California law is so harsh on sex crimes that law enforcement can arrest for attempting to commit prostitution. You don’t have to engage in prostitution for you to get arraigned in a California court. If the police suspect from your conduct that you are out on the streets to engage in prostitution, they can arrest and charge you in court.
There are many conducts one can show in the public that triggers their arrest. Once arrested, the prosecution presses charges against you for loitering to commit prostitution – California Penal Code Section 653.22. Under California law, loitering for prostitution involves any activities that could result in the act of prostitution when in a public space. These acts include frequently stopping to talk to passersby with the intent of committing prostitution or waiving to stop cars in motions to solicit prostitution.
Persons with a history of sex-related crimes could get charged with PC 653.22 if the police find them loitering in public places. Minors who violate PC 653.22 in California face different convictions from adults. Punishment for Penal Code 653.22 violations in California are jail time, fines, or both. Your arrest for loitering to commit prostitution in Los Angeles, California, could happen at the wrong time and the wrong place. Afterward, it's the prosecution’s responsibility to prove that you had the intent to engage in prostitution. Also, you have the burden to prove your innocence.
You want to find an attorney who has in-depth experience with prostitution crime charges. The Los Angeles criminal defense attorney helps build a sturdy defense and represent you in court. You rest assured that our lawyers have the needed skill and knowledge to have your criminal charges dismissed or lowered.
Legal Definition of Loitering to Commit Prostitution – California Penal Code 653.22 PC
California statutes under PC 653.22 prohibits loitering in a public space to engage in prostitution. The intent of committing prostitution is evidenced by particular acts like enticing, inducing, soliciting, or procuring someone else to engage in prostitution.
Definitions of Terms
- Loitering -This refers to delaying in a place for long periods without a justifiable purpose. Loitering is an evident activity. The persons performing the act do not pass past a place but rather “hang around” and with no legal purpose.
- Public space - Refers to locations where any person can have access to, for example, parking lots, driveways to lounges, parks, alleys, and movie theaters. But persons “loitering” in private places, are not charged for PC 653.22 violation.
- Committing prostitution - Prostitution is a lustful act people perform in return for compensation like money or favors. Lewd acts involve physical contact between two people in a sexual manner. Soliciting prostitution is also a crime in California. Soliciting refers to a request made to someone else (sex worker) to engage in sexual intercourse in exchange for money.
How Can Police Tell When You are Loitering to Commit Prostitution?
Telling if someone intends to commit prostitution by loitering is quite a challenge to the law enforcers. It is not uncommon for law enforcers to misinterpret one’s intentions, especially when caught in the wrong place and at the wrong hour.
How Is Intent Revealed?
The law enforcers bear no right to arrest you until you display intentions of engaging in prostitution. The intent is shown by particular conducts which are proof that you purposed to solicit for prostitution or to lure another person to engage in prostitution – pimping.
What Conducts Show the Intent to Engage in Prostitution?
California statute – Penal Code 653.22 (a) details different conducts that law enforcers are obligated to make arrests if they notice them. These conducts are interpreted as loitering to commit prostitution, and they include:
- Stopping or attempting to stop passersby, then starting conversations with them a couple of times. The law enforcers could interpret such conduct as soliciting for prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22 (b)(1) PC
- Stopping or trying to stop moving cars through gestures like waving your hands, then begin conversing with the occupants of the automobiles. The police could interpret such a situation as soliciting for prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22 (b)(2) PC
- Driving in circles in a public space then stopping pedestrians and other road users and beginning conversations with them. The law enforcers could interpret such a circumstance as soliciting for prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22 (b)(4) PC
PC 653.22 is not determinative – there are several circumstances the juror could rule that they show the intent to engage in prostitution.
California courts could take in additional factors like your past conduct that showed the intent to commit prostitution even if it was a year before your arrest.
Other conducts that could have you charged with the crime of loitering to commit prostitution include:
- Having condoms on you during your arrest
- Walking with another person who has a prior record of prostitution crimes
- Giving the wrong identity like your name and birth date if a law enforcer stops and questions you
You want a good lawyer with an ability to build a proper defense on your behalf since the prosecutors, jurors, and law enforcers have the discretion to arrest, charge, and convict you should they interpret your intent as loitering to commit prostitution in California.
What Must the Prosecution Prove under PC 653.22?
According to California law, criminal offenses must fulfill certain elements before the court can punish the defendant.
While the police have the jurisdiction to arrest you if they suspect you of loitering to commit prostitution, the juror cannot impose any punishment before the prosecution can prove the intent.
