Society and law alike take prostitution activities very seriously. Watching the news, the attitude towards prostitution and solicitation is evident. The criminal offense is so severe that its conviction can compromise not only your reputation but also your professional career, adding other repercussions like imprisonment and stiff penalties.
While undercover law enforcers flood in all corners of the city, you could get arrested on the slightest suspicion. The punishment, if convicted, is severe; your marriage gets broken, your professional licenses get revoked, and you could even lose your current job. You don’t want to throw the reputation and name you have built for several years away without a fight. If arrested for prostitution and solicitation, you want to hire the Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who can represent you well in court. They also should ensure you don’t end in prison, and if possible, get your charges dismissed using tactful legal approaches or defenses.
We have experienced criminal lawyers who can help you with your lawsuit. You don’t want your name to appear on the list of sexual offenders in California. After contacting our office, you can be rest assured that we will ensure a good outcome.
Prostitution & Solicitation Defined Under California Law
Engaging in sex or lewd acts in exchange for money, gifts, and favors linger in the mind when you hear of prostitution. Penal Code 647b PC also prohibits the act of offering someone else any form of payment via money favor, or gifts to perform sexual acts with them – soliciting prostitution.
Under California law, PC 647b the three behaviors are illegal:
- Engaging in prostitution activities
- Soliciting prostitution
- Agreeing to engage in prostitution activities
The above unlawful practices constitute the elements of the crime of prostitution and solicitation that the prosecutor should prove.
Engaging in Prostitution Activities
You subject yourself to criminal liability if you willfully engage in lewd or sexual activities with another person in exchange for compensation like money or gifts. A willful act is where you engage in a particular activity on purpose. The law enforcer could arrest you even if you had no intent to commit a criminal offense.
A lewd act refers to touching your own or someone else’s private parts. Private parts include buttocks, female breasts, or genitals. You must perform an indecent action to satisfy another person's sexual desires or arouse them.
Soliciting Prostitution Activities
Soliciting prostitution is the act of convincing someone else to engage in a lewd or sexual act in exchange for money. Here, you are the customer, also known as Johns, and the other person is the prostitute. The law requires that you had the intent to engage in a prostitution activity with someone else for the juror to sentence you.
Evidence of Intent Needed
The juror cannot find you guilty without proof that you had intentions of engaging in prostitution activities. Usually, the evidence of intent is shown after you offer money for sexual or lewd acts.
Not that the law doesn’t require the other person to show intent. You face charges for PC 247b even though the other person wasn’t a prostitute, was undercover police posing as a prostitute, or they never accepted your offer to engage in sex.
An Evident Intent to Solicit Prostitution Required
Often, the police officers presume some acts show intent to solicit prostitution while it is the contrary. The court cannot sentence you for soliciting prostitution if:
- You were present in an area infamous for prostitution
- You waived to passing cars
- You nodded to any passerby or stranger
- You got arrested for standing on the corner of a street dining a provocative dress
Agreeing to Get Involved in Prostitution Activities
You are only guilty of violating Penal Code 647b PC if you decide to perform a prostitution-related activity. Proving that you agreed to perform the act of prostitution is quite a challenge since the law requires the offender to have the intent to follow through on the criminal offense.
Therefore, the court could only sentence you if:
- You agreed to perform a lewd or sexual activity with another person for money
- You had the intent to perform prostitution actions with someone else
- Apart from the agreement, you offer something in return to facilitate the prostitution activity
PC 647b is a two-in-one crime. If you offer money or gifts in exchange for sex, you subject yourself to the crime of solicitation. And, the person receiving the offer in exchange of sex commits the crime of prostitution.
Something to Further the Commission Is Needed
The juror could sentence you for the crime of PC 647b if there were other acts you did in addition to consenting a solicitation. These acts include:
- Having the Johns who allowed the solicitation to strip
- Finding your way to the place where the lewd activities were to happen
- Paying the prostitute, the agreed amount
- Walking into a bank and withdrawing money with the intent of paying the prostitute
The Court Cannot Sentence Underage Persons
Under California law – PC Section 647b.5, the court cannot prosecute persons below the age of 18 years for solicitation and prostitution. The statute – California Senate Bill SB 1322, was passed on 26th September 2016.
The Senate bill, in addition to Welfare and Institutions Code 300(b)(2) amendments of Penal Code 647b, suggests that any underage person who gets involved in prostitution acts is termed as a – commercially sexually exploited child.
If a child under 18 years gets charged with PC 647b, the Welfare and Institutions Code 305 requires that enforcers take them to jail but rather temporary custody. From here, according to Welfare and Institutions Code 319(f)(1)(A), the court places the child with a relative or emergency shelter for 15 days.
Possible Punishment for California Penal Code 647b PC
The crime of solicitation and prostitution is a misdemeanor in California. Factors that determine the potential penalties for violating PC 647b are the location of the crime and if it was your first or subsequent criminal offense.
