Prostitution Law & Defense
California penal code 647(b)
Prostitution is defined as agreeing to, or solicitation of, a lewd act between two or more persons, for payment of money, or other compensation (other compensation can include drugs, jewelry, services, etc).
Lewd act is defined as intercourse, vaginal or anal, or oral copulation. A lewd act can also be a touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person's body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. The touching does not need to be skin to skin.
PC 647(b) may be charged against the prostitute or the person soliciting prostitution services (John).
Solicitation of Prostitution
To solicit a prostitute means to communicate, by words or conduct, an offer or a request, to another person to engage in prostitution. Enticing or encouraging another person to commit a prostitution can also be a solicitation under PC 647(b). The defendant need not make an express verbal offer of sex to constitute a solicitation for prostitution. It also does not matter that money or other compensation was actually exchanged in solicitation cases; it is the solicitation itself that is criminal.
For soliciting prostitution cases the defendant must specifically intend to commit prostitution; it does not matter if the prostitute actually agrees to engage in prostitution, or that any lewd act actually occurred, so long as the defendant intended to commit prostitution.
It is a defense to a charge of soliciting a prostitute to show that the person who was the intended recipient of the solicitation never actually received the communication or request for sexual services.
Agreeing to Commit Prostitution
It is illegal to agree to commit prostitution. To agree to commit prostitution the person who agrees must have been solicited.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of agreeing to commit prostitution charged under PC 647(b), the prosecutor will need to prove all of the following:
- The defendant accepted an offer for sexual services in exchange for money or other benefit, and
- The defendant performed some act in furtherance of the commission of the crime, and
- The defendant specifically intended to agree to prostitution
An act in furtherance of prostitution means that the defendant did something after agreeing to commit prostitution that helps interpret the meaning of the agreement. For example, driving to a location to meet a prostitute after agreeing to commit prostitution might be considered an act in furtherance of the crime.
It does not matter if the person offering the sexual services for hire actually intended to commit prostitution, only that the person who agreed to the offer actually intended to commit prostitution.
Common Defenses to Prostitution
Entrapment Defense: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement, or their agents, encourage or promote the crime of prostitution by way of their overbearing conduct. For example, if an undercover police officer entices a defendant to commit prostitution by repeat and insistent request, or appeals to the sympathy or friendship of the defendant, and the defendant thereafter commits the crime as a result of the overbearing conduct, the police officer may have entrapped the defendant to commit the crime.
Insufficient Evidence: Insufficient evidence simply means not enough evidence to prove the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Police Misconduct & Miranda Violations: Warrantless searches of cell phones and vehicles, or seizures of evidence or statements without warrants, might be considered a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights to privacy and privileges against self-incrimination, and as such, any evidence obtained during a search or seizure without a warrant, and any statements made by the defendant, might be ruled inadmissible in a criminal case.
Other police misconduct issues in prostitution cases include, racial profiling, coerced confessions, excessive force, failure to turn over evidence favorable to defendant, false reporting, entrapment, and more.
Statute of Limitations: The statute (or law) of limitations is a rule that bars (stops) prosecution of criminal cases after a certain time from the date of incident. PC 647(b) are filed as misdemeanors in California. Misdemeanors have a one year statute of limitations. There is no exception to this one year rule.
Jury Nullification: Jury nullification is a process whereby the jury, or an individual juror, believes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated PC 647(b); however, for moral, political, personal, or other reasons, the jury, or any individual juror, votes not guilty.
Punishment & Penalties for PC 647(b)
PC 647(b) is classified as a misdemeanor in California.
First Offense: For a first offense misdemeanor conviction of PC 647(b), the defendant faces up to one hundred eighty (180) days in the county jail.
Second Offense: A second conviction for prostitution (PC 647(b)) requires the defendant to serve no less than 45 days in county jail, and up to 180 days.
Third Offense: A third conviction for prostitution (647(b)) requires the defendant to serve no less than 90 days in county jail, and up to 180 days.
In addition to any jail sentence, the defendant may be placed on informal probation with terms and conditions, including restraining orders and monetary fines. The defendant will also be ordered to take an AIDS HIV education class and submit to AIDS testing. Also, the defendant may have his or her driving license suspended in some cases, suffer immigration or professional licensing consequences, and more.
Note: PC 647(b) is not considered a sex offender registrable offense in most circumstances.
If you are charged with the crime of prostitution, or penal code 647(b), contact our experienced prostitution defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Call today!
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Prostitution Defense PC 647(b)
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- Domestic Battery
- Drunk in Public
- Elder Theft
- Evading Police
- Harassing Calls
- Indecent Exposure
- Lewd Acts
- Oral Copulation
- Probation Violation
- Revenge Porn
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Prostitution related crimes PC 647(b)
- Loiter w/intent to commit prostitution PC 653.22(a)
- Keeping a house of prostitution or ill fame PC 315
- Prostituting wife PC 266g
- Indecent exposure PC 314(1)
- Lewd conduct in public PC 647a
- Human Trafficking PC 236.1
- Prostitution PC 647(b)(1)