Various ways which the prosecution could show evidence against your PC 653.22 charges include:
- The law enforcers arrested you for loitering - Loitering means you were lingering with no justifiable intent
- You were arrested in a public area - The prosecution, after proving that you were arrested for loitering, they also must present evidence that the police arrested you in an open space. Public places include bars, public parks, alleys, and parking lots
- Your intent was engaging in prostitution - Prostitution is the act of engaging in sexual activities for money, gifts, and many other favors. Sexual activity, according to California, the law is the act of touching genitals of an opposite-sex or having sexual intercourse for sexual gratification. Genitals include female breasts or buttocks
- Prior history for PC 653.22 conviction - If arrested loitering in a public place and your criminal record shows that you have previously engaged in prostitution in the past six months, the prosecution could use the history as evidence for your charge
Defenses for PC 653.22 Charges
Loitering for prostitution crime requires the prosecution to prove that your intent during the time of arrest was engaging in prostitution. You could, however, counter the prosecution through legal defenses. You need a reputable criminal defense attorney to build a convincing legal defense against your case. Legal arguments for Penal Code 653.22 include:
Lack of Enough Evidence
Not everyone who loiters in public areas is looking to engage in prostitution. Law enforcers are aware of spots infamous for prostitution activities. When on patrol, law enforcers lookout for possible conduct from members of the public that the law considers as intent to commit prostitution.
The police have the jurisdiction to make an arrest should they suspect your motives. See, maybe your dressing was provocative when stepping out to attend a party. When waiting for a cab, passersby got drawn to you, and some decided to approach you. Police on patrol could suspect you for loitering to commit prostitution.
Your defense attorney could argue that you were waiting for your Uber or cab when strangers began talking to you. You win the case if you have no history of any prostitution crimes.
Police Officer Entrapment
There are instances where law enforcers abuse their powers to arrest someone for violating PC 653.22. A situation where police can use extralegal means to make an arrest is when they appear in plain clothes and lure you into committing prostitution.
California law considers the extralegal approach as fraud, undue influence, or harassment. In your defense, you could prove to the juror that the police used unnecessary threats, flattery, or pressure for you to commit the crime.
You Had No Intent to Commit Prostitution
Lack of intent to commit a crime is not an uncommon legal defense in California. Not only should the prosecution prove that you remained in a public place without any lawful reason, but they should also show evidence that you have the intention to engage in prostitution activities.
No matter what clues the prosecution uses to mention an illegal intent in your case, the juror needs enough proof that you were loitering to solicit, persuade, or lure a prostitute.
Statute of Limitations
There is a specific period that is allowed for the law enforcers and prosecution to charge you for a crime. For loitering for prostitution crime, the prosecutor has no authority to press charges after one year after your crime commission.
If charged after one year of your offense commission, the prosecution violates PC 802 – the Statute of Limitations.
Not a Public Area
According to Penal Code 653.22, you commit an offense when loitering in a public place. So, if the police arrest you while loitering in your property, then the juror cannot sentence you for loitering to commit prostitution.
Miranda Violations and Police Misconduct
Particular PC 653.22 cases are complex, and the law enforcers must have the authorization to proceed with arrests. For instance, if you are caught circling a public place with your car for long periods, the law requires the police to obtain a search warrant of which a probable cause must support it.
During an arrest, you have the right to remain silent – the fourth amendment of the US constitution.
If the police search your car without a warrant, they violate your rights to privacy. Any evidence against your PC 653.22 case the police collect in this situation is not accepted in the court.
There are cases where the police profile defendants according to their racial backgrounds. Do not hesitate to let your attorney know about any racial profiling instance by law enforcers to build a much more robust defense against your charges.
Mistake of Fact
A crime is not complete if you assumed an untrue fact to be true. For instance, if you remained for many hours in a public place to commit what you considered prostitution, but the truth is your loitering was not to commit prostitution, you can use the mistake of fact as your legal defense.
Sentences and Penalties for Penal Code 653.22
Loitering to commit prostitution is considered a misdemeanor crime in California. Misdemeanor penalties for a PC 653.22 conviction are:
- A fine not exceeding $1000
- Jail time of a period not exceeding six months
- Probation. The juror could sentence you with probation with house arrest, without jail, or work release if it’s your first offense
Note that the juror has the jurisdiction to slap you with any of the above sentences.
Summary probation means that the court does not assign you a probation officer, but you must promise not to commit any misdemeanor or felony offense.
The juror can also order you to keep off particular areas, especially hotbeds for prostitution or to pay fines. But the court imposes additional penalties should you decide to flout your probation restrictions.
Mandatory HIV/ AIDS Testing
If convicted for loitering to engage in prostitution, the court may order you to undergo an HIV or AIDS test.
The court could order you to undertake a sex education class. Sex education classes are meant to teach offenders about sexually transmitted diseases and offer therapy for an evident sexual deviant character.
Following your PC 653.22 conviction, the juror could order you to keep off particular sections of your town or city famous for prostitution activities. You could also receive orders to avoid specific websites that are notorious for offering prostitution services. Restraining is at times added to informal probation too.
