Legal Dictionary


Escort Without a Permit or License

Working as an Escort Without a Permit or License is a crime in Los Angeles normally charged in relation to an arrest for solicitation of prostitution. It is prosecuted under Los Angeles Municipal Code section 103.107.1, and in essence states that no person shall work as an escort unless he or she has an authorized permit or license.

An Escort is a person who accompanies another person, for a fee, to a social event or provides some form of entertainment. Escorts are not illegal in California as long as the person has a valid license. However, Escorts cannot provide sexual services, and if they do, they are subject to criminal prosecution.

In Los Angeles, most arrests for Escorting without a Permit or License are a result of a police sting operation. Law enforcement targets internet ads primarily from Craig's List, CityVibe, and Backpage. Typically, a police officer will call the telephone number listed in the ad and inquire about the services being offered, and then arrange to meet the person in the ad. The police officer will then invite the person to come join him or her at a room in a local hotel or the officer will come over to the designated location requested by the person in the ad. While in the room, the police officer will attempt to negotiate specific sexual services with the person in the room. The officer tries to get the other person to describe those sexual services, for example sexual intercourse or oral sex. Once that occurs, the undercover officer may deliver the cash. In some cases, the officer may begin to disrobe or go to the bathroom where he gives the signal to the other officers waiting outside the hotel room to make the bust and arrest the person.

The key to the conversation with the police officer is that if the person states that he or she will participate in some form of sexual activity then that could be the basis for a Solicitation for Prostitution arrest. However if that person states there will be absolutely no sex, but offers some other service such as dancing or naked dancing then that becomes grounds for an arrest for Escort without a Permit or License. Most people think that if they stay clear of mentioning sex during the conversation then everything will be fine, which is not the case. The arrestee may wrongfully believe he or she has broken no law because he or she did not place the ad on the internet nor initiate conversation with that police officer. The ads and the conversation between the agency and the police officer become part of the evidence used in the criminal case against the person accused of illegal Escorting.

Escort without a Permit or License is charged by prosecutors who generally cannot prosecute and convict the escort or the prostitute with standard acts of prostitution such as agreeing to engage in sex or solicitation for prostitution, as described in California Penal Code section 647(b). Escort without a Permit or License is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and a $1000 fine.

In Los Angeles county, a charge of Escort without a License may be eligible for a reduction to an infraction or a dismissal. If you or someone you know has been charged with Escort without a Permit or License contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty and learn what legal defenses and options are available.