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California Prostitution and Solicitation Attorney – Penal Code 647(b) PC

How To Fight A Charge Of Solicitation Or Prostitution

If you were charged with solicitation or prostitution in California, you should speak to a criminal defense attorney. You need to know your legal rights, including how you could successfully defend against a conviction. My Rights Law has substantial experience helping people accused of sex crimes, including serious felonies. We will be there for you. To learn more, get in touch with a California sex crimes lawyer at My Rights Law for a free confidential consultation by calling (888) 702-8882 or leave us a message on our secure web form.

Today, music glamorizes exchanging sexual favors for money. Dozens of female rappers encourage listeners to take payment for engaging in sexual intercourse with others. In general, there’s a nationwide trend to replace the word prostitute with sex worker as the destigmatization of sex work grows in popularity. But don’t be fooled. Exchanging money for sex is a crime. An officer can arrest you and charge you with this misdemeanor crime if you take the advice of chart-topping songs.

Whether states should legalize prostitution is a matter of public debate, but it’s also something California lawmakers have considered. In 2019, former Governor Brown passed a bill that offers some protection and immunity to prostitutes.[1] This law stated that a prostitute might avoid prosecution if they report a crime that the person only knows about because they were engaging in sex work. For example, suppose a prostitute is loitering, waiting for a potential customer. While waiting, a drug deal goes down nearby. The drug deal ends in robbery and felony murder. The sex worker is the only witness.

But this is not the only law that has offered some degree of protection to prostitutes. Also, in 2018, former Governor Brown passed a bill that would allow survivors of human trafficking (i.e., prostitutes) to get their arrests and convictions dismissed, reduced, or expunged if they were for non-violent offenses[2]. The year before, California acknowledged that minors couldn’t consent to sex work[3], and so our state vowed to stop arresting and prosecuting them for this crime. Despite the Golden State’s progress, you should be concerned if an officer charges you with this crime.

Elements Of Prostitution

Whenever you’re accused of committing prostitution, it is advisable that you learn its elements. If one element is missing, either the prosecutor must reduce the charge to a lesser offense or dismiss this prostitution case. But what if your case goes to trial? The state must prove that each element occurred for a jury to find you guilty. In this instance, your prostitution attorney creates a reasonable doubt that the state has failed to check off each element’s box. Thus, the jury should find you not guilty.

We’ve discussed California’s political leanings as it pertains to prostitution. Now, let’s discuss how the law defines prostitution. For the state to successfully charge you with prostitution, a prosecutor must show that:

  • You solicited, agreed to, or engaged in sex work.
  • You committed this act to receive compensation, money, or something of value.
  • You had specific intent to engage in sexual intercourse to receive compensation, money, or something of value.

As the law suggests, the alleged customer doesn’t have to give you cash for the state to bring this case against you. Instead, the alleged customer can give you their collection of anime figurines in exchange for sexual intercourse, and the state can still charge you because the figurines are something of value. The alleged customer can give you a designer purse, but this is still something of value and compensation. Of course, the tables turn on whether you engaged in sex work for the purpose of being compensated or simply because you wanted to have sex, and the person offered you something of value as a kind gesture.

Penalties For Prostitution

Prostitution is a misdemeanor offense[4]. If you’re a first-time offender, a judge may sentence you to up to six months and jail and order you to pay a fine of up to $1000. But the penalties increase if you are a repeat offender[5]. If you’re a second-time offender, a judge may sentence you to a minimum of 45 days in jail. If the state accuses you of being a third-time offender, a judge may sentence you to a minimum of 90 days in jail, with an additional 90-day minimum for each subsequent conviction.

A judge might tack on additional penalties, such as suspending your driver’s license for 30 days if you were in a car and 1000 feet from a residence at the time of the alleged crime. In addition to your criminal record, this suspension will severely hinder your chances of gainful employment.

