An escort is a paid companion or date who accompanies another person to
a social or entertainment event. In many cases, escorts are booked through
an agency or, through internet ads such as:
Escorts are legal in California if they have a valid California permit
or license; however, escort licenses are very difficult to obtain in Los
Angeles, and escorts who provide sexual services are aggressively prosecuted
in Los Angeles.
What is the Difference 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, it becomes
prostitution. Prostitution is sex for money and it is a crime in California.
According to California Penal Code Section 647(b), also known as solicitation
for prostitution, it is 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, but law enforcement officers know this. Many escorts
work through agencies, the majority of which are not credible and are
simply fronts for prostitution.
How an Online Escort and Prostitution Sting Occurs
Most escorts are arrested for prostitution and are usually the result of
an undercover police sting operation. Such occurrences often go as follows:
- Law enforcement targets internet ads that promote sexual services.
- The 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.)
What are the Legal Consequences for Escort without a License?
If the escort does not incriminate herself, she can still be arrested for
being an Escort without a license pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code
section 103.107.1. An 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
- $1,000 fine
In some cases, the charge of
Escort without a license is eligible for an infraction or dismissal depending on the arrested
person's criminal record.
Let Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers Protect Your Future
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.