Most people know that prostitution is a crime in California. However, one common question we receive is, “can I get arrested and charged with a crime for simply speaking to a prostitute?” The laws concerning these matters can be complex, but the potential for an arrest and criminal charge depends on various factors.
Under California Penal Code Section 647(b), if a person seeks to induce, ask, try to obtain or engage in an act involving sex for money (prostitution) or other compensation as part of the conversation and does an act in furtherance of prostitution, this constitutes misdemeanor prostitution. If you engage in a conversation with a person about having sex for money and you intend to follow through (such as going to the location at which you agreed to meet or having the girl board your car and you drive off) you can be arrested and charged with prostitution.
If, however, the conversation involved no intent to engage in prostitution and there was no discussion of money involved, you will not be charged with a crime. It is not enough to be near a prostitute or offer a friendly gesture, such as a wave or a nod, to the prostitute. Intent to engage in prostitution is the main factor involved and the arresting officer must prove there was a discussion involving money. Sometimes simply talking to a prostitute can land you in jail with a charge of Loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution – California Penal Code section 653.22.
Penalties for Violations of 647(b)
A conviction under Penal Code 647(b) can result in a possible jail sentence of up to six months and fines up to $1,000. If you are convicted a second time, there is a penalty of a minimum of 45 days in jail. A third conviction carries a minimum jail sentence of 90 days.
If you are charged with soliciting prostitution because you were simply speaking to a prostitute, you need to invest in an experienced criminal lawyer. You need someone on your side who understands the possible defenses you can utilize, such as lack of evidence, mistaken identity, or entrapment.
At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers understand what is at stake when facing sex crime charges. We know how important it is to have an attorney on your side that can help you in negotiations, trial or dismissal of your case. Our goal is to obtain the most favorable outcome given the specific facts surrounding your case. We bring over 70 years of combined criminal law experience to help defend your rights and protect you interests.
Call us today to get started on your defense.