Sentencing for a First Crime Commission
If it’s your first-time violating PC 647b, the juror could sentence you to prison for not more than six months in county jail. The juror could also impose a fine that doesn’t exceed $1,000.
Second and Subsequent Solicitation or Prostitution Criminal Offenses
Under California law, solicitation and prostitution crime is considered a ‘priorable’ offense. Priorable crimes are those whose penalties rise with every subsequent commission.
PC 647k states that upon conviction for a second offense in California, you could face jail time for not less than 45 days. Things are more stringent for third and subsequent offenses. Here, you must serve for not less than 90 days in prison. All convicts serve their sentences in county jail.
Punishment for PC 647b In a Vehicle Near a Residential Place
According to California law – PC 647k, the sentence for solicitation and prostitution is harsher if you were about 1,000 feet near a residential area and used a vehicle to commit the crime. Besides the fines and prison sentencing, the juror could revoke your driving license for not more than 30 days. The juror could also issue you with a restricted driver’s license for a period not exceeding six months.
Note that with a restricted driver's license, you can only drive yourself to work or kids to school and back home. The court could also allow you to drive to other places if it’s your employer’s requirement.
Penalties from the Local Governments
There are additional penalties that your local authorities could impose if found guilty for solicitation and prostitution. If you violate PC 647b in Los Angeles, California, the local jurisdictions could seize and confiscate your car. California law allows asset forfeiture for some criminal offenses plus other penalties.
Sex Offender Registration for Convicts in California
There doesn’t exist a mandatory sex offender registration in California. But PC 290 states that the jurors have the jurisdiction to order for the registration of a sex offender only if the purpose of the crime was sexual gratification or resulted in sexual compulsion.
Possible Defenses to Penal Code 647b PC
Offenders have different options when it comes to legal defenses. While there is no one-size-fits-all defense option, you can, with the help of a reputable criminal defense lawyer, build a solid defense against your case.
Examples of defenses you could use in your PC 647b case are a mistake of fact, police entrapment, illegally acquired evidence, lack of enough evidence, and lack of intent. Also, your lawyer could seek reductions of charges against you or even complete case dismissal. But you need an attorney with many years’ experience to find their way through a plea bargain.
Law enforcers, at times, act in a manner that would result in a typical citizen committing an offense. Entrapment involves a lot more than only allowing an ordinary citizen to violate the law.
When speaking of entrapment, conducts that come into play are like:
- When an enforcer promises an exceptional reward when you engage in prostitution
- Police harassment
- Luring an ordinary citizen into performing lewd acts for pay
- Persistent and repetitive demands from the police
- The police promising you that you don’t violate the law and that you would not face any charges if you did the act
- A plea to empathy or friendship
“Decoy” Law Enforcers
You could consider going the entrapment legal defense way if you got arrested during an undercover police operation. A sting operation occurs when a decoy enforcer pretends to offer prostitution services or poses as a Johns. The undercover officer then attempts to lure the unsuspecting customers into offering them money in exchange for sexual acts.
Several decoy officers posing as Johns offer more than what regular customers can; hence, making it hard for even a non-prostitute to resist the offerings. Also, decoy cops posing as prostitutes can promise to offer exemplary and out-of-the-world sexual services. Typically, it’s so hard to resist such temptation even if you had no intent to hire a prostitute.
Police Entrapment as an Affirmative Defense
According to California law, police entrapment is considered as an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is where you bear the burden to prove the cop entrapment claim. The good news is, California law does not need you to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt. All that is required is only an establishment of the entrapment through the preponderance of the evidence.
A common legal defense to solicitation and prostitution crime, mainly where a written agreement is non-existent. Just like any agreement, the law primarily recognizes engagements that involve recorded transactions.
These types of charges usually raise suspicions in court. The court requires that when the police can't acquire written evidence, they present audio or visual evidence since, most of the time, cops conduct their operations when wired. The juror could hesitate to pass judgment before they receive proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Lack of Enough Evidence
The majority often confuse untrustworthy evidence with a lack of enough evidence. With this legal evidence, trustworthy evidence could exist, but the court could need more compelling evidence before passing any judgment.
You could meet up with a prostitute to engage in sexual acts and even offer a certain amount of money. The juror needs the prosecutor to provide evidence of intent.
Lack of Intent and Mistake of Fact
The intent is one of the primary elements of a crime. So, before the jury can convict the defendant, they need the prosecution to offer proof of intent. In the case of a solicitation or prostitution charge, the prosecution must prove that you have the intention of engaging in a lewd act.
If you had another interest other than a sexual encounter with a prostitute, your criminal defense attorney could use the mistake of fact defense. Also, there is no proof that you had the intent to engage in prostitution activities.
Plea Bargains and Reduction of Charges
If you have a reputable criminal defense lawyer, they could help you have your PC 647b charges reduced. Common reductions the courts offer after bargains for solicitation and prostitution are:
- California PC 415 – Disturbing the Peace
- California PC 602 – Criminal Trespass
- California PC 647a – Lewd Conduct in Public
Related Criminal Offenses to PC 647b
Associated offenses are those which you could get accused of together with or in place of Penal Code 647b PC. According to California law, the court has the discretion to choose whether to add or switch to these charges.
