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Solicitation of Prostitution

California Solicitation and Prostitution Laws - Penal Code 647

Fortunately, there has been a policy shift in the Los Angeles County prosecutor's office regarding solicitation cases in the San Fernando Valley Valley Courts (Van Nuys / San Fernando) and other courts in Downtown LA.

I have recently convinced prosecutors to give my diversionary client sentences on solicitation cases. Getting diversion means you avoid a conviction on your record and is a massive benefit in issues that create such a stigma against you.

Amazingly, 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 dismissing your case 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 turnaround 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 lives ruined by one of these cases.

Several factors decide whether the prosecutors demand that clients take a conviction on their record.

However, on the first offense with no other crimes pending, clients now have a chance to avoid a conviction! This is a massive turn of events in this 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 to 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 at (213) 542-0979.

What Are the Key Factors in a Solicitation Case? 

To be convicted of solicitation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you, as the defendant, requested another person to engage in the act of prostitution, that you had intentions to engage in the front of prostitution, and that the other person received and understood the communication that was occurring.

They may even attempt to show you were loitering to commit prostitution. 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 is the judge's discretion to require sex offender registration as required by California Penal Code section 290, while other convictions require registration.

Are there typically recordings between police and the accused? This is a good question because if the police had a tape of every solicitation case, it would be straightforward to assess whether the person was innocent or guilty of solicitation of prostitution. It would be easy because there would be no dispute about what was said between the parties.

The crime of solicitation occurs when the defendant agrees to engage in a sexual act for money without being entrapped by the police. Unfortunately, in most cases, I see there is no recording.  The police usually have some wire to hear what is happening, but they do not record the conversation; they 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, and I have been in many battles over it on behalf of my clients.

It is still determined why the police refuse to record these alleged conversations.  Maybe they do not want anyone to challenge the defendant's arrest, and they figure that if they are the ones saying what happened, they will succeed with many more convictions.  

Also, I have seen many defendants become wise to what is happening during the conversation and try to back out of the proceeding 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 of why you must have the best criminal defense attorney by your side when you go into court.

What is an Entrapment Defense?  

This defense is one of the few defenses that can be utilized in a solicitation of prostitution prosecution.  Many clients tell me that the women in these solicitation cases engage them in flirtatious conversation. 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, you will need help defending yourself.

The key to the entrapment defense is that you can not be “predisposed” to commit the crime. There can not be evidence that you came to that location to solicit a prostitute. The police must plant the seed and get you involved with something you would have never done but for their actions and cajoling.

Can You Avoid a Conviction and Jail If Charged with Prostitution?

As I write this post in 2023, those individuals who are arrested and charged with prostitution have a good chance of avoiding a criminal conviction and avoiding jail time. I say this because I've been handling these cases for 30 years, and in the past, you end up with a conviction if they can prove that you're involved in prostitution. 

However, today's society views prostitutes as victims.  So, a lot of times, I'm able to convince the prosecutors to either dismiss a prostitution charge outright, not file the case at all under the right circumstances, or avoid jail time for my client.

We can also avoid a conviction if we can show that the person has no criminal record or is a victim of a pimp.

Perhaps it was a situation where a person could do some classes to help better themselves and get out of the prostitution business so we can convince the prosecutors that they should not be convicted and not have a mark on their record.

These are all things that can be done in today's day and age.  I don't know what the future holds for this particular crime, but if you or a loved one is charged with prostitution, you need the best attorney. 

You've come to the right place.  I can often make your record clean through a diversionary resolution in your case or, again, not even having the case filed if we can do some pretrial intervention with the prosecutors.

What Must Be Proven for a Conviction? 

To convict a person of solicitation, the government must prove the following three elements…

  • The person solicited another to engage in the act of prostitution.
  • The person intended to engage in the act of prostitution.
  • The person communicated their solicitation so that the other party understood.

Many people think they must “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 public or private places, and the government must prove that the party acted specifically to solicit sexual intercourse from another.

There are many different ways that an act of prostitution can occur. The prosecutors would have to prove that one person offered another person a sex act in exchange for money. If this can be shown, both parties are guilty of solicitation.

My name is Ron Hedding.  I've been doing this for 30 years.  I started out working for the district attorney's office. A superior court judge, the State Bar of California, and finally, in the early 1990s, I started defending people like you.

I have a lot of experience – local experience – especially in the Los Angeles courthouses.  Pick up the phone.  Set up a meeting with me.  We can talk over the phone or meet face to face, and we can develop a plan if you're charged with prostitution to avoid a conviction, keep you out of jail, and protect your record and reputation.

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