If You've Been Arrested for California Penal Code 647(b) Solicitation of Prostitution, Will You Have that Mark on Your Record for the Rest of Your Life?
California Penal Code 647(b) PC criminalizes both engaging in prostitution and soliciting, which is to request, encourage, or make an offer to pay for sexual activity.
Put simply, PC 647(b) makes it a crime to accept money or offer to pay cash, or anything of value, in exchange for sex.
To be arrested, charged, and convicted for violating PC 647(b) prostitution laws, you don't have to engage in the sexual acts that were proposed, rather only that an offer for sex for money was made.
Penal Code 647(b) PC charges can be filed against the prostitute, and the customer is commonly called the “John.”
Often, a prostitute will have a “pimp” who deals with setting up “business.” Still, this type of illegal behavior is prosecuted under separate laws such as Penal Code 266h and 266i pimping and pandering laws.
Our Los Angeles sex crime lawyers are providing an overview below for more detailed information.
Definition of PC 647(b) Solicitation and Prostitution
California Penal Code 647(b) defines the sex crime of prostitution and solicitation:
- “Anyone who solicits, or who agrees to engage in, or who engages in, any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation, money, or anything of value from someone.”
This means that an act of prostitution, which is often called a commercial sex act, makes it a crime to:
- solicit any act of prostitution,
- engage in the act of prostitution, and
- make any agreement to engage in prostitution
This includes engaging in sexual intercourse or lewd acts with another person in exchange for money or something of value.
The illegal act of solicitation of prostitution occurs when one person asks another person to perform sex with them and intends to carry out the proposed sexual activity.
What Has to Be Proven for a PC 647(b) Prostitution Conviction?
A prosecutor has to prove several different factors, known as the elements of the crime, to obtain a conviction for violating California's solicitation of prostitution laws, such as
- you requested someone to engage in prostitution,
- you intended actually to engage in prostitution,
- the person who received your communication with the request.
Further, along with these factors above, there also has to be an actual overt act, or a direct step, like:
- an actual discussion about a sex act in exchange for money, or
- going to an ATM to make a withdrawal of money for sex.
Related California Crime for PC 647(b)
- Penal Code 647(a) PC – lewd acts in public,
- Penal Code 314 PC – indecent exposure,
- Penal Code 653.22 PC – loitering with intent to commit prostitution,
- Penal Code 653.23 PC – supervising or aiding a prostitute.
Will PC 647(a) Prostitution Charges Show Up On My Record?
This is probably one of the most common questions and concerns that I get when people are arrested for solicitation of prostitution. They're concerned that it will be on their record for the rest of their lives.
Many want to know if they go to seek employment or someone runs their criminal record, simply when applying for an apartment, or maybe they want to coach their child's sporting event, so they have to run your criminal record, and that sex-related offense comes up.
Solicitation of prostitution has a negative connotation in society for morality issues.
So, if somebody's been arrested for solicitation of prostitution, they're going to be worried, and rightfully so, that their record is going to be marked forever.
Protecting your record
The answer to this question is, there are certain circumstances where your attorney can protect your record. The most obvious one would be that:
- your attorney goes to trial in front of a jury on your behalf and can prove you not guilty, and
- files a motion to seal and destroy your arrest record, and the judge grants it.
If those two things can happen, that would be a very effective way to get a solicitation of prostitution charge off your record.
Unfortunately, that's not always easy to do. Better than 90% of the arrests made for solicitation of prostitution in Los Angeles county result in some conviction. So, you can't always get that not guilty verdict and get your record sealed and destroyed.
Diversion Programs in California
There are diversion programs though across LA county. So, if you can qualify and the prosecutors agree to some diversion program that permits you to avoid a conviction and then later seals and destroys your record, that is a possible thing that I've seen happen.
This is one way that I've helped my clients in these California Penal Code 647(b) solicitation of prostitution cases.
So, number one, wherever your case is pending, whatever court it's pending in, they've got to be amenable to doing these diversionary programs where you end up getting no conviction and can seal and destroy your record, typically after a year from the date that the incident occurs.
Sealing Your Arrest Record in California – PC 851.91
There's a new seal and destroy that's come out under Penal Code Section 851.91, called The Care Act, that took effect on January 1, 2018.
Senate Bill 393 was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on October 12, 2017.
This allows you, after a year goes by, if you end up with a dismissal of your case, to get it sealed and destroyed, that's pretty easy to do.
The finding of the factual innocent is much more difficult. But, if you can get it sealed and destroyed and get your conviction erased, that puts you in a strong position moving forward.
Sometimes, though, prosecutors are not willing to allow people to do these diversionary programs. Sometimes they're just simply not available. So, it's going to depend on your criminal record.
It's going to depend on what you did in this particular case. You're going to have a rough time getting it sealed and destroyed in a solicitation case if:
- the person that you're soliciting is under the age of 18, or
- if it's an undercover police officer who tells you they're under the age of 18 and you still try to engage in some sexual activity with the person.
Criminal Defense for California Prostitution Cases
I think the number one common denominator, whether it helps me or not, it's the truth in getting a case dealt with the right way and trying to get a solicitation of prostitution off your record is having a great criminal defense attorney.
That's just the bottom line — someone who's been in and out of the court where your case is pending.
I've been practicing now in Los Angeles County for almost three decades, and I have had a lot of success with these cases because this is what I do for a living.
I'm in and out of these courts all the time. I deal with the prosecutors, and I deal with the judges.
I've made these arguments before, so I know what it takes to win, while other less-seasoned attorneys do not understand what it takes to win, do not know who they're up against, and a lot of times, they get shut down.
So, if you're looking for the best when it comes to a solicitation of prostitution case, you're trying to see if it's possible to clear your record, you've come to the right place. You've taken the first step.
Now take the second step. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in LA County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.