In California, prosecutors and the local police are enforcing laws to stop the levels of prostitution. The California PC 647(b) outlines the crime. According to the law, the police can arrest any suspect who intends to commit a crime. It is not necessarily for the police to find you in the act of prostitution.
A law enforcement officer need only know that you intend to commit the crime for them to arrest you. A violation of the law is a misdemeanor and attracts heavy fines and jail terms. If law enforcement officers arrest you in Los Angeles, CA, over prostitution, you want to seek legal help from a dedicated and well-experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorney will help you fight the charges.
At Los Angeles Criminal Attorney, we are here to help you. We will evaluate your case and develop the best defense strategy to ensure you obtain the best outcomes. Our attorneys are well-experienced and ready t help you navigate the legal process.
The Legal Meaning of Prostitution in California
Prostitution involves loitering in public places with the intent to commit prostitution. As per California PC 647(b), loitering involves delaying in a place without a lawful purpose. It means you are delaying or loitering in the place to commit prostitution when an opportunity avails itself. However, if you pass in a public area, it does not mean you are loitering to commit the act.
You could not face charges for prostitution if you remained in a public place with a different intent. For example, you cannot face conviction if you are waiting for your friend in a public area to have a drink. Ensure you contact your criminal defense attorney immediately after the arresting officer arrests you over loitering to commit prostitution.
What are Public Places?
You are guilty of committing prostitution in California only when the action happens in a public place. The arresting officers cannot arrest you if you are not in a public place. According to the law, what is a public place? A public location is a place accessible by the general public. These places might be an alley, plaza, driveway, or park.
The law considers both moving and parked vehicles a public place. Other public places may include movie theaters, bars, restaurants, entrances to public places, and strip clubs. If you drive around with the intent to commit prostitution, you might become guilty of prostitution.
California Prostitution Laws
Under California laws, a prostitute is a person who commits sexual intercourse with another person in exchange for compensation and money, and the crime is outlined under PC 647b. You commit the crime when you violate any of the following basics:
You Had the Intent to Commit the Crime
For the prosecution team to accuse you of loitering to commit prostitution, they must also prove your intent to commit the crime. So, you cannot face conviction for loitering to commit prostitution when the prosecutor fails to prove your intent.
The prosecutor has the challenging situation of proving your intent to commit the crime. How can the arresting officers, jury, or prosecutor know your intention to commit prostitution? The police may misinterpret your actions. So, the police might arrest you for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ensure you consult your attorney immediately if the law enforcement officers arrest you. So what behaviors portray your intent to commit prostitution? According to California PC 653.22, the following actions may show your actions to commit the crime:
You reportedly beckon, stop attempts or engage in conversation with a passerby in a way that suggests you are planning or soliciting to commit prostitution.
You attempt or stop a vehicle by hailing, waving, or making gestures that suggest your intent to commit prostitution.
Circling in a particular place with an attempt to contact passerby or pedestrians in a manner that suggest prostitution.
The Law Enforcement Officers Found You in the Act
Per the law, prostitution means you are willing to commit sexual intercourse in exchange for compensation like money.
You Agreed to Commit the Crime
When the arresting officers discover you had agreed to commit prostitution, you face prostitution charges. So, the prosecution team will need to prove your intent to commit the act in exchange for compensation. Also, the prosecutor can prove you received, gave, or traveled to the agreed place to commit the crime. The case can be against you if the arresting officers discover you have condoms or a client's book.
You Solicited for Prostitution
To solicit prostitution means you request another person to commit prostitution in exchange for money. The prosecutor must show not only soliciting the other person to commit the act but also having the intent to engage in the crime.
What are the Legal Penalties for Prostitution?
In California, the law considers prostitution a misdemeanor. When convicted of the crime, you face the following penalties:
Six months jail term.
A repeat offender faces an increased jail term.
You could face other penalties based on your arrest. For example, when the arresting officers find you committing prostitution in a vehicle, you may face forfeiture since the court labels the car a ‘nuisance.’ Also, the court may restrict your driving license if you committed a crime near a residence.
If you face conviction under California PC 647b, the court requires you to register as a sex offender. Under certain cases, the judge will order registration as a sex offender as part of your penalty based on the available evidence. So, you must work with a competent criminal defense attorney if this is your case. Remember, registration as a sex offender will have negative impacts on your future life. Ensure you work with an experienced attorney to help you avoid harsh penalties.
Prostitution diversion is offered in court. A diversion program involves the prosecutor allowing you to attend a doctor-patient or day course conversation on the dangers of prostitution. It also involves having AIDS/HIV testing.
The test results are then placed in an envelope and presented to the judge. Again, you receive a completion document after you complete your class. You will present the complete proof to the judge as well.
You will either plead guilty or non-contest to the charge. Since you must initially plead to the charge, this is called formal diversion. When you fail to complete the requirements, the judge may sentence you, and you face conviction.
