Los Angeles Criminal Defense Firm
Escort Laws in Los Angeles

Escort Laws in Los Angeles

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:

  • CityVibe
  • Backpage
  • Eros

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 offer, ask 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:

  1. Law enforcement targets internet ads that promote sexual services.
  2. 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.
  3. The officer will go directly to the location (usually a hotel room or apartment) given by the escort.
  4. There, a discussion takes place about the services offered and the price.
  5. 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 more than 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.


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