California Laws for Prostitution and Solicitation – Penal Code 647(b)
I have represented many clients in the Los Angeles criminal courts for the charge of prostitution and solicitation of prostitution over the last 25 years.
Fortunately for those charged with this crime, the climate has changed to their advantage. Many prosecuting agencies will consider allowing them to earn a dismissal in their case. This opportunity is saved for those charged with their first prostitution-related offense and generally have a clean criminal record.
If you are charged with solicitation of prostitution or some prostitution-related offense, contact me to discuss whether you are eligible for a diversionary-type program to protect your criminal record.
One big concern that the prosecutors seem to have related to public safety and the need to keep our society in good moral stead. If we can address this issue with them and make it clear that you are no threat to these concerns, we are well on our way to achieving a favorable resolution of your matter.
Other things that you can expect when it comes to a prostitution-related offense are for the judge to order you to take an aides education class and an aides test to ensure you are not infected.
Much of what the prosecutors and judges in Los Angeles County are trying to do with these cases is education and prevention. They know that many people get involved with prostitution-related offenses because they have some severe issues in their life that causes them to go down the wrong road.
If this is the case, they will consider giving you the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to make your criminal case disappear. It will be up to your criminal defense attorney to make it clear to them that you are not a threat to anyone and you deserve a chance to prove yourself.
If, on the other hand, you are benefiting in some financial way from the act of prostitution or have multiple convictions for prostitution-related offenses, then the judges and prosecutors will be aimed at severely punishing you.
They are particularly interested in stopping those who take advantage of vulnerable people who become engaged in prostitution because of some life circumstance. And, if they believe that a person is preying on this person, they will make sure that the person taking advantage of another person is punished with prison and stringent conditions.
The Law Related to Prostitution
The simple definition for prostitution under Penal Code 647(b) involves engaging in a sexual act in exchange for money or some other consideration. This means that it is illegal and falls under the umbrella of prostitution when one person offers another person some sort of sexual favor in exchange for something of value.
We have defended people for acts of prostitution off Craig's List ads, in Massage Parlor situations, loitering or supervising a prostitute on Sepulveda Boulevard or other locations in Los Angeles where prostitution is occurring in public and in many circumstances where the police get information that prostitution is happening and send in their agents in to infiltrate and arrest those involved.
Sometimes the police are so zealous in getting people for prostitution-related offenses that they entrap them into becoming involved with a case where the person was not predisposed to do so and would have never become involved with the scenario if the police did not actively pursue them.
Jury Instructions CALCRIM 1155
To prove a criminal defendant guilty of the crime of prostitution, the prosecutors must prove (CALCRIM 1155):
- 1) The person charged with the crime agreed to engage in the act of prostitution with someone else;
- 2) The defendant intended to engage in the act of prostitution with the other person; and
- 3) The person charged did something in the furtherance of meeting with the person to engage in the act of prostitution.
As you can see from the above elements, the prosecutors must put on evidence to convict a person of a prostitution-related offense. If any aspect of this crime can not be proven, the jury will find the defendant not guilty.
When I meet with clients to discuss their cases, this is exactly what we talk about. We will assess what they did or said and evaluate what the police will claim than did to decide how the case will be defended. This initial meeting is crucial in determining the best strategy to be employed so the person charged with a crime can obtain the best possible resolution.
Prostitution offenses are usually charged as misdemeanor offenses but still carry consequences that our sex crime defense attorneys want to protect you from if you are being accused of prostitution.
Our lawyers in L.A. are here to help protect your rights, freedom, and indeed your reputation as we understand that prostitution charges can be humiliating and have an effect on your family and career. We do our best to try and make sure you avoid jail time.
Prostitution in California is governed by Penal code section 647(b), which states that any person who solicits or agrees to engage in lewd acts for money or consideration can be charged with prostitution. The prosecution must prove that there was some act in furtherance of the agreement, such as taking off clothes or handing over the money.
You may face penalties such as jail time, payment of fines, and possibly sex offender registration. Our sex crime defense lawyers will do everything to prevent these penalties.
How to Get the Best Result in a Prostitution Case?
These California Penal Code 647(b) PC solicitation of prostitution cases are very serious because it puts a stigma on you if you are convicted for one of these offenses.
I've been doing this now for 30 years, and back when I first started, the prosecutors, for some moral reason, would never let my clients get the case dismissed and seal and destroy their arrest record so that we could be in a position where if they did certain things, they wouldn't have this record.
However, things have changed, and many times under the right circumstances, I can get cases dismissed through a diversion-type program and attempt to get the person's records sealed and destroyed.
You want to get an attorney on something like this and take it seriously because, again, having that record when someone does a live scan on you and checks. They will see that you were arrested for solicitation of prostitution and, depending on what happens, will also see the result in the case.
Fortunately, though, if you have no criminal record and have never done anything like this before, you have a much higher probability than years ago of getting a result that ends with dismissal and protection of your record.
I've been handling these cases now for 30 years. I started working in the Los Angeles district attorney's office in the East Los Angeles branch, and then from there, I worked for a superior court judge in Burbank. Since the early 1990s, I've successfully defended people like you handling these cases.
Fight the Case or Negotiate a Plea Bargain
First, we must see if we can fight the case because the police don't have the evidence to prove that you solicited someone. Usually, an undercover police officer performs some sexual act for money.
That's the definition of solicitation of prostitution. So, we need first to see if they can prove that. If they can prove it – let's say they've got the whole thing on a tape recording, and the facts of the case meet the elements of solicitation of prostitution, then we need to see what we can do to try to mitigate the circumstances.
This means we need to see if we can get this diversionary program I'm talking about:
- seeing if you're suitable,
- seeing if you're eligible;
- seeing if the jurisdiction where your case is pending handles cases this way and what your defense attorney can do for you.
Meeting to Determine Best Strategy
What I have you do is come in. We meet. We go over everything. I encourage you to be honest and give me all of the facts and details so I can best defend you. Once I have reviewed the police report in the case, we have you review it, then we talk and get down to the nitty-gritting about exactly how the case will be handled.
I'll also speak to the prosecutors about it and the Judge if necessary and if it makes sense, and then we'll decide exactly how we will handle things. So, if you need the best, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone. Make the call. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.