This aside, another impact on your life from a prostitution conviction is the embarrassment you may feel. Word can spread. Every time you attend a PTA meeting, you may suffer paranoia and fear that other parents are whispering about you. Pictures of your mugshot may appear on websites. A vindictive coworker may print them out and share them around your office.

Make no mistake. Potential customers have victimized prostitutes with sexual assault and rape. Once this reputation spreads, especially now that it’s public record that a judge or jury has found you guilty of this offense, you can expect sexual harassment from strangers, possibly coworkers, and solicitors. This is just one of many reasons why you should consult with experienced California prostitution defense attorneys immediately. Call (888) 702-8882 or contact us online  for a free consultation now.

Defenses To A Prostitution Charge

No matter the crime, there are viable defenses to it. But it’s always best practice to inform your attorney of your case’s nature instead of trying to resolve it on your own. For now, consider these defenses your attorney may use.

No Payment

It’s not illegal to engage in consensual sex with adults. Therefore, you may argue that having consensual sex was all you did. No one paid you. No one compensated you. No one exchanged anything of value in return for sex. The state can’t prosecute you for having a one-night-stand either, and carrying condoms while you’re walking around isn’t evidence of a crime.

Payment For A Non-Sexual Purpose

Suppose you and your partner decided to get romantic in your car. Afterward, your partner remembers that you’d asked for money to pay your vet bill, so they hand you some cash. Sirens go off, and an officer arrests them. Under these circumstances, you could argue that there’s a misunderstanding. Yes, you had sex, and, yes, the person you had sex with gave you money, but your intent was not to receive money from engaging in sexual intercourse. Evidence that you and this person are in a relationship and have no solicitation history would help your defense.

No Sexual Intercourse Occurred

Another viable defense is to argue that you and the alleged customer never engaged in sexual intercourse. It won’t help you to say something like, “I performed this sexual act, but I didn’t perform that sexual act.” Bear in mind that vaginal or anal penetration is not the only form of sexual intercourse that the law considers. Oral sex is sexual intercourse. The law may consider any sexual conduct grounds for a prostitution charge because California does not specify particular sexual acts. This means it’s in your best interest to deny any form of sexual conduct.

False Accusation

It can be a shock that someone would lie about you being a prostitute. However, this happens. Suppose that you and a friend have a falling out. This friend may become so angry that she accuses you of being a prostitute. This rumor can become far worse than passive, spiteful talk when the police come to arrest you. If this scenario sounds outlandish, it is rather plausible. This scenario has happened many times in different states where an ex-friend or ex-partner puts someone on an illicit hookup site.

A false accusation can put you in a state of emotional turmoil, even depression. This is because society can be quick to believe a lie. Society is less likely to believe that someone will lie on you just for payback. Yet, once you’re found not guilty, your good name and reputation are cleared. If someone falsely accuses you of having sex for cash, don’t lose hope that this is a viable defense.

Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when an officer agent entices you to do something illegal that you would not have done on your own. You must show that the officer did more than suggest you resort to pimping to use this defense. You must also prove that the officer did more than merely give you an opportunity to pimp. The officer’s persuasion must have been so overwhelming that you were trapped into breaking the law for this defense to be available.

There are various scenarios as to why and how this could occur. For example, officers may need to cover their tracks, or an actual might be paying them off. Entrapment may even stem from revenge. Whatever the reason, you can rest assured that our unsurpassed criminal defense lawyers will help you.

California Prostitution Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with prostitution in California, then consult with a criminal defense attorney. These professionals can help you become fully aware of your legal rights and how you could avoid a conviction. My Rights Law is experienced in helping people resolve prostitution and solicitation charges, including misdemeanors and serious felonies. For more information, contact a criminal defense lawyer at My Rights Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 702-8882 or through our secure form.

Other sex crimes we defend: Pandering

FOOTNOTES
[1] Senate Bill No. 233
[2] California Courts – Relief for Human Trafficking
[3] Senate Bill No. 1322
[4] California Penal Code 647(b)
[5] California Penal Code 647 (k) and (l)

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