Withdrawal of Professional Licenses
You want to have a criminal defense lawyer closer, especially if your professional life is at risk. You could have your professional license withdrawn or suspended if convicted for loitering for prostitution. Professionals likely to get affected if they violate PC 653.22 include lawyers, therapists, dentists, boxers, cosmetologists, doctors, and psychologists.
Repercussions for Immigrants
If you are a non-citizen, you risk deportation from the US upon conviction for violating Penal Code 653.22 PC.
Suspension of Your Driving License
If you used a car to solicit, entice, or lure a prostitute, you risk having your driver's license revoked should the court convict you for the crime of loitering for prostitution.
Related Offenses for PC 653.22
There exist particular crimes that could get charged in place of or together with PC 653.22 PC. The juror and prosecution have the jurisdiction to choose what charges to press.
- Keeping a House of Prostitution or Ill Fame – California Penal Code 315 PC
California law prohibits anyone from residing or keeping a prostitution house. The statute refers to a house of prostitution as a house of ill repute or ill fame.
The prosecution, before your conviction, must prove that you resided in or maintained a house in which prostitution activities happened. They also should verify that you had full knowledge of the prostitution activities happening in the house.
Common defenses for the crime of PC 315 are police entrapment, lack of enough evidence, Miranda violations, or police misconduct.
If found guilty, the juror could sentence to prison for a period not exceeding 180 days with or without probation. You also could receive a fine of not more than $1,000. Other possible sentences include license suspension, deportation, and probation.
- Soliciting for Prostitution – California Penal Code 647b PC
Soliciting for prostitution is a misdemeanor crime in California. Any person above the age of 18 years commits PC 647b crime if they offer money, gifts, or favors in exchange for sexual activities.
Under California law, both the customer (John) and prostitute commit a crime if they engage in lewd acts or prostitution.
For a first PC 647b offense, possible punishment includes jail time of not more than six months or a fine that doesn’t exceed $1,000. Potential penalties for a second or subsequent soliciting for prostitution offense increase in California.
You face mandatory jail time of at least 45 days for a second offense or 90 days for a third offense.
Offenders using automobiles to commit prostitution crimes risk additional punishment like suspension of their driver’s licenses for about one month and restricted driver’s license for not more than six months. However, the prosecutor must prove that you were in your car during the time of the arrest.
Legal defenses you or your attorney could use for this case include mistake of fact, insufficient evidence, and lack of intent.
- Aiding or Supervising a Prostitute – California Penal Code 653.23 PC
PC 653.23 covers both prostitution and PC 653.22 crimes. Also, the statute prohibits you from receiving any amount from the proceeds of prostitution. The elements of this crime render it easier for law enforcers to arrest offenders than it is to arrest pimps.
PC 653.22 is a misdemeanor crime in California. So, if charged with this criminal offense, you risk jail time of a period not exceeding six months, a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.
The legal defense you or your attorney could use to have your charges dropped or reduced are police entrapment, the mistake of fact, or lack of intent to supervise a prostitute.
- Lewd Conduct in Public – California PC 647a PC
According to California law, the crime of lewd conduct in public is a misdemeanor. Lewd conduct, also known as dissolute conduct, refers to the act of touching/ fondling your private organs of someone else’s to anger another person or for sexual satisfaction. Private parts include buttocks, female breasts, or genitals.
But sexual activity in a public place within California is not a crime if there is no one likely to get offended, watching, or present.
Punishment for violating Penal Code 647a is a misdemeanor. Possible punishment for this crime commission is jail time in a county jail for a period not exceeding six months or a fine of $1,000 or below. The juror could as well sentence you to jail with probation.
There are myriad legal defenses you could use to gain your freedom or have your charges lowered and they include:
- Police entrapment
- Police misconduct or Miranda violation
- You never committed the offense in a public place
- You touched no one’s private parts
- Not one got angered or offered following your lead action
- You didn't feel your private parts for sexual satisfaction
- Loitering to Solicit the Purchase of Alcohol – PC 303
California law makes it a crime to linger near an alcohol store or bar with the intent of asking other customers to buy you drinks.
It is not uncommon to notice prostitutes hanging around clubs or entrances of restaurants and persuading patrons entering the premises to offer them drinks.
The prosecution must provide proof that you loitered, the place you strolled around was a club or bar, and you had the intent to solicit customers to buy you alcoholic drinks.
Since PC 303 is a misdemeanor crime, possible punishment is summary probation, jail time for not more than six months and a fine not exceeding $1,000.
You could benefit from various defenses against your case like lack of intent, you did not solicit for alcoholic beverages while at the bar, and police misconduct.
Find a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
If you or your relative is arrested for loitering to commit prostitution crime in Los Angeles, California, it is best if you search for an experienced lawyer. The Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help build defenses against your charges.
Hurry and consult with competent lawyers in our defense team today. Our track record of winning criminal cases is proven, and all that you need is to allow us to help you regain your freedom. Call us at 310-564-2605, and a criminal defense attorney will listen to your story.