Have you been ARRESTED or contacted by the Police, a Detective, FBI, or CPS?
Prostitution and Solicitation crimes run the gamut of the entire spectrum of sex offenses — from simple misdemeanors up to serious felonies that can result in decades of prison time, such as:
Engaging in/Solicitation of Prostitution (California Penal Code section 647(b));
“Pimping” (California Penal Code section 266h);
“Pandering” (California Penal Code section 266i);
Loitering to Commit Prostitution (California Penal Code section 653.22);
Supervising or Aiding Prostitution (California Penal Code section 653.23(a)(1)); and
Human Trafficking (“Sex Trafficking”) (California Penal Code section 236.1).
All but the last of these seven crimes will be discussed below (while the last — Sex Trafficking/Human Trafficking – is discussed in another article on this website).
One of the most relatively benign of these offenses is codified at Penal Code section 647(b), which criminalizes – as a misdemeanor — you (allegedly) engaging in or soliciting prostitution. In the former scenario, you offered your sexual services for money or other financial consideration. In the latter, you acted as the customer for the same service(s).
If you – again, allegedly – acted as a procurer of sex workers (“prostitutes” is now considered to be an unenlightened term) in exchange for financial remuneration, then you can be charged with “Pimping” and/or “Pandering” under California Penal Code section 266(h) and California Penal Code section 266(i), respectively.
Alternatively, or in conjunction therewith, you might be charged with Supervising or Aiding Prostitution under California Penal Code section 653.23.
Finally, unless the prostitution conviction involves a minor, it will not be considered a registerable sex offense. See Sex Offender Registration (California Penal Code section 290).
Keep in mind that if you are a juvenile, you can no longer be charged with engaging in prostitution in this state (since you will be considered a victim of Sex Trafficking/Human Trafficking). See California Penal Code section 647(b)(5).
This has been the case (and for good reason, we think) since late Sept. 2016 when then-Gov. Jerry Brown enacted state Senate Bill SB-1322 (“Commercial sex acts: minors”).
The Los Angeles Defense Attorney Law Firm (LADALF) has enjoyed great success in disposing of Prostitution and Solicitation cases at the earliest stages. This occurs either while the assigned sex crimes detective (either from LAPD or LASD) is still investigating you – and, therefore, before he/she refers the case to the DA’s Office or the City Attorney’s Office for prosecution – or after he/she does so.
In the latter scenario, we would try to get the case dismissed either before the prosecutor files charges, or shortly after he/she does so (i.e., before he/she invests too much time and effort into prosecuting you). If we are unable to get the case (or potential case) dismissed (or declined), then we might be able to plead you down to an infraction for something as innocuous as:
Disturbing the Peace (California Penal Code section 415);
Trespassing (California Penal Code section 602); or
Disorderly Conduct (California Penal Code section 647).
California Penal Code section 647(b) — Engaging in or Soliciting Prostitution
To be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that you, as an adult, expressly conveyed your offer of sexual services to another adult, or acceptance of that offer, and that you had the specific intent to do so. Penal Code section 647(b)(1).
This expression of an offer or acceptance must take the form of some substantive, direct step towards that end, such as handing over the agreed-upon amount of cash. Penal Code § 647(b)(4).
There are several variations of this specific crime that involve minors, but those will typically be charged as other offenses, such as:
Contacting a Minor with the Intent to Commit a Lewd Act (California Penal Code section 288.3):
Use of a Minor Under 18 to Assist or Perform Sexual Conduct (California Penal Code section 311.4(d)(1)):
Unlawful Consensual Sex with a Minor (“Statutory Rape”) (California Penal Code section 261.5);
Arranging Meeting with Minor for Lewd Purpose (California Penal Code section 288.4(a)(1));
Going to Meeting with Minor for Lewd Purpose (California Penal Code section 288.4(b));
Annoying or Molesting a Child Under 18 (California Penal Code section 647.6); and
“Pimping” (California Penal Code section 266h).
If you know someone is a “prostitute” (sex worker), and you somehow make money or other financial consideration from his or her prostitution – such as connecting him or her to customers, or allowing him or her to ply their trade in your business establishment – then you’ll be charged with a felony hereunder.
California Penal Code section 266i — “Pandering”
If you supply, recruit, or otherwise convince someone to commit an act or acts of prostitution – through force, threats, fraud, promises of compensation, or via any other means, then you will be charged with this felony, regardless of whether or not you profited in any way from doing so.
California Penal Code section 653.22 — Loitering to Commit Prostitution
If while in a public area, you act in such a manner that obviously demonstrates your intent in engaging in or soliciting prostitution, then you will be charged with violating this criminal code – specifically, as a misdemeanor.
California Penal Code section 653.23(a)(1) — Supervising or Aiding Prostitution
If you make money from a prostitute/sex worker from his or her prostitution in a manner that does not constitute pimping or pandering as described above, then you can be charged with misdemeanor.
For example, you’re a bouncer at a strip club who moonlights as a bodyguard for exotic dancers who perform “special favors” for their favorite customers, and you take tips from the dancers (and perhaps from the customers as well) for doing so.