The California prostitution law, Penal Code section 647(b), makes it is
illegal to engage in, agree to engage in, offer, or seek sexual services
in exchange for money or some other form of compensation. Soliciting for
prostitution means to offer or accept money or other compensation for
sex. Soliciting means to persuade, induce, or urge someone to do something.
Soliciting for prostitution also requires the specific intent to engage
in prostitution. The specific intent is demonstrated by some conduct which
confirms the soliciting such as withdrawing money from the ATM, driving
to a hotel room where the sex will take place, or having the prostitute
enter your car. In California, a person can still be charged with a solicitation
even if they never go through with the sexual act. Soliciting for prostitution
is primarily a crime of words that can include the prostitute, the client,
and any intermediary (such as a pimp) involved in the attempted transaction.
Mary is an undercover police officer involved in a sting operation posing
as a street walker in downtown Los Angeles. Tom, a tourist from Utah,
approaches Mary and engages her in a conversation. During the conversation,
Tom offers Mary $300 to accompany him to his hotel room to have sex. He
shows her the money and they both walk to his hotel. Tom will likely be
arrested for soliciting prostitution because his words and his behavior
demonstrate an intent to have sex with Mary in exchange for money.
Penalties for Soliciting a Prostitute
Police regularly use undercover methods to make prostitution arrests, including
undercover sting operations, posting online ads, and posing as customers
to break up prostitution rings. If an individual is caught soliciting
a prostitute, they can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor crime.
In California, a first offense is punishable by up to six months in county
jail, informal probation, community service, a fine of up $1,000, and
AIDS testing. In Los Angeles, first-time offenders may be eligible for
a diversion program whereby the criminal charges are dismissed upon successful
completion of the program. Soliciting prostitution is a
priorable offense, so subsequent convictions for this charge will increase the jail exposure.
Defenses Against Soliciting For Prostitution Charges
California prosecutors must prove every element of the
soliciting for prostitution charges beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. This
can be a challenging task for prosecutors and if the judge or jury has
any reasonable doubt as to the evidence then an acquittal is likely to
occur or even a reduction of the charges is possible. In some cases there
may be a solicitation to have sex but not for money. This would not lead
to a conviction. There may be a situation where a person solicits sex
for money but does not have the intention to go through with it and does
nothing to further the sex act such as provide the money or go to the
hotel room. This also would preclude a conviction. It is critical to hire
an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the law well and can
assist you in mounting the best possible defense for your case.
Contact Solicitation for Prostitution Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles
If you have been arrested and accused of solicitation for prostitution
in Los Angeles, contact the lawyers at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners
who have 70 years plus of criminal law experience defending clients against
a wide variety of criminal charges, including solicitation and prostitution..
Request a free and confidential consultation with a Los Angeles prostitution defense lawyer today.