Prostitution is a commonly charged criminal offense in California, and it is one that can significantly impact your life, and damage your future. Nationally, police make up to 80,000 arrests for prostitution. California is known for its sex trade across the state, but particularly in Los Angeles and San Franciso, police aggressively enforce prostitution and solicitation laws.
As part of a growing effort to categorize prostitutions as victims, the California legislature recently changed the laws to decriminalize prostitution for minors.
Law enforcement is changing it’s focus to those who profit from prostitution (pimps and gangs) and those soliciting prostitution (johns) who are creating the demand for the service.
A prostitution charge can ruin a person’s reputation and cause the person to have a difficult time getting a job with a conviction on your record. Anyone who receives a citation or is arrested for prostitution in California is facing a serious situation. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight this charge.
The Definition of Prostitution
The simplest way to define prostitution is to say that it is the exchange of sexual favors for cash. In some cases, a prostitution charge can be brought forth even if there is no money involved. An example is when a person willingly accepts drugs and gives sexual favors for such drugs.
Other items such as clothing or electronics could count, as well. The main concept is that the person is selling his or her body as if it is a product. Such is against the law in the state of California.
Who Can Get Charged for Prostitution?
Many people can get charged with prostitution and related crimes. Some people even get charged when they are naive about what happens. The traditional solicitation act is when the prostitute stands on the side of the road and makes gestures to possible clients.
This person may say something provocative to let the person know what he or she does for a living. Both the person who offers the services and the person who buys the services can receive a charge that is related to prostitution. Sometimes other people set up the “dates” between the prostitutes and the clients.
These person are sometimes pimps or friends. Such persons can receive charges for their participation in the crime of prostitution, and they can receive stiffer sentences than the woman or man who sold the goods.
Penalties for Prostitution in California
The crime of prostitution is a misdemeanor in California, but some of the crimes that are related to prostitution are felonies.
A first-offense conviction for prostitution can land the person in jail for up to six months.
The fines that the accused may have to pay can be as high as $1,000. Subsequent offenses have stricter sentences and fines.
Penalties for Prostitution-Related Crimes
The state of California sees pimps and panderers as much worse than the prostitute’s crime because such people are violating someone else’s body. The prostitute’s body does not belong to third parties, thus they have no right to sell other people. Many pimps harm the prostitutes, take their money, and scare them into staying in the profession, as well. Therefore, they get the stiffest sentence of them all. Pimping is the act of taking a portion of the prostitute’s money, and pandering is the act of arranging the sale. A pimp or panderer faces up to six years in prison and some very high fines.
Minors in Prostitution
The state of California just passed a new law that forbids police officers from interfering with a minor that has engaged in prostitution. That does not make the act legal. It just means that they will look at the minor as a victim instead of a criminal in that matter. The old rules still apply to the people who are involved in pimping and pandering a minor. They face felony charges, and they may also face sex offender charges with mandatory registration.
Can I beat a soliciting prostitution charge?
If you receive a charge for any soliciting or prostitution-related crime, there are always legal defense options. The goal is always to avoid a criminal record.
Every case is different, but we can evaluate the circumstances and fact in your case, and give you an honest answer about what we can do for you, and what is the most likely outcome.
There are a wide variety of circumstances that can apply in prostitution cases. Honest misunderstandings happen. It is not illegal to have sex with someone and give them money afterward if it wasn’t a clear transaction.
When police are engaging in undercover prostitution stings, they must be wary of the rules of entrapment. Essentially, the police can convince someone to commt a crime that would not have otherwise done so, which is illegal.
But every case is different, and the facts can vary widely. If there isn’t an opportunity to get the charges dismissed, or win the case in court, we always work to minimize the penalties and damages you may face. In many cases, it’s often not as bad as you think.
Please calls us to discuss your circumstances with an attorney in a confidential case evaluation.