If you have been charged with engaging in, soliciting, or agreeing to engage in prostitution, you should seriously consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. Being convicted of prostitution or solicitation can obviously be embarrassing to you and your family, but it can also result in more severe consequences including jail time, fines, and having a sex crime on your permanent criminal record. This is particularly true if you are a considered a repeat offender because the punishment increases with each subsequent conviction. Depending on the circumstances and facts surrounding your case, a skilled San Diego sex crimes defense attorney may be able to present a number of defenses on your behalf.
At McElfresh Law, we are to here to help you during this difficult time and we pride ourselves on providing high-quality legal representation to all of our clients.
What is Prostitution under California Law?
Under California Penal Code 647(b), it is illegal to:
engage in any act of prostitution
solicit another person to engage in an act of prostitution or
agree to engage in an act of prostitution
“Prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.
A “lewd act” means touching the buttocks, genitals, or female breast of either a prostitute or customer (also referred to as a “John”) with some part of the other person’s body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of either person.
Prosecuting Prostitution Offenses
In order to convict a person of engaging in an act of prostitution, the prosecution must prove that the accused willfully engaged in sexual intercourse or a lewd act with another person in exchange for compensation.
In order to convict a person of soliciting another person to engage in an act of prostitution, the prosecution must prove that:
The accused requested that another person engage in an act of prostitution AND
The accused intended to engage in an act of prostitution with the other person AND
The other person received the communication containing the request.
In order to convict a person of agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution, the prosecution must prove that:
The accused agreed to engage in an act of prostitution with someone else
The accused intended to engage in an act of prostitution with that other person AND
The accused did something in furtherance of an act of prostitution in addition to the agreement.
Examples of doing something in furtherance of an act of prostitution would be driving to the ATM to withdraw money for the agreed upon amount or supplying the agreed upon amount of money.
Penalties for Prostitution Offenses
Engaging in, soliciting, or agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution are all misdemeanor offenses. If you are convicted of violating PC 647(b), you will face:
- Up to six months in a county jail
- Up to a $1,000 fine
- Suspended driver’s license for up to 30 days if the offense was committed with the use of a vehicle and within 1,000 feet of a residence.
- A restricted driver’s license for up to six months if the offense was committed with the use of a vehicle and within 1,000 feet of a residence.
The prostitution offenses under PC 647(b) are priorable, meaning that the penalties will increase with each subsequent conviction. If you are convicted of a second offense, you will face a mandatory 45 days in a county jail. If you are convicted of a third offense, you will face a mandatory 90 days in a county jail. It is possible that subsequent convictions will also result in increased fines.
Although a conviction for violating PC 647(b) does not require sex offender registration under PC 290, the judge has the discretion to order such registration as a part of your sentence if certain extreme circumstances apply.
How a San Diego Prostution Attorney from McElfresh Law Can Help You
The most common defenses in these types of cases are insufficient evidence and entrapment given that a good deal of arrests are a result of sting operations. It may also be possible to get prostitution or solicitation charges reduced or dismissed depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case.
San Diego prostitution attorney Jessica McElfresh has significant experience defending the rights of people facing prostitution and solicitation charges. She will work to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced whenever possible so that you can move on with your life as quickly as possible. She has the knowledge and skill to help you obtain an optimal result in your case. You can rest assured that she will go above and beyond to protect your reputation and freedom.
Contact McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 for a free consultation to learn how we can help.