Loitering for Prostitution

Loitering With Intent to Commit Prostitution

Loitering with intent to commit prostitution is a crime in California and is prosecuted under Penal Code section 653.22(a). It is a crime for any person to delay or linger in any public place without a lawful purpose and with the intent to commit prostitution. It is a misdemeanor in California and is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail.

The law states that a person intends to commit prostitution if he or she intends to engage in sexual conduct for money or other compensation. Sexual conduct means sexual intercourse or touching the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person's body for purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

A prosecutor who wants to prove that a defendant was guilty of loitering with intent to commit prostitution may introduce evidence of certain acts to prove intent to commit prostitution such as:

  • Repeatedly stopping, engaging in conversations with passersby;
  • Stopping, gesturing, or hailing vehicles as they drive by and attempting to engage them in conversation;
  • Circling an area in a vehicle a several times and repeatedly contacting or trying to contact pedestrians or other motorists.

Someone can be arrested for loitering even if he or she had not actually engaged in or solicited prostitution. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time could result in an arrest for loitering with intent to commit prostitution. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are arrested for loitering or any sex related charge.

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