California Solicitation of Prostitution Attorneys
Prostitution is defined as “any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration”. Penal Code section 647(b) prohibits anyone who solicits or engages in prostitution. This means both the customer (aka the “john”) and the prostitute can be arrested for this crime. Penal Code section 653.22 prohibits anybody from loitering in a public place for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.
Verbally agreeing to engage in prostitution is not enough. The person who agrees to the prostitution must do something “in furtherance of the commission” of the agreement. For example, if a defendant agrees to have sex with a prostitute and then actually goes to the location where the sex is to take place would be an act in furtherance of the prostitution.
Prostitution can take place as a street crime, in massage parlours or can take place over the internet. Many prostitutes are advertising their services over the internet as escorts through websites like Backpage and Craigslist. Law enforcement officers will target these advertisements and set up “sting” operations with undercover officers.
As former Deputy District Attorneys, our attorneys have actually worked with the Vice unit in setting up and executing these undercover operations. We have seen firsthand how the police make contact and we knows what clues the police search for. If you have been accused of prostitution, you need the aggressive legal representation of our Southern California law firm.
Elements of Soliciting Prostitution
In order to prove the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant willfully agreed to engage in sexual intercourse or a lewd act with someone in exchange for money or other compensation.
A “lewd act” means touching the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of either person.
The specific elements that must be proved are:
1. The defendant requested or solicited that another person engage in an act of prostitution; AND
2. The defendant intended to engage in prostitution with the other person; AND
3. The other person received the communication containing the request.
Prostitution is a misdemeanor crime with a maximum punishment of six months county jail. However, if a defendant a prior convictions for prostitution on their record, then the minimum jail time is 45 days county jail. If a defendant has 2 or more prior convictions, then the minimum jail time is 90 days county jail. Furthermore, the court has the power to suspend the driver’s license of either the prostitute or the customer if the crime was committed within a 1000 feet of a private residence and with the use of a vehicle. This suspension can last for 30 days.
Not only can a solicitation of prostitution conviction lead to criminal penalties, but it can also have drastic employment, licensing and immigration consequences. Having a solicitation conviction can prevent a person from finding a job or lead to a person being fired from their current job. Furthermore, many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers, accountants, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stock brokers, all require background checks. A professional who has a solicitation of prostitution conviction on their record risks losing their professional license, or never acquiring it in the first place. Perhaps the most severe impact of a solicitation conviction involves immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents, with a green card, or temporary visitors, with a student visa or work visa, can be denied admission or naturalization or even deported, with a solicitation conviction on their record. In fact, prostitution is one of the few crimes where even an arrest, without a conviction, can lead to immigration consequences.
Updates in the Law
In 2017, California decriminalized child prostitution. That means that children under the age of 18 cannot be charged with or convicted of prostitution or loitering to commit prostitution. The purpose of the law is to protect children who are being exploited by pimps and/or sex-trafficking rings. When signing SB 1322, Governor Brown declared “there is no such thing as a child prostitute”.
The Right Lawyers
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing criminal solicitation of prostitution charges. Many people who face solicitation charges are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of solicitation of prostitution, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. You need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly, who will negotiate with the judge and the District Attorney’s office skillfully, and who will fight in trial aggressively. You need the attorneys at the Law Offices of Fred Thiagarajah.
All of our attorneys have either worked at the District Attorney’s Office or the Public Defender’s Office. Whether it’s negotiation or trial, our attorneys have the training and experience to get the best results for our clients for their criminal cases and their immigration consequences. Our attorneys have worked in the Sexual Assault unit of the District Attorney’s office and use their specialized knowledge of sex crimes to defend our clients, including those accused of solicitation of prostitution. For an example of our work, please see our case results and read our client testimonials. With offices in Newport Beach, Long Beach, Murrieta, Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga, our team of attorneys has the right criminal defense experience in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
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