Posted on July 8, 2016

Los Angeles Prostitution Defense Attorney | PC 647(b)

Categorized as a sex crime and a form of disorderly conduct, prostitution is charged under PC 647(b).  Typically, prostitution arrests result in the officer writing a citation but sometimes result in a formal arrest depending on a person prior criminal history or whether they have an outstanding bench warrant.  And contrary to popular belief, a conviction does not mandate sex offender registration.

It’s common for the LAPD to conduct undercover sting operations.  These operations namely consist of contacting woman over the internet and setting up a meeting place.  The purpose of these operations is to deter the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and provide a city with a more attractive environment.  Unassumingly, many undercover operations are conducted at luxury hotels around Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood.

When someone is arrested, they often find themselves embarrassed over the situation.  In fact, most never want to face the judge when charged with such an offense.  Fortunately, by retaining private counsel, your presence in court is not mandatory.  Moreover, your attorney may appear on your behalf relieving you from ever having to attend court.

Los Angeles Prostitution

WHAT IS PROSTITUTION?

Prostitution is formally defined under Penal Code 647(b) making it unlawful to solicit, agree to engage in the act, or actually engage in lewd acts in exchange for consideration.[1]

Note that there are three different ways someone could be charged with prostitution as will be explained below.

The crime must include some form of consideration, typically money.  In addition, the crime must include a sexual act.  Back massaging, social accompaniment, or a date to a local bar will not suffice to warrant prostitution charges.  A typical example will include a man approaching a woman and offering her $500 in exchange for intercourse.  If the woman agrees, then both will be cited and charged with prostitution.

THERE ARE THREE WAYS SOMEONE CAN BE CHARGED WITH PROSTITUTION – PC 647(b)

Solicitation

Solicitation is one of three theories the prosecutor may charge someone with prostitution.  Moreover, soliciting prostitution is the act of offering sexual services in exchange for consideration.  For instance, a man may be charge with solicitation if he approaches a woman requesting she have sex with him for $300.  Alternatively, a woman may be charged with solicitation if she offers intercourse in exchange for a price.  In either instance, the appropriate charge is prostitution under the solicitation theory.

Agreeing to Engage in the Act

Agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution is another theory the government may allege against a defendant.  Agreeing is merely accepting to the terms of the solicitor.  Moreover, if someone requests sexual services in exchange for money, the agreement theory is accomplished when a suspect “agrees” to the terms.  Furthermore, there must be an over act in furtherance of the agreement.  Over acts may be accomplished with little effort such as getting into a vehicle, walking down the street, or showing up to a designated location.  Therefore, two individuals may be arrested for prostitution over a single agreement – e.g., the person conveying the offer, and the second person accepting the offer.

Actually Engaging in the Act

The last theory under PC 647(b) is actually engaging in the act of prostitution.  The act must be a form of lewd conduct.  Lewd conduct may be intercourse, oral sex, or other forms of physical sexual stimulation.  Typically, the government warrants this charge theory when a police officer catches or observes two individuals at a location or within a vehicle performing a lewd act.  Absent an incriminating admission, this theory is generally difficult for the prosecutor to prove.

WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT FOR PROSTITUTION IN LOS ANGELES?

Prostitution is a misdemeanor punishable for up to six months in the county jail.  Typically, the court will place someone on a period of probation for three years, impose court fines/fees, prostitution deterrent counseling, and require an HIV test.

A second conviction for PC 647(b) mandates a minimum 45 day jail sentence.[2]

A third conviction requires a minimum sentence of 90 days in the county jail.[3]

Furthermore, if the conviction resulted from an act that occurred within 1,000 feet of a private residence, then the court may suspend their driver’s license for up to 30 days.[4]

CALL US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

If you’re already facing charges or are under investigation for prostitution under PC 647(b), you need to act quickly.  Early intervention can make a difference and could significantly change the outcome of your case.  To protect your reputation and having a criminal record, contact a Los Angeles Prostitution Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation.

 

LEGAL FOOTNOTES:

[1] Penal Code 647(b) – defined: (“Who solicits or who agrees to engage in or who engages in any act of prostitution. A person agrees to engage in an act of 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. No agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation of this subdivision unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done within this state in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act. As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.”)

[2] California Penal Code 647(k) – defined: (“In any accusatory pleading charging a violation of subdivision (b), if the defendant has been once previously convicted of a violation of that subdivision, the previous conviction shall be charged in the accusatory pleading. If the previous conviction is found to be true by the jury, upon a jury trial, or by the court, upon a court trial, or is admitted by the defendant, the defendant shall be imprisoned in a county jail for a period of not less than 45 days and shall not be eligible for release upon completion of sentence, on probation, on parole, on work furlough or work release, or on any other basis until he or she has served a period of not less than 45 days in a county jail. In all cases in which probation is granted, the court shall require as a condition thereof that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 45 days. In no event does the court have the power to absolve a person who violates this subdivision from the obligation of spending at least 45 days in confinement in a county jail.

In any accusatory pleading charging a violation of subdivision (b), if the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of a violation of that subdivision, each of these previous convictions shall be charged in the accusatory pleading. If two or more of these previous convictions are found to be true by the jury, upon a jury trial, or by the court, upon a court trial, or are admitted by the defendant, the defendant shall be imprisoned in a county jail for a period of not less than 90 days and shall not be eligible for release upon completion of sentence, on probation, on parole, on work furlough or work release, or on any other basis until he or she has served a period of not less than 90 days in a county jail. In all cases in which probation is granted, the court shall require as a condition thereof that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 90 days. In no event does the court have the power to absolve a person who violates this subdivision from the obligation of spending at least 90 days in confinement in a county jail.

In addition to any punishment prescribed by this section, a court may suspend, for not more than 30 days, the privilege of the person to operate a motor vehicle pursuant to Section 13201.5 of the Vehicle Code for any violation of subdivision (b) that was committed within 1,000 feet of a private residence and with the use of a vehicle. In lieu of the suspension, the court may order a person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle restricted, for not more than six months, to necessary travel to and from the person’s place of employment or education. If driving a motor vehicle is necessary to perform the duties of the person’s employment, the court may also allow the person to drive in that person’s scope of employment.”)

[3] See Same.

[4] See Same; Also see California VC 13201.5(a): “A court may suspend, for not more than 30 days, the privilege of any person to operate a motor vehicle upon conviction of subdivision (b) of Section 647 of the Penal Code where the violation was committed within 1,000 feet of a private residence and with the use of a vehicle.”

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