Individuals in California can face charges for prostitution under California Penal Code Section 647(b). Prostitution is considered a misdemeanor in California. The legal codes governing the state make it illegal to:
- Offer Payment in Exchange for a Sex Act
- Accept Payment in Exchange for a Sex Act
Any accusation of prostitution can have serious consequences for your life. You can end up facing incarceration and fines. You can learn more about your options after a prostitution charge by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today.
Acts Covered by PC 647(b)
PC 647(b) applies any time individuals exchange sexual acts for payment. Prostitution charges can be brought against the person who received payment as well as the person who offered payment. In order to be charged with soliciting a prostitute – or paying for sexual acts – an individual must:
- Request Sexual Intercourse or a Lewd Act
- While Intending to Carry Out the Sex Act
You should be aware that individuals under the age of 18 cannot be convicted of prostitution.
There are several acts of sexual misconduct that are similar to prostitution in California, though they vary slightly. For example, you might be familiar with lewd conduct. Lewd conduct involves public sex acts that do not involve payment.
Penalties for PC 647(b): Prostitution
Soliciting a sex act and engaging in prostitution are considered misdemeanors in Los Angeles. The penalties for prostitution can vary, depending on whether or not an individual has previous convictions on their record.
A first-time prostitution conviction can lead to:
- Up to 180 Days of Jail Time
- Fines of Up to $1,000
Individuals who are convicted multiple times for prostitution will face increasing penalties, including lengthier minimum jail sentences. You may also be required to:
- Undergo HIV/AIDS Testing
- Take an AIDS Education Course
There are additional penalties for acts of prostitution that occur:
- In Vehicles, AND
- Within 1,000 Feet of a Home
Engaging in this form of prostitution can lead to the suspension of your license for 30 days. The court may also decide to allow you to keep your license while facing certain restrictions for the next 6 months.
Note that you will not generally be forced to register as a sex offender after a prostitution conviction. However, in some cases the court may decide that you must join California’s sex offender registry.
Defenses for Charges Under PC 647(b)
Fighting back against a prostitution charge can be difficult if you don’t have professional help on your side. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer could be able to build your defense by arguing:
You Were Mistakenly Accused
Acts of prostitution involve exchanging payment for sex acts. If you did not intend to engage in this activity, you should not be convicted of prostitution.
There Isn’t Evidence Against You
In some cases, you may be accused of prostitution without any firm evidence. If there isn’t a record showing that you agreed to exchange sex acts for payment, your charges may be dropped.
You Faced Entrapment
Officers of the law sometimes try to ‘trick’ other people into committing criminal acts. Police officers are legally allowed to solicit prostitution, but they are not allowed to be aggressive or insistent when trying to convince someone to commit a crime. Police officer may engage in entrapment if they:
- Coax or Flatter Someone
- Badger Someone or Make Repeated Requests
- Promise That an Act is Legal
- Promise Tremendous Benefits
- Make Appeals to Sympathy
Depending on your situation, you may be offered a plea bargain that will reduce the charges you face as part of your defense. In some cases, your defense lawyer may be able to secure you reduced charges. These charges will still appear on your record, but they are less severe than prostitution.
Get Help Fighting Prostitution Charges in Los Angeles
Many people don’t realize the serious effects of California Penal Code Section 647(b): Prostitution. Getting professional help on your side from the Simmrin Law Group can increase your odds of beating these charges. We provide each new potential client with a FREE initial case evaluation to get professional advice right away, whether you hire us or not!
Call us at (310) 997- 4688 or complete our online contact form to learn more about your legal options.