Prostitution Defense Attorney – California Penal Code 647(b) PC

April 27, 