California Penal Code Section 647(b) – Prostitution
Prostitution is covered under California Penal Code 647(b) which is defined as having sex with another person in exchange for some type of compensation. California also has many other prostitution related statutes that can carry harsh legal consequences. In Los Angeles and especially Hollywood, many people who have been arrested for solicitation of prostitution were caught up in a “sting” operation where female police officers posing as a prostitute walk the street and wait for someone to solicit them for sexual activity. It’s important to note that a sexual act does not have to occur to be arrested for prostitution. Just an agreement to exchange money for sex is sufficient to obtain a conviction. In other words, there is no legal requirement for the person who made the agreement to exchange sex for money to actually follow through with the act.
If you have been accused of prostitution related crime, your reputation and freedom are at stake. Therefore, you need to consult with an experienced sex crime defense lawyer at the Goldstein Law Group as soon as possible. Our attorneys understand how to effectively navigate the criminal justice system and work aggressively to obtain the best possible outcome. Let’s review the most common prostitution related crimes in Los Angeles County below:
Lewd Acts in Public – California Penal Code 647(a)
The crime of lewd conduct is covered under California Penal Code Section 647(a). It’s described as solicitation or actually engaging in lewd acts in a public place or in view of the public. Lewd acts are described as touching of your private parts for the purpose of sexual gratification or to annoy or offend someone else. Private parts include genitals, buttocks, or female breast. In Los Angeles County, a lewd conduct criminal case is normally associated with sexual acts in public, including oral copulation, masturbation, or exposure of genitals. A public place is described as any place that is open to the general public, including city parks, parked vehicles, and public bathrooms where most acts of lewd conduct occur. If you are convicted on lewd conduct under Penal Code 647(a), it’s a misdemeanor crime that carries a county jail sentence of 6 months and a fine of $1,000. A conviction for lewd acts in public will not carry mandatory registration as a sex offender under California Penal Code Section 290. It should be noted that many people who have been charged with lewd acts in public are also charged with indecent exposure under California Penal Code Section 314. In order to be convicted, the Los Angeles County prosecutor has to be able to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, all the “elements of the crime,” including:
- You engaged in sexual conduct with another person that involved touching genitals, buttocks, or female breast
- Your sexual conduct act was intended to gratify yourself or to offend or annoy another person
- Your sexual conduct occurred in a public place where other people could have been offended or annoyed.
Available legal defenses against charges of lewd acts in public in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(a) will be determined after a careful review of all the specific details. Some of the most common include lack of sexual gratification or intent, sexual conduct was not in a public place, no other people were present during the sexual conduct, you didn’t actually touch their private parts, or police used entrapment to lure you into committing a criminal act you would have otherwise not committed. Every case of lewd conduct in public will have its own set of unique circumstances and evidence. Contact our Los Angeles sex crime attorneys to review your case and legal options.
Prostitution & Solicitation – California Penal Code 647(b)
The crime of solicitation and prostitution is covered under California Penal Code Section 647(b). This statute criminalizes soliciting an act of prostitution. This offense is typically filed against people who offer to pay someone else for sex either with money or something of value. Clearly, solicitation is a closely related offense to prostitution. Solicitation can refer to the “John,” meaning a man seeking sexual activity for money, or the “Prostitute” who offers sexual activity in exchange for money. Both acts are illegal even if the sexual conduct never occurs. Just the agreement to exchange sex for money is a crime. As stated above, many people arrested for solicitation of prostitution were caught up in police sting operations where female police pose as who are as either prostitutes or johns to deceive a solicitor into making a deal for sex. In order to convict you, the Los Angeles County prosecutor has to be able to prove the elements of the crime, including:
- You requested that another person engage in prostitution
- You had actual intent to engage in the act of prostitution
- The person you were asking received your request
A common example in Los Angeles County includes a situation where a man driving down a popular road observes a woman walking down the street by herself. He pulls his car up next to her where she asks him what he wants. He says he is seeking sex and willing to give her $100. The woman is actually an undercover police officer and the man is arrested, even though no sexual activity ever occurred. In this scenario, the man would be charged with soliciting a prostitute in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(b).
