It's a pretty fine distinction between prostitution and solicitation of prostitution. Obviously, solicitation has to do with somebody offering money for some sort of sexual act. Once the offer is made and accepted, the crime of solicitation has been completed even if the parties don't engage in any type of a sexual act. So, if somebody says to you, I'll do something sexually, all you have to do is pay me $50.00 and you agree, then you can be charged and conviction of solicitation of prostitution, as can the other person as well. California Penal Code 647(b) covers prostitution charges.
Agreement To Engage in a Sexual Act
Where the prostitution comes in is if somebody actually does the solicitation and the act is accomplished, then you have a prostitution situation that can be charged against the party who is the prostitution who agrees to engage in a sexual act and does engage in a sexual act with another person.
The police and prosecutors have really become the moral police to a degree where they're actually going out and seeking those individuals who are involved in sex for money and either setting things up to lure people in or going where they believe that prostitution is taking place, posting as a john and trying to arrest anybody involved.
A perfect classic example where they're actually going out of their way to be able to catch people in prostitution or solicitation of prostitution is the Robert Kraft situation where they actually go into a business under a ruse that there's some sort of a bomb scare.
They then put video cameras in that business, believing that that business is engaging in some sort of prostitution activity, and they film for a period of time, and then they pull people over as they come out of the location and eventually they review the video and arrest a bunch of people.
Fourth Amendment Rights
The problem with this is they're capturing innocent people on the video as well who are just going in for a massage and this is a violation of everyone's Fourth Amendment rights. This is not something that we want done, and this is the reason that Robert Kraft's defense team was able to overturn that case and get all of the evidence suppressed.
It's being appealed right now by the prosecutors but the argument the judge agreed to was that number one, you have to have some sort of mechanism in that scenario where you're putting cameras in to not look at the people who are lawfully going in for a massage.
I don't even see how they can set that mechanism up. This is not Big Brother — George Orwell — where you're putting cameras in everywhere to watch people. People are behind closed doors where nobody else can see. The police should not be in there. That's the bottom line.
The second issue was that they were just pulling people over indiscriminately. They were just making up traffic violations. It was so stupid because they're videotaping or audio recording the pull overs. You can hear them just making stuff up as they go along, trying to embarrass people and really had no reason to be pulling the people over after they arrest the massage location.
This is an example of the government gone wild where they're just doing what they want to do and it's very troubling that a judge signed off on this warrant for them to be able to put these cameras in private locations.
But this is what you have to be on the look-out for and this is where criminal defense attorneys have to be on the look-out for to be able to challenge these situations where prosecutors and law enforcement officers are going crazy and putting cameras in private locations where people are going. But that's how law enforcement are trying to catch people who are involved in prostitution and solicitation of prostitution.
Diversion Program to Avoid a Prostitution Conviction
That's the bad news. The good news is that a lot of these cases now — especially if it's a first offense — were able to get some sort of a diversion program in Los Angeles and be able to — if the person can complete the program and not have any new arrests — get the case dismissed and a lot of times even try to get their record sealed under the right circumstances.
So, the pendulum has at least shifted in that regard where there are circumstances where people can be protected against this horrible crime on your record of solicitation of prostitution or prostitution that when you go for a job interview people can pull that up if they have the right investigative agency.
Obviously, you don't want this, so you're going to want to try to either get the case dismissed if the police violated your rights or at least get a diversion program which is available and a lot of the courts in Los Angeles County, there's certain requirements that you have to meet in order to get this diversion program.
Obviously, you're going to want to hire an attorney and do everything you possibly can to get that case dismissed and see if it's possible to get your record sealed, or at least minimize the damages that can accrue when you're charged and convicted with prostitution or solicitation of prostitution.