WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO MAKE SURE YOUR RECORD IS KEPT CLEAN IF YOUR CHARGED WITH SOLICITATION OF PROSTITUTION (PENAL CODE SECTION 647)?
Fortunately there has been a policy shift in the prosecutor’s office in Los Angeles County regarding how they are dealing with solicitation cases in the Valley Courts (Van Nuys / San Fernando) and other courts in Downtown LA. Recently I have had great success convincing prosecutors to give my client’s diversionary sentences on solicitation cases. Getting diversion means you avoid a conviction on your record and is a huge benefit in these type of cases that create such a stigma against you.
YOUR SOLICITATION ARREST RECORD CAN EVEN BE SEALED IF YOU SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE DIVERSIONARY PROGRAM
Amazingly enough, it is even possible to get your arrest record sealed in a solicitation case in Los Angeles County as part of a new pilot program the courts have implemented for those individuals who qualify. This is huge, because just having your case dismissed is not always good enough for people who do not want anyone to know that they were arrested for a solicitation type offense. This is such a turn around from the court’s and prosecutor’s prior positions related to these cases, it is a whole new ball game and prevents good people from having their life ruined by one of these cases.
There are a number of factors that go into deciding whether the prosecutors will demand that a client take a conviction on their record. However, on a first offense with no other crimes pending, now clients have a chance to avoid a conviction! This is a huge turn of events in these type of case. To avoid a conviction like this on a person’s record is a result that can be a life changer. I encourage you to come and sit down with me so we can figure out what your exposure is related to your case and what I can do to minimize the effects of a solicitation case on your life. Your peace of mind and the protection of your record are only a phone call away (213) 542-0979.
WHAT MUST THE PROSECUTORS PROVE TO CONVICT YOU OF SOLICITATION?
To be convicted of solicitation the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you, as the defendant, requested another person to engage in an act of prostitution; that you had intentions to engage in an act of prostitution; and that the other person received and understood the communication that was occurring.
If convicted of solicitation the penalties can include jail time a fine, HIV testing and other requirements that are subject to negotiation by your attorney. Also, for some sex related crimes it judge’s discretion to require sex offender registration as required by California Penal Code section 290, while other convictions require registration.
IS THERE TYPICALLY TAPE RECORDINGS OF THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN POLICE AND THE ACCUSED IN SOLICITATION CASES IN LOS ANGELES?
This is a good question, because if the police had a tape of every single solicitation case, then it would be real easy to access whether the person was innocent or guilty of solicitation of prostitution. The reason it would be easy is because there would be no dispute as to what was said between the parties. The crime of solicitation occurs when the defendant agrees to engage in some sort of sexual act for money without being entrapped by the police. Unfortunately, most cases I see there is not recording. The police will usually have some sort of a wire where they can all hear what is going on, but they do not record the conversation, they just write what they heard in their police report. This makes the case come down to the police’s word against the defendant. This is not a fair situation in my opinion and I have been in many battles over it on behalf of my clients.
It is unclear to me why the police refuse to record these alleged conversations. Maybe they do not want anyone to be able to challenge their arrest of the defendant and they figure that if they are the ones saying what happened, then they will be successful with a lot more convictions. Also, I have seen many defendants become wise to what is going on during the conversation and try and back out of proceeding ahead or indicate that they were joking. Since this could be a defense to the crime, the police would not want that on a recording. Once again, this makes it much harder for the defense to defend the case and it is another example as to why you must have the best criminal defense attorney by your side when you go into court.
THE ENTRAPMENT DEFENSE IN A SOLICITATION CASE IN LOS ANGELES
This defense is one of the few defenses that can be utilized in a solicitation of prostitution prosecution. Many of my clients tell me that the women in these solicitation cases come up to them and engage them in flirtatious conversation and it is not them that initiates anything and they had no thought of paying anyone for sexual services. However, if you have money to pay, agree to pay and follow the undercover police officers instructions, then you are going to have a tough road to hoe in defending yourself. The key to the entrapment defense is that you can not be “predisposed” to commit the crime. Meaning there can not be evidence you came to that particular location to solicit a prostitute. The police actually have to plant the seed and get you involved with something you would have never done, but for their actions and cajoling of you.
WHAT WOULD THE PROSECUTORS HAVE TO PROVE AT A JURY TRIAL FOR YOU TO BE FOUND GUILTY OF SOLICITATION?
In order to convict a person for solicitation, the government must prove the following three elements…
- The person solicited another to engage in an act of prostitution.
- The person intended to engage in an act of prostitution.
- The person communicated their solicitation in a manner that was understood by the other party.
Many people think that they have to “solicit” sex from what would ordinarily be considered a prostitute. This isn’t true, as the rules above show. The government defines an act of prostitution as the performance of sexual intercourse, between two persons, for compensation, monetary or otherwise. Solicitation can occur in either public or private places, and the government must prove that the party acted in a manner specifically intended to solicit sexual intercourse from another.
There are many different ways that an act of prostitution can occur. The crucial thing that the prosecutors would have to prove is that one person offered another person a sex act in exchange for money. If this can be shown, both parties are guilty of solicitation.