Newport Beach Prostitution Defense Attorney | PC 647(b)

July 8, 2016

In California, prostitution is charged under Penal Code 647(b) making it a crime to solicit or agreeing to engage in an act, or actually engaging in the act of sex in exchange for consideration.[1]  Notice there are three different ways the government may elect to charge someone depending on the circumstances.  Prostitution is a misdemeanor and the punishment depends largely upon a defendant’s prior criminal history.  Typically, a conviction carries probation and requires a mandatory HIV test.  A second or third prostitution conviction carries a mandatory jail sentence.[2]  However, skilled Newport Beach prostitution defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for diversion, whereupon completion of diversion term obligations, the case will be dismissed.  And although labeled as a sex offense, a conviction for prostitution does not carry sex offender registration.


Three Ways Prostitution May be Charged in CA

  • Solicitation: Under this theory, the crime is accomplished once a person intentionally requests another to engage in the act of prostitution. For example, a driver pulls up to woman and asks whether she would be willing to have sex in exchange for $500.  There is no requirement that there be an agreement since the law only punishes the solicitor.

Example: Dan pulled up to a woman on a Newport Beach corner.  He asked the woman if she would be interested in having intercourse with him in exchange for $1,000.  Little did Dan know, the woman was actually an undercover police officer.  Dan was cited for PC 647(b) – soliciting for prostitution.  In this case, there is no requirement that the recipient agree to the offer.  The crime was accomplished when Dan proposed a price combined with his intentions of sexual services in exchange for the $1,000.

  • Agreeing: Agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution is merely accepting the terms of the initial offer.  Moreover, think of a woman accepting $500 in exchange for sexual services.  The woman would be charged with agreeing to engage in the act since she accepted and the offeror (driver) would be charge with solicitation.

Example: Bob was an undercover police officer investigating the Huntington Beach area for woman who are suspected in engaging in prostitution.  Wearing plain clothes, Bob walked up to Barb and offered her $600 in exchange for oral sex in his hotel room.  Barb agreed to the terms and followed Bob back to the front lobby of a hotel.  Barb was immediately arrested and charged with PC 647(b).  In this case, there is no requirement that Barb actually engage in the act of prostitution.  Her arrest was warranted the moment she agreed to the terms and subsequently committed the act in furtherance of the agreement by following Bob to a hotel to presumably accomplish the terms of the agreement.

  • Actually Engaging: Actually engaging in the act of prostitution requires sexual services.  The law requires there to be a lewd act.  Therefore, consideration in exchange for accompaniment, date to a movie, or to have a drink, will not suffice to warrant a conviction under this theory.

Example: John met Beth, a local prostitute with a prior criminal history.  John and Beth agreed that in exchange for $800, they would both engage in intercourse in John’s car in an alley in Santa Ana.  While engage in intercourse, a police officer observed what’s going on and detains both individuals pending a criminal investigation.  During the course of the investigation, both individuals admitted John paid Beth money in exchange for sex.  Both individuals were then arrested for prostitution because both actually engaged in the act of intercourse following an agreement for money.

Contact an Experienced Newport Beach Prostitution Defense Attorney

If you’ve been arrested or cited for prostitution under PC 647(b), then there’s no question that you must retain an experienced Newport Beach Prostitution Defense Attorney to ensure you’re not given unnecessary penalties.  Our office handles prostitution cases all throughout the Newport Beach area.  Contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation concerning the facts of your case and possible defenses.





[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] See Penal Code 647(k).

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