC 288.4, the accused is the one that arranges a so-called meeting with the minor With Penal Code 266, though, the defendant is trying to arrange a “meeting” between the minor and a third party.
7.3. Pimping – PC 266h
Penal Code 266h PC is the California statute that defines the crime commonly known as pimping.
A person commits the offense if he/she receives all or part of the revenue from another person's work as a prostitute.
The crime is a different offense than that of pandering, per Penal Code 266i PC.
Unlike a pimping charge, a prosecutor in a carnal abuse of a child case, does not have to make any showing that a defendant received a financial gain from a sexual act.
For additional help...
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California Penal Code 266 PC.
Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition.
California Penal Code 266 PC.
See Immigration & Nationality Act ("INA") 237a2A.
Negative immigration consequences also occur even if a PC 266 conviction does not involve fraud. CIMTs include the offenses of child abuse and lewd acts on a minor (per Penal Code 288 PC). Since carnal abuse of a child is a similar crime to these offenses, a court would likely label it as a CIMT.