- California PC 266h/ 266i – Pimping and Pandering
California PC 266h - Pimping
According to PC 266h, pimping crime occurs when you earn a living through the proceeds of someone else's prostitution activities. The following are various situations showing how pimping occur:
- Request a cut from a prostitute after a customer to them
- Paying rent using money that a prostitute received from a brother as loan
- Taking money that a prostitute earns after they offer sexual “services” to a Johns
There are legal defenses that you and your attorney could take advantage of to have your case dismissed or charges dropped. These defenses are like lack of knowledge, police entrapment, false accusation, and insufficient evidence.
Pimping is a felony crime in California. If convicted for pimping, the court could sentence you to prison for a period not exceeding six years or formal probation. Underage persons convicted for PC 266h could get imprisoned for not more than eight years, and they are required to register as sex offenders in California for life. You could also lose the right to possess a firearm within California as the crime of PC 266h is a felony.
California PC 266i – Pandering
Pandering crime is closely related to pimping and often used together. The California law refers to pandering as the act of influencing another person to begin engaging and continue doing prostitution activities through:
- Violence and issuing threats
- Involving a brothel to accommodate the prostitute
- Luring another person into prostitution with many promises
- Deceit and fraudulent acts
- Paying someone else for them to become prostitutes
If charged with the crime of pandering, you have a couple of legal defenses you or your attorney could use against the charges. These include a lack of intent, false accusations, and police entrapment.
Pandering is a felony in California. So, a PC 266i conviction could result in jail time of not more than six years in a state prison or felony probation. If you possess a gun, the court revokes your license as needed by California law for felony convictions.
- California PC 653.23 – Supervising or Aiding a Prostitute
Other crimes that are closely related to PC 647b are PC 266i, PC 266, and PC 653.23. Under California law, it is illegal to receive money that someone else has earned through prostitution or help them commit the crimes of solicitation and prostitution.
Aiding a prostitute could occur when you drive someone else (Johns) to places where they could get a prostitute or drive a prostitute to a place where they could get customers. Aiding or supervising a prostitute in California, is classified under misdemeanor crimes. If convicted, you are likely to serve in jail for not more than six months or pay a fine not more than $1,000.
There are legal defenses that offenders could take advantage of and convince the juror to reduce or dismiss their criminal charges. These defenses include no intent to aid a prostitute, entrapment, or even the mistake of fact.
- California PC 647a – Lewd Conduct in Public
When speaking of lewd, you engage in intimate or sexual acts like touching of private organs. You could either touch your private organs or someone else’s. Private organs recognized by law are buttocks and genitalia.
But the law needs that for the lewd acts to become a crime if someone else gets offended. So, you cannot get charged if no one got offended following your lewd acts, or no one was present or watching. You commit a misdemeanor crime if you violate PC 647b. Penalties you could get following your crime commission are serving in a county jail for not more than six months, serving jail time with probation, or paying a fine not more $1,000.
You could have your charges reduced if not dismissed when you use legal defenses. These legal defenses include:
- You didn’t touch another person’s private parts
- Your lewd action didn’t offend someone else
- No one was watching while you went on with your lewd activities
- The place you performed your lewd activities was not a public place
- Miranda violation
- The primary aim of your lewd act was not sexual gratification
- California PC 653.22 – Loitering to Commit Prostitution
In California, it is a criminal offense to linger around a public area with the intent of committing prostitution. The prosecution, however, must prove that you met and exhausted all the crime elements before the juror could pass judgment.
Conducts that show the intent of violating PC 653.22 are frequently stopping and talking to passersby, often stopping or waving at vehicles and talking to drivers, or even driving around area infamous for prostitution and becoming passersby then talking to them.
Legal defenses you could use if arrested to win your freedom back are insufficient evidence, entrapment, lack of intent, police misconduct, not a public place, or mistake of fact. There are harsh repercussions that come with loitering to commit prostitution. You not only risk compromising our personal life but also your professional life. You risk losing your driving/ professional licenses, getting deported (for non-citizens), serving jail time, or paying fines.
Find a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
California law is serious on PC 647b crime. Consequences of prostitution and solicitation can give you sleepless nights, especially when you risk going to jail, having your professional license revoked, or losing money to hefty fines.
Owing to the complexities of the general criminal defense in California and “solicitation and prostitution” laws specifically, you want to hire the Los Angeles criminal defense who holds a perfect track record and many years’ experience. Our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the local courts, acquainted with California law, and uphold the commitment to all clients.
Time is not on your side! If you face charges for solicitation and prostitution, you want to deal with your case before it’s too late. The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney has successfully represented many people who faced criminal charges for solicitation and prostitution in Los Angeles, California. Call our office at 310-564-2605 when your professional and personal lives are on the line. We promise that your phone conversation with our attorney is confidential.