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Will I Go to Jail if Charged with Pimping and Pandering?

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

California's pimping and pandering laws are defined under Penal Code 266h and 266i PC. These closely related offenses generally address receiving financial compensation from commercial sexual activity.

Pimping and pandering are serious felony sex crimes and often involve illegal human sex trafficking and solicitation of prostitution. These two laws are so similar that defendants are frequently charged with both crimes, even though they have different elements.

For example, “pimping” is related to somebody receiving a prostitute's earnings, while “pandering” is related to somebody persuading another person to become or keep working as a prostitute. In other words, you don't have to receive money to be charged with Penal Code 266i pandering; instead, just the act of persuading someone into prostitution is sufficient.


  • California Penal Code 266h PC pimping is defined as the crime of receiving all or part of the proceeds of someone's work as a prostitute. A conviction is a straight felony punishable by six years in a California state prison.


  • California Penal Code 266i defines the crime of pandering as an act of procuring someone for prostitution or persuading, encouraging somebody to become a prostitute with promises, threats, or violence.

Our Los Angeles sex crime attorneys are reviewing the statutes below for more information.

The charges of PC 266h pimping and PC 266i pandering are severe, and most times, you will go to prison if you get convicted of one of those two offenses.

Will I Go to Jail if Charged with Pimping and Pandering?

The reason why is because anybody who is convicted in Los Angeles County, San Fernando Valley, or anywhere in California for that matter of pimping or pandering, there's a three-year mandatory minimum sentence for those particular charges.

People probably say I have no chance to end up with probation, a county jail sentence, or even a non-jail sentence.  That's not necessarily true.

Negotiation with prosecutor 

Suppose your attorney can negotiate a resolution where you don't plead guilty or no-contest to pimping and pandering charges. In that case, it is possible to end up with a non-prison sentence, even a non-jail sentence.

Of course, that's going to depend on several different factors when you're talking about cases in the realm of pimping and pandering.

For example, sometimes it's difficult to tell whether or not the alleged pimp is a “john,” meaning maybe the alleged pimp is not getting part of the money and is just somebody who is having sex with a woman for money.

That's a much different charge.  That's a solicitation charge that does not require the person to register as a sex offender, and it can even be filed as a misdemeanor case.

So, if you have to plead guilty to something when it comes to pimping and pandering, you're going to want to claim guilty to a solicitation charge over a pimping and pandering charge.  That's one example.

Factors That Determine Charges

There are other examples of different charges that can be used, but they're going to look at:

  • your criminal record to see if you have any other pimping and pandering-related offenses on your record,
  • any other sex-related offenses on your record,
  • the age of the women that are involved.

For somebody of age, you have a much better chance of avoiding jail or prison and getting a different sentence and charge than somebody underage.

In that circumstance, if they can prove the case against you, that puts you in a challenging position as far as trying to avoid prison time. They're also going to look at your overall general criminal record in deciding what should happen to you if you're charged with these crimes.

Level of participation in the crime 

Another significant factor is the circumstances surrounding what happened.  For example, some women who are involved in prostitution activities:

  • run their prostitution activities,
  • post their stuff online,
  • go out on the street and hustle up business.

In other words, they really don't need a pimp, and they're not using a pimp, but somehow you got locked into them for some reason or another.

That's a potential defense to the case.  If you can defend your case and the prosecutors realize they might lose, that's another significant factor in deciding whether or not they're going to make you an offer that involves jail or prison.

Also, right now, with the Coronavirus running rampant through the county jails, that's another significant factor. They don't want to put people in jail or prison to avoid it, but if the crime is severe enough, they will.

There are certainly thousands of people in custody right now. Still, the prosecutors, sheriffs, and even judges realize that they have to be careful that they don't put so many people in with the virus going on that they have to end up letting everybody go. They're starting to vaccinate people now, so that will probably make a big difference.

Penalties and Related California Crimes

Pimping and pandering are both straight felonies in California and carry up to six years in prison, plus fines and fees. If the victim was a minor under 18 years old, it's punishable by up to eight years in prison.  A pandering charge cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor.

There are numerous related California crimes for Penal Code 266h and 266i pimping and pandering, including:

  • Penal Code 653.22 – loitering for prostitution,
  • Penal Code 653.23 PC – supervising or aiding a prostitute,
  • Penal Code 647(a) PC – lewd acts in public,
  • Penal Code 647(b) PC – solicitation of prostitution,
  • Penal Code 236.1 PC – human trafficking,
  • Penal Code 272 PC – contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Negotiating Lesser Charges to Avoid Jail

The bottom line is, if you're charged with pimping and pandering, you do have a chance to avoid jail or prison if your attorney can negotiate some different charges for you.

Of course, the ultimate way to avoid jail or prison in these types of cases is to go to trial, be found not guilty by the jury; then, you don't have to worry about anything.

Not all of the cases you're able to do that.  It depends on what evidence the government has against you.  That's something you want to discuss with your attorney.

There are several common defenses we can use to fight pimping and pandering charges, such as:

Los Angeles Sex Crime Lawyer
  • lack of intent to persuade,
  • police entrapment,
  • false allegation.

Further, through prefiling intervention, we may convince the prosecutor to file formal charges before the court.

I've been handling pimping and pandering charges now for nearly three decades.

I've seen now that they're trying to stretch some of these charges and get people who are just giving women rides, who are getting a minimal fee for somehow being tied to the pimping and pandering activity.

So, you need an attorney to fight for you to put you in the best possible position.

Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal defense lawyer located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.

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