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(Cal. Pen. Code § 647, subd. (b).)
For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution.
Getting out of prostitution.
Many people engaged in prostitution think that they have no other alternatives. If you are involved in prostitution and would like to stop, there are organizations that can help you.
Pimping and Pandering.
Laws against pimping (making money off of prostitution) and pandering (facilitating or promoting prostitution) generally target third parties who benefit from the prostitution business, although they may also apply to prostitutes and “johns.”
Children and Prostitution.
Under California’s laws, it is a crime to procure or seek out the services of a prostitute who is under the age of 18. (Cal. Pen. Code § 261.9.) Until January 2017, it was also illegal for a minor to work as a prostitute, which mean that minors could be detained, placed in juvenile hall, and found to have committed a crime. Often, these minors were themselves child victims.
California legislators changed this unethical and unfair scenario by providing, effective January 2017, that no minor engaged in an act of prostitution may be arrested for that offense. Instead, law enforcement who encounter a minor engaged in a commercial sex act must refer that minor to the county child welfare agency, where the minor will be evaluated and possibly adjudged a ward of the juvenile court. A child in this situation may be taken into immediate custody if his or her health or safety requires it. (Penal Code § § 647 and 653.22.)
Prostitution by an adult is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in a jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Prior to January 2017, the law imposed mandatory incarceration periods for defendants who have committed a second or third act of prostitution. These mandatory minimum terms of incarceration were removed by the Legislature. (SB 1129; Cal. Pen. Code § 647.)
In addition to any other punishment imposed, a person who uses or seeks the services of a prostitute under the age of 18 can be fined up to $25,000.
Additionally, a conviction for prostitution may make it difficult to obtain certain jobs or professional licenses.
Getting Legal Advice and Counsel.
If you are charged with prostitution, you should contact a California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can tell you how your case is likely to fare in court and make the strongest possible arguments on your behalf, so that you can achieve the best possible outcome in your case. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed, obtain an acquittal, or be sentenced to probation or a shorter term than the maximum allowed by law.
California Prostitution & Solicitation Laws.
Penal Code 647(b) PC.
Despite being known as the “oldest profession in the world,” prostitution still gets prosecuted aggressively as a criminal act. Prostitution, simply put, means to engage in a sexual act in exchange for money or other consideration (that is, other goods or services).
California prostitution law under Penal Code 647(b) PC prohibits.
engaging in the act of prostitution, and offering (this is also known as “solicitation”) or agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution. 1.
So California’s prostitution statute allow law enforcement officers to arrest.
the prostitute, the customer, otherwise known as a “john,” and (where appropriate), the middleman, otherwise known as a pimp. The “pimp” is arrested if he/she (1) arranges or participates in soliciting the agreement, (2) receives part or all of a prostitute’s pay, or (3) participates in procuring the prostitute. These crimes, described in Penal Code 266h and 266i PC, are commonly referred to as “pimping and pandering.” 2 A middleman may also be arrested under Penal Code 653.23 PC, which prohibits the more general crime of “supervising or aiding” a prostitute. 3.
There is often an enormous amount of political and social pressure to arrest those involved in prostitution offenses. As a result, law enforcement agencies typically invest substantial resources in vice squad operations.
Specific examples of behavior that can lead to California prostitution charges.or even a conviction. include:
A man offering drugs to a young woman in exchange for a “blow job” (even if she is not a prostitute by profession and says no), A woman allowing a man to fondle her bare breasts in exchange for money, and A man accepting a woman’s offer to have sex in exchange for money.
The California crime of prostitution (or solicitation) is a misdemeanor. 4 For a first offense, the potential penalties include up to six (6) months in county jail, a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both. 5.
If you are charged with prostitution, it is well worth it to fight the charges. There are a number of effective legal defenses that may help you get an dismissal or a reduction of charges. These include:
In order to better understand California’s prostitution laws, our California criminal defense attorneys 6 will address the following: