The acts of engaging in prostitution or soliciting a prostitute are both against the law in California. In fact, California takes prostitution so seriously that even attempting to engage in prostitution can result in criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 653.22: Loitering for Prostitution.
You can find out more about the penalties for loitering for prostitution, prostitution, and solicitation of a prostitute right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Focus on the legal uses of these charges and some defenses that can be used in the court system for PC 653.22 accusations.
Loitering for Prostitution: California’s Legal Definition
According to PC 653.22, engaging in any activity that induces, entices, or solicits an act of prostitution while in a public place can be considered loitering for prostitution. Individuals may be charged under PC 653.22 for repeatedly:
- Stopping or Speaking with Passerby to Solicit for Prostitution.
- Stopping Motor Vehicle Drivers to Solicit for Prostitution.
- Driving Around an Area to Contact Pedestrians or Motorists to Solicit for Prostitution.
Individuals who previously loitered for prostitution or were convicted of other prostitution-related offenses could also face PC 653.22 charges if they are found loitering in a public area.
Loitering for Prostitution: Exceptions for Minors
Minors – or individuals under the age of 18 – should not be convicted of loitering for prostitution in the state of California. Instead, these individuals may be taken into temporary custody by the court. They can be adjudged as a dependent child due to their circumstances.
Loitering for Prostitution: Examples of PC 653.22 Violations
Woman A lingers outside of a bar around closing time. She makes eye contact with all the men leaving the bar and smiles at them. When a man approaches her, she greets him warmly. A watching police officer approaches the pair and could arrest the woman for loitering for the purpose of prostitution.
Woman B is waiting for a friend to pick her up after a night out on the town. She is dressed up and waves at all the people driving past because she’s in a very good mood after having a bit too much to drink. A police officer stops her because he thinks she is loitering for prostitution. However, her intentions were innocent and she could avoid a PC 653.22 conviction.
Loitering for Prostitution: Penalties for a Conviction
Loitering for prostitution is treated as a misdemeanor-level offense in the state of California. Individuals who are convicted under PC 653.22 can be:
- Fined Up to $1,000.
- Jailed Up to Six Months.
Additionally, certain areas in California can prohibit individuals convicted under PC 653.22 from using public transportation. This penalty may be imposed in:
- The San Francisco Bay Area.
Loitering for Prostitution: Other Prostitution Charges
In the state of California, individuals can face criminal charges for engaging in prostitution and soliciting a prostitute. These charges can apply even if all involved parties consent to engaging in a sex act. Generally, prostitution is prosecuted under Penal Code Section 647(b).
Individuals convicted of prostitution can be fined up to $1,000. They may also be jailed for up to 180 days. In some situations, the court system may even require an individual to register as a sex offender following a prostitution conviction.
Loitering for Prostitution: Common Legal Defenses
You can get help building a defense for loitering for prostitution charges by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles today. Moving quickly after a PC 653.22 arrest can allow your lawyer to protect you by demonstrating that:
You Did Not Intend to Commit Prostitution
As we mentioned, the court system can consider a number of actions when determining if someone was loitering for prostitution. However, many of these actions can also be committed for innocent reasons. A lawyer can go over the exact motivations behind your actions to defend you in court.
You Were Entrapped by a Police Officer
Police officers are legally allowed to pretend they are interested in soliciting a prostitute. However, they are not permitted to act in an overly aggressive manner. If a police officer approached you while you were in public and acted inappropriately, a criminal defense lawyer could help you.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help with PC 653.22 Charges
Make sure you’re ready to handle California Penal Code Section 653.22: Loitering for Prostitution charges by getting professional help today. The Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can start working for you now with a FREE initial case evaluation.
Take the first step in constructing your defense by completing our online contact form or calling 310-991-4688.