Prostitution is a criminal act in California. According to California’s Penal Code 647(b), prostitution means to exchange a sexual act for money or other materials or services. The state’s prostitution law, under Penal Code 647(b), prohibits engaging in it and soliciting (offering) or agreeing to engage in the act. In accordance with California Penal Code 647(b), law enforcement may arrest the person soliciting, known as a prostitute, as well as the customer, typically referred to as a “John,” and the person who arranged the act, known often as a “pimp.”
Penalties for Prostitution Solicitation
Those found participating in prostitution – from performing the solicitation to engaging in the sexual act – are charged with a misdemeanor offense, under California Penal Code 647(b). If convicted, of violating the state’s set law, a person may face up to six months in a county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. Each time someone is charged with violating Penal Code 647(b), he or she faces an increase in the consequences for the offense. Additionally, in accordance with Penal Code 647(a), a person violating the law, while in a vehicle or within 1,000 feet of another person’s home could have his or her driver’s license suspended for up to a month and/or have his or her vehicle seized by the government.
Defending Prostitution Solicitation
When facing a prostitution charge in California, it is crucial to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can defend against an alleged violation of Penal Code 647(b). The following are some of the defenses that a knowledgeable attorney could use successfully to help a defendant avoid any serious consequences relating to this crime:
- An agreement was, in fact, not made between two parties. A police officer may believe that two individuals made an arrangement to exchange money for a sexual act, but maybe, no such agreement was made. Perhaps, the two individuals were just talking in the street about something other than prostitution, for example, and the police did not hear the conversation and just assumed he was witnessing prostitution solicitation.
- There was a lack of interest. To be charged and convicted under Penal Code 647(b), a person must have specifically displayed the intent to engage in, solicit, or agree to a prostitution act. The police may have not witnessed an exchange of money. This could mean, the defendant was not interested in moving forward with an act.
- There is a lack of sufficient evidence of the crime. The prosecutor must prove, without reasonable doubt, that the person violated California Penal Code 647(b). At times, the evidence does not exist to prove that the crime of prostitution solicitation actually occurred.
- The defendant is a victim of entrapment. Perhaps, the defendant agreed to prostitution only after being strongly encouraged to do so by an uncover agent. The agent may have acted in an overbearing way and the defendant may have never agreed to such an act under everyday circumstances.