Legal Dictionary

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Solicitation for Prostitution

Solicitation for prostitution is the crime of asking, encouraging, inducing, or trying to obtain sex in exchange for money or other compensation. This offense is prosecuted in California under Penal Code section 647(b). In order to be convicted of solicitation for prostitution, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant (accused) requested or asked that another person engage in an act of sex for money;
  • The defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution; and
  • There must be an act, in addition to the agreement, that is an act in furtherance of the agreement. This act tends to confirm the agreement to have sex. For example, asking the prostitute or customer to undress, or go to the ATM to obtain money.

Solicitation for prostitution can be charged even if no sexual activity occurred. For this offense, both the prostitute and the customer (the "John") can be charged. Solicitation for prostitution is a misdemeanor in California punishable by up 180 days in county jail and a fine of $1,000.

California defines prostitution as sexual intercourse or any lewd act between persons for money or other compensation (such as illegal drugs). A lewd act is touching 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 of either person.

Law enforcement in many California cities, including Los Angeles, often conduct undercover or "sting" operations. Often, in sting operations, innocent people are charged and arrested with solicitation for prostitution simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with solicitation for prostitution, speak to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer before talking to law enforcement.