California Prostitution and Solicitation Laws - Penal Code 647(b) PC
Although prostitution carries less severe penalties than other sex crimes, the effect of the charge on families, careers, and reputation has consequences that we, as prostitution attorneys, understand the humiliation one may face if being charged with prostitution. Our duty to you as our client is to help you avoid jail time and to fight for your legal rights.
In California, under the Penal Code Section 647(b), any person, male or female, who solicits or agrees to participate in a lewd act for money or consideration, can be charged with the sex crime of prostitution. There must be some act in furtherance of the agreement, such as the handing over of the money or taking off clothing for example. The law does not only go after the solicitor but also the one who is the customer, who may also face some jail time.
What Constitutes Solicitation for Purposes of a Criminal Offense?
Although neither prostitution nor solicitation of prostitution requires sex offender registration, such charges still have serious consequences. Solicitation charges can result in three months in jail and a $500 fine, half the maximum amount of jail time and half the maximum fine imposed if charged for prostitution. Additionally, it is within the Judge's discretion to require sex offender registration.
Our Los Angeles sex crime defense lawyers are here to do everything we can to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a minimum. Involved is a massage parlor arrest? Our experience and skill qualify us to effectively represent you in your matter.
Being charged with solicitation for prostitution or prostitution can be embarrassing and have an effect on your reputation, career, and family. We, as your defense lawyers, make it our goal to get you the best results possible.
When it comes to the solicitation, there's a lot of confusion about this concept — how it relates to crimes; how it relates to sex offenses; what you have to do to actually be charged with solicitation, and really, we're talking solicitation of prostitution or solicitation of some sort of a sexual act.
A lot of people will come in my office. They're charged with solicitation. They can't figure it out. They say, I didn't engage in any prostitution act. I didn't realize that whoever I was dealing with was a prostitute.
But really, solicitation is some sort of a conversation between you and someone else — it could be an undercover police officer or anybody — where you agree that you're going to be involved in performing some sort of a sexual act for money. In other words, you can't pay money in Los Angeles, California, for some sort of sexual act. So, that's where the issue comes in.
Undercover Police Officers
You see these cases where someone is talking to an undercover female police officer on the street. The officer is saying, you want a date? What do you want? And then the person says something like they want a blow job or they want some sort of a sexual act, and then the discussion is had at $20, $50, $100, whatever the amount is and then there's an agreement.
At that point, the undercover female officer is going to green-light the other officers that she's got a solicitation. If money has been offered for a sexual act, the person is going to be arrested. They're probably going to take a picture of the person with the female police officer, take them into custody, and issue them a citation to appear in criminal court.
Now, there are a bunch of other different scenarios that can cause a solicitation. Someone can go into a massage parlor and solicit one of the women in there to perform some sort of sexual act and agree to exchange money for that sexual act. That would be the same thing that would constitute a solicitation.
But what if the act is never performed? As you can see from my explanation, that doesn't matter. If the act is performed, then the prosecutors can probably charge, under the right circumstances, prostitution. You've engaged in an act of prostitution because you've agreed to be involved in a sexual act for money, and the act was actually performed.
So, they've got this solicitation because a lot of times the act is not performed. Obviously, undercover police officers are not going to actually have sex or do some sort of sexual act in order to be able to arrest and prosecute the person. It's the agreement to engage in the act for money that is the problem.
Avoiding a Sex Crime Conviction
These prostitution charges are coming up more and more. Obviously, one of the things you want to do is figure out a strategy that, number one, can get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible because it's stressful and can cause you many problems.
I think the second thing you want to do is see if it's possible to protect your criminal record. In other words, the stigma of having a prostitution charge on your criminal record is horrific. Nobody wants that. If somebody goes to get a job and they have a prostitution charge on their record, obviously, that's a problem. If you're not a citizen and you're trying to get into the country, and you've got prostitution on your record, that's a problem as well
So, that's another goal that you want to have. Is it possible under the circumstances of your case — and this is something you're going to have to discuss with an attorney — to avoid that conviction — to avoid that mark on your record. Then lastly, in a prostitution case, you will want to avoid the punishments that come with some of these convictions depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.
Defenses Against Prostitution Charges
So, you get a meeting with an attorney and want to tell that attorney the truth about what happened. Sometimes there are defenses to prostitution cases. Probably the number one defense would be entrapment, which is basically, I wasn't predisposed to get involved in any type of prostitution activity, which is paying money for some sort of sex act or sex. I was just talking to this person and thought everything was legitimate, for example.
But if you're going in the San Fernando Valley on Sepulveda Boulevard near where some of these high-prostitution activities are taking place or on Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles where there are high-prostitution activities, and you're interacting with either under-cover or female police officers or actual prostitutes, you're just asking to be arrested because the police because of moral reasons and also because of the community being sick and tired of seeing people engage in solicitation related activities and other activities — drugs, and violence, pimping, pandering — all sorts of stuff going on that is related to prostitution-type activity, then don't put yourself in that position.
If you put yourself in that position, you're running the risk of getting yourself in a situation where you will be arrested. You're going to have to go to court. You're going to have to get an attorney, and there's a lot on the line for you. You've put yourself in a position where you can lose a lot — subject yourself to jail time, embarrassment and a mark on your record, which obviously you don't want.
Lawyer To Review The Facts and Details
So, what I have you do is come in, and we sit down and get all of the facts and details. Obviously, I'm going to want an honest accounting from you, and then I can give you an idea of what you're facing, some of the strategies we can employ to defend you and try to minimize some of the damage to you and what you can do to help me — the fact that you can get me character letters and other things that I will then use with the prosecutors and judge to try to get you the best resolution if you're charged with prostitution in Los Angeles.
This is a prevalent charge. We're seeing this more and more. People are being arrested. They don't know what to do. They don't know where to turn, and your first step, obviously, is to hire a seasoned local attorney who has handled these cases before, got results, obtained the results that you want to get, and can give you an honest opinion as to what you're looking at what they can do to help you and get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.
Even though prostitution is a misdemeanor offense, the consequences of your reputation being harmed, your career getting damaged, and the possibility of sex offender registration requirements are extensive. We will fight for your legal rights, and we are confident in the skill, knowledge, and experience they possess. Get in touch with us, and we will help you get out of this matter.