An escort is a paid companion or date who accompanies another person to
a social or entertainment event. Escorts are booked through an agency
or, in many cases, through internet ads such as CityVibe, Backpage and
Eros. Escorts are legal in California if they have a valid California
permit or license. Escort licenses are very difficult to obtain in Los
Angeles. Escorts who provide sexual services are aggressively prosecuted
in Los Angeles.
The Thin Line Between an Escort and a Prostitute
Paying an escort to be your date or companion is legal. But, if you pay
an escort to have sex, then it becomes
prostitution. Prostitution is sex for money and it is a crime in California. California
Penal Code Section 647(b), also known as solicitation for prostitution,
makes it illegal to
engage in an act of prostitution or
induce someone to engage in an act of prostitution.
Solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail. Many women,
in an effort to avoid criminal prosecution, promote themselves as escorts
and not prostitutes, and law enforcement knows of this. Many escorts work
through agencies, the majority of which are not credible and are simply
fronts for prostitution.
Undercover Police Stings
Most escorts are arrested in relation to an arrest for prostitution and
are usually the result of an undercover police sting operation. Law Enforcement
targets internet ads that promote sexual services. Typically, an undercover
officer will respond to the telephone number on the ad and ask about the
services being offered and then arrange to meet the escort. The officer
will go directly to the location (usually a hotel room or apartment) given
by the escort. There, a discussion takes place about the services offered
and the price. The officer will get the escort to describe what he is
getting for his money – for example, sexual intercourse, oral sex,
or a hand-job. Most escorts who are cautious and suspicious of the officer
may say nothing about their sexual services and instead order the officer
to disrobe. The officer wants the escort to be specific about the services,
and if she is, then the escort can be arrested for solicitation of prostitution.
If the escort does not incriminate herself and says virtually nothing,
then she can still be arrested for being an Escort without a license pursuant
to Los Angeles Municipal Code section 103.107.1. Escort without a license
is charged by prosecutors who do not have a strong enough case for prostitution
or solicitation for prostitution as contained in California Penal Code
647(b). Escort without a license is a misdemeanor punishable by up to
180 days in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Sometimes the charge of Escort
without a license is eligible for an infraction or dismissal depending
on the arrested person's criminal record.
Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles
If you have been arrested and charged with escorting without a permit /
license or prostitution, we encourage you to contact our Los Angeles criminal
defense lawyers at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. You have rights
that must be protected and our team is prepared to help you get through
this difficult matter. We have over 70 years of combined
criminal law experience representing individuals in many criminal cases, including
prostitution and escorting without a license.
Fill out a confidential
online consultation form to get started, or call (213) 481-6811.