Los Angeles Prostitution Defense Attorney
Fighting Prostitution Charges in California
Arrests for prostitution, solicitation, pandering, or loitering in Los
Angeles occur on a regular basis and are the result of an ever-increasing
number of illegal sexual services for hire that occur all over the city.
Law enforcement agencies have been making numerous prostitution arrests
using any number of undercover methods, including:
Sting Operations - Wearing provocative clothing and posing as prostitutes, police officers
use this roadside method to lure would-be customers off the street and
into the bedroom, only to be arrested for prostitution. This is one of
the most common methods that police will use to catch "Johns"
in the act.
Prostitution Ring Breakups - Using the reverse tactic from sting operation, police officers pose
as customers seeking to find sex for hire. Once inside the supposed massage
parlors or with the personal escort, the police will make arrests upon
determining the falsehood of the organization.
Sex Online - Websites offer services for companionship as a cover up for prostitution.
Acting as potential customers for these Internet-based sites, law enforcement
agencies are able to distinguish the legal from the illegal and make arrests
accordingly. Law enforcement targets online personal profile ads, such
as those seen on BackPage.com and CityVibe.com.
The Internet, cell phones, and newspaper ads are used to catch suspects.
As a result, innocent citizens with no criminal history can be arrested
and accused of prostitution or other offenses, simply by being in the
wrong place at the wrong time. In Los Angeles, both the prostitute and
the "John" are aggressively prosecuted.
If you have been charged with solicitation for prostitution, prostitution,
loitering with intent to commit prostitution, pandering, pimping, or lewd
conduct in public you need the assistance of a Los Angeles criminal defense
attorney. We understand how California's prostitution laws work and
will use that knowledge to defend you.
Prostitution Law in California
In the most general sense, prostitution is offering or agreeing to have
sex or having sex for money. Both the person who offered the sex and the
person who accepted the sex can be convicted. It doesn't matter if
you answered an ad for a "personal escort" or "masseuse";
if sexual activity was part of the service and money changed hands, it
was illegal. Per California Penal Code Section 647(b), it is illegal to
agree to engage in, or
engage in any act of prostitution. The crime is charged as a
misdemeanor. There are various forms of prostitution that can be filed:
Solicitation of Prostitution - To solicit is to urge, induce or entice another person to engage in an
act of prostitution with specific intent to engage in prostitution, coupled
with an act in furtherance of the prostitution. An act in furtherance
of prostitution means something more than accepting the solicitation.
Examples of soliciting prostitution include:
- Driving to the hotel or motel where the prostitution will take place
- Walking to an ATM and withdrawing money to pay for prostitution
- Allowing a prostitute to enter the car for sexual activity
- Turning over the agreed upon money for prostitution
Agreeing to Engage in Prostitution - If a person agrees to engage in act of prostitution with another person,
and he or she did so with the specific intent to engage in prostitution,
and in addition to the agreement does an act in furtherance of prostitution.
Examples: driving to the hotel or motel where the prostitution will take
place; walking over to the ATM and withdrawing money to pay for the prostitution;
allowing the prostitute to enter the car to be driven to the location
of the sexual activity; and turning over the agreed upon money.
Engaging in an Act of Prostitution - Willfully engaging in sexual intercourse or any lewd act in exchange for
money is considered to be an act of prostitution. In California law, a
lewd act is defined as touching the genitals, female breasts, or buttocks
by either the prostitute or the customer with some part of the other person's
body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of either person.
Loitering for Prostitution - In California, individuals who are arrested for prostitution are sometimes
charged with loitering for prostitution. According to the California Penal
Code 653.22, it is a crime if the defendant delayed or lingered in a public
place and when the defendant did so, he or she did not have a lawful purpose
for being there
and he or she intended to commit prostitution. Examples of loitering for prostitution include:
- Repeatedly stopping, beckoning, or engaging in conversations with passersby
in a way that indicated a solicitation of prostitution;
- Attempting to stop vehicles by waving, haling, gesturing, or engaging drivers
or passengers in conversation in a way that indicated a solicitation of
- Circling and driving a vehicle in an area known for prostitution.
Lewd Conduct in Public - In California, individuals who are arrested for prostitution are sometimes
charged with a concurrent offense of a lewd act in public. According to
California Penal Code Section 647(a), a defendant who willfully engages
in sexual intercourse or lewd conduct in public is guilty of this offense.
Prosecutors also consider additional evidence in prostitution cases such
as: possession of condoms by the prostitute or the "John;" large
amounts of cash by the customer; possession of a client book; sexy attire
by the person soliciting; online ad offering companionship, a "good
time" or "happy ending;" the mention of "roses"
as in 300 roses for services offered. All of this evidence may suggest
that some type of prostitution was going to occur, but in and of itself,
prostitution cannot be charged.
Below are the potential penalties for prostitution-related offenses:
- County jail and probation
- Community service
- AIDS testing
- Counseling (court-enforced)
- Cal Trans (physical labor)
- Loss of employment
The prosecution will attempt to prove there was an agreement to engage
in an act of prostitution. This is usually achieved by means of a recording
device during conversations between an undercover cop and the accused.
If a record of the conversation cannot be produced, the agreement may
be established by the text messages and or emails sent back and forth
between the prostitute and the customer or undercover police. If the accused
has no money on their person, the prosecution may have a difficult time
proving the specific intent to engage in an act of prostitution.
The prosecutor must prove at least one of the following elements existed
in order to successfully obtain a prostitution conviction:
- Solicit (strongly urge or entice) for an act of prostitution
- Agree to engage in an act of prostitution
- Engage in an act of prostitution.
There are several defenses available for the crimes of prostitution, solicitation,
pandering, and loitering. Each case is different, and the defenses to
these crimes will ultimately depend on the type of evidence available.
Don't Fight Your Charges Alone - Contact Our Firm
You first line of defense is to contact a skilled
sex crime lawyer in Los Angeles. We will evaluate the evidence and witnesses, question
the appropriate persons, and work with you on building your defense. The
legal team at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners will act immediately
to preserve any evidence favorable to the defense.