Arrested for Prostitution?

Arrested for Prostitution? Banner Image

In California, getting arrested for the act of prostitution or for solicitation of prostitution is a violation of Penal Code section 647(b), a misdemeanor. While the typical punishment for the first offense is minimal county jail time (5-10 days), AIDS testing, counseling and some form of probation for three years, second and third offenses carry more severe, often mandatory, punishments. Prostitution, as used in Penal Code section 647(b), is defined as “any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.”

Under California Penal Code section647(b), a person is guilty prostitution if the government can prove that a person either 1) solicited an act of prostitution, 2) agreed to engage in prostitution, or 3) actually engaged in prostitution. The Penal Code goes on to state that a person “agrees to engage in prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution.” This is important because the person by which an offer or solicitation is made, does not have to have to specific intent to actually commit the act. This language is what allows police and other law enforcement officials to conduct undercover “stings,” whereby actual police officers disguise themselves as prostitutes or potential customers and attempt to arrest citizens for violations of 647(b).

Simply agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution does not, by itself, make a person guilty of a 647(b) violation. As 647(b) states, “no agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act.” Thus, simply agreeing to a solicitation or an offer requires an act in furtherance of the agreement. This act in furtherance does not need to be a transaction of money, but can be any minimal act such as meeting at a designated location, removing clothing or exposing oneself.

The punishment for a second offense of Penal Code 647(b) is a mandatory minimum of 45 days in county jail and a third offense requires a mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail. The same additional terms apply, such as AIDS testing, probationary period and other possible special conditions (not walking in a certain area, not riding in a car within the area arrested in) apply to second and third time offenders.

If you or someone you know has been arrested or cited for solicitation of prostitution or loitering in the Beverly Hills Courthouse, Airport Courthouse or Bauchet Courthouse, contact Attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to discuss your options. As discussed above, there are many different possible resolutions to your case that do not involve jail or even a conviction on your criminal record.

Contact Attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.