When you complete the requirements successfully, you will be able to state that you were acquitted after the case is dismissed. You must note that admitting to PC 647 (b) could have negative immigration consequences or affect your career.
You want to opt for informal diversion whereby you do not plead to the charge. In the diversion program, your misdemeanor case continues for months until you complete the assigned tasks. On the final court day, your charges are dismissed after you present a clean RAP sheet that shows you have not committed any new crime, proof of completion of the test, and completion of the class.
Courts and prosecutors vary in their way of handling prostitution and sex-related crimes. Therefore considering the help of a defense attorney would be an added advantage.
A conviction for prostitution ruins your life. When the prosecutor fails to offer diversion or dismiss the charges, you can use your attorney to reduce your charges. Your charges may be reduced, and you are charged with a non-prostitution-related charge. Mainly, you will be protecting your name from personal damage.
Offenses your prostitution charges may reduce to include PC 602, trespass, or PC 415, disturbing peace. When your charges are reduced, you protect your reputation. Again, your future employees will not understand you were previously involved in prostitution. Pc 602 and PC 415 are mostly charged as infractions or misdemeanors.
Legal Defenses Against Prostitution Charges
Facing charges for PC 647(b) can be devastating due to its impact on your reputation, relationship, and career. Below are common defense strategies you may use to win an acquittal or dismiss your charges.
Mistake of Fact
To face conviction for prostitution, you must have intended to commit the crime. The evidence would be insufficient if you can prove the circumstances surrounding your actions do not demonstrate the intent of committing prostitution.
For example, responding to an escort service without intending to engage in prostitution. After that, you meet an undercover officer pretending to be a prostitute. You thought you were going to meet a professional escort for a purpose.
The situation may involve a mistake of fact because you had a reason to respond to the ad, and you did not want to be in prostitution. Your lawyer may be able to show there was no intent and, therefore, no crime. In this case, the judge could dismiss your charges.
Lack of Trust
The prosecutor bears the burden of providing evidence to prove you are guilty of prostitution. Often, in prostitution cases, the prosecution will present evidence that is not trustworthy. For example, the police officer may testify about your conversation while undercover. Again, the officer may present that you reached agreements of engaging in prostitution.
The judge will rely on the officers' testimony. With an attorney representing your case, they will question why the officer did not record the conversation. It may present a reasonable doubt of the trustworthiness of the officer's testimony. You may use this defense by arguing the officer is lying or exaggerating the evidence.
You may have attended a party and become intoxicated when the alleged crime occurred. The law allows you to use the defense of intoxication to fight the charge. Your attorney, however, needs to support your claim. The attorney may review the law enforcement officer's records and check the alcohol and blood content during your arrest.
Violation of Miranda Rights
When the arresting officers violate your Miranda rights during your arrest, this could be the best defense for you. During the arrest, the police officers must inform you of your Miranda rights. The arresting officers might also have engaged in inappropriate acts like committing sexual activities for money. Due to the inappropriate behavior of law enforcement officers, the court may decide to dismiss your case or reduce the charge.
You Acted Under Duress
According to California laws, it is unlawful to force another person to commit the act of prostitution. Therefore if you were threatened to engage in prostitution, this could be the best defense to fight the charge. You want to discuss your case with your criminal defense attorney. Do not lie to the attorney.
No Exchange of Compensation or Money
Sometimes you might meet in a hotel with your lover for a sexual encounter without exchange for compensation. According to the law, lawful sexual encounters are legal. Therefore if you did not have an agreement to exchange compensation with the victim, you could employ the defense to fight the charge.
Compensation is not necessarily money. The parties of the crime may agree or accept items of value like drugs or property as compensation for sex. The judge may dismiss your case if the court finds no compensation in your agreement.
The prosecution wants to present sufficient evidence for you to face conviction. The prosecution wants to prove that you agreed to prostitution. For instance, you may have been involved in a vague and ambiguous conversation without a clear agreement.
Valid evidence is like the use of recorded conversation. Without this evidence, your attorney can challenge the prosecutor and determine that the evidence is unreliable enough to convict you. Again you may argue that you were joking without intent to engage in prostitution. Therefore, you cannot face conviction for prostitution.
Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers solicit or encourage you to commit a crime that you could not have committed. The police officer may promote the engagement by using threats, harassment, or flattery. Again, the officer may promise an irresistible compensation or threaten you will suffer injuries if you do not consent. The officer may also argue the behavior is legal to convince you to commit the act.
Example: Darryl is driving from his workplace. On his way, a distressed woman stops him and asks for help. She tells Darryl she is in town to locate her son, whose estranged father took him. She asks the driver to help her search for a motel room since she has no money.