Prostitution is a misdemeanor crime that carries a sentence of 6 months in a county jail and a fine for a first offense. If you have a prior conviction for prostitution, you will receive a sentence of a minimum of 45 days in county jail. If you are convicted a third time for prostitution, you will receive a minimum jail sentence of 90 days. The most common legal defenses by experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys against charges of solicitation of prostitution include (1) there was no intent to actually follow through with the agreement; (2) insufficient evidence, and’ (3) entrapment, where police induced you to commit the prostitution crime that you would have otherwise not committed. If you are facing charges of prostitution in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(b), call the Los Angeles sex crime lawyers at the Goldstein Law Group.
Pimping – California Penal Code Section 266h
The crime of “pimping” is covered under California Penal Code Section 266h. It’s described as someone who knowingly receives financial support from the earnings of someone engaging in prostitution, or when they receive compensation for soliciting on behalf of a prostitute. In other words, a pimping crime occurs when someone earns money or other forms of compensation from a person they know to be a prostitute, and they encourage, promote, or entice them to commit a crime of prostitution for their benefit. A common example in Los Angeles County includes a situation where someone operates a massage parlor where they encourage their employees to engage in prostitution. As you can see in this scenario, the defendant is receiving a benefit from the act of prostitution. Additionally, in this common scenario, they could also face charges keeping a house of prostitution under California Penal Code 315, and human trafficking under Penal Code 236.1.
If you are convicted of pimping in violation of California Penal Code Section 266h, it’s a felony crime punishable by 3, 4, or 6 years in a California state prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. If the commercial sex acts involved minors under 18 years old, the legal penalties will be increased. Common legal defenses from experienced lawyers include (1) insufficient evidence to prove you actually had intent for another person to engage in prostitution for your benefit, (2) mistake of fact. If you are facing pimping charges, a conviction can be life-altering. Call our Los Angeles sex crime attorneys to review the specific details and legal options.
Pandering – California Penal Code Section 266i
The crime of “pandering” is covered under California Penal Code Section 266i. It’s described as the act of procuring someone for the specific purpose of prostitution. In other words, it’s crime to persuade or encourage another person to become a prostitute by making promises, or using threats, duress, or violence. Additionally, under PC 266i, it’s unlawful to procure another person to enter a place where prostitution encouraged or persuade them to leave California for purpose of prostitution to receive compensation. The term “duress” is a direct or implied threat of force, violence, or retribution that would cause them to do something they would not normally do. The difference between pimping and pandering is that a “pimp” receives financial support from a prostitute where pandering is influencing someone to become a prostitute, but it doesn’t necessarily mean receiving financial support from the prostitute. Pandering under Penal Code 266i primarily deals with the unlawful facilitation and encouragement of the act of prostitution.
If you are convicted of pandering in violation of PC 266i, it’s a felony crime that carries a legal penalty of up to 6 years in a California state prison. You will also be ordered to register as a sex offender for life under California Penal Code Section 290. Pandering is also considered a crime of moral turpitude, meaning a conviction of an undocumented immigrant could lead to deportation. Common legal defenses against charges of pandering include (1) insufficient evidence to prove you actually intended to persuade or encourage another person to become a prostitute, (2) Mistake of fact defense.
Related Prostitution Offenses
California Penal Code Section 653.22 – Loitering for Prostitution
California Penal Code Section 653.23 – Supervising or Aiding Prostitution
California Penal Code Section 314 – Indecent Exposure
California Penal Code Section 315 – Keeping a House of Prostitution
California Penal Code Section 236.1 – Human Trafficking
California Penal Code Section 266 – Seduction of Minor for Prostitution
Contact a Los Angeles Sex Crime Lawyer
If you are facing any type of prostitution related charges, you need an experienced Los Angeles sex crime attorney in order to obtain the best possible outcome on your case. A felony sex crime conviction can ruin your personal and professional life. The Goldstein Law Group has decades of a successful track record defending our client’s against any type of sexual related criminal charges. The first step is to let our lawyers thoroughly review the details of your case to start preparing an effective defense strategy. Our office is in the heart of Hollywood at 1645 Vine St #809 Los Angeles, CA 90028. Contact our law firm at 323-461-2000.
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