Darryl agrees to help her and pays for a room for her. After giving the woman room keys, she begs Darryl to come in as she needs someone to listen to her. The undercover officer woman starts flirting, telling Darryl she needs money to buy clothing for her son.
Darryl declines her advances, but she convinces him by claiming to be lonely, and she also needs money. Since the lady is attractive, she puts enough pressure on Darryl, who finally agrees to be involved in the act. Here Darryl will not face conviction for prostitution as a police officer pressured him. Darryl may use entrapment as a defense to fight the charges against him.
To evade police entrapment, you want to prove that you did not intend to engage in prostitution. If you are involved in prostitution due to entrapment, you will not face conviction, and you can use entrapment as a defense.
Other Related Crimes
The crimes described below are related, as they are frequently charged alongside prostitution. Most of them have common elements the prosecutor must prove. The crimes include:
Human trafficking refers to the illegal trafficking of men, women, and children for forced labor, reproductive slavery, and sexual exploitation. Criminals kidnap and abduct people to be used as sex objects. Again people can be coerced or deceived instead of being kidnapped. Other times, victims of human trafficking are drugged using highly addictive substances, and the drug is used to control them.
Human traffickers find it easy to conduct human trafficking in areas with large airports, extensive international borders, major harbors, and vast coastlines. Trafficked humans are treated as though they are property, their destination. Federal law considers human trafficking a crime against humanity.
The crime involves many players, including recruiters, sponsors of funds, those who arrange travel marketers of the services, solicitors in need of the victim services, etc.
Elements The Prosecutor Must Prove
To face conviction for PC 234.1, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
You violated another person's liberty
You intended to obtain forced labor services
You intended to commit a felony
Penalties For PC 236.1
You serve in prison for 12 years
You registerer as sex for life
If you inflicted great bodily injury on a minor while committing the crime, your sentence would increase by five years.
You can use varied defense strategies to obtain a favorable outcome for violating PC 236.1. The common defenses include you did not deprive the victim of their liberty and false allegations.
Pandering, PC 2661
PC 2661 refers to persuading or encouraging someone to become a prostitute using violence, promises, or threats. PC 2661 also uses fraud to encourage someone to work in a prostitution house. The crime also involves procuring someone to become a prostitute or entering a location where prostitution is encouraged.
Elements of the Crime
To be convicted of pc 2661, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
You persuade someone to be a prostitute.
You used threats, violence, and promises.
You used duress, tricks, and fraud to persuade someone to enter a place of prostitution.
You gave money to someone to become a prostitute.
Penalties for Violating PC 2661
You serve in prison for 3, 4, and 6 years.
Your penalties will increase if the commercial sex involves a minor under 18 years.
Mandatory registration as a sex offender
If you have been accused of pandering, there are legal strategies an attorney may use to defend you. They include false accusations, lack of knowledge, entrapment, and lack of intent.
Loitering to Commit Prostitution, PC 653.22
Loitering is hanging around a business or a public area without a specific motive in the area. Prostitution refers to committing sexual conduct for compensation. Your PC 653.22 when you are loitering, and you plan to be in prostitution even if you never committed the act. The police may arrest you when standing at a specific location as they suspect you are a prostitute.
Understanding the Elements
The prosecution wants to establish the following facts to face conviction for the crime:
You were loitering
You were loitering in a public place
You wanted to in prostitution
Penalties for violating PC 653.22
A maximum of six months in jail
Deportation of immigrants
Fighting PC653.22 Charges
Any sex crime has long-lasting on your career and life. Luckily, there are several legal defenses that you can use to fight the charges. They include insufficient evidence, entrapment, mistake of fact, and Miranda violations by the police.
Supervising or Aiding a Prostitute
PC 653.23 prohibits anyone from directing, recruiting, supervising, or assisting someone in committing solicitation or prostitution. The statute includes anyone who receives money in a prostitution-related activity. The following situations make a defendant guilty of the crime:
Repeatedly communicating with a Prostitute
Engaging in conversation with soliciting an act of prostitution with a prostitute
You intended to engage in prostitution act with another person
The other person was aware you requested a sexual act
You accepted to engage in prostitution
Penalties for Violating PC653.23
Violating PC 653.23 attracts the following penalties:
You register as a sex offender
You serve in custody for 180 days
Mandatory HIV testing and sex education classes
Legal Defenses against PC 653.23
When you face charges for Aiding a Prostitute, you can use the following legal Defenses entrapment, lack of evidence, and not intending to supervise or aid prostitution.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
After an arrest for committing prostitution in Los Angeles, CA, you might wonder what to do next. You want to seek legal help from a competent criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We stand firm and ready to fight the charge at Los Angeles Criminal Attorney.
We have handled numerous similar crimes. Therefore do not hesitate to call us as soon as the police arrest you over prostitution charges. Contact us at 424-333-0943, and we will immediately swing into action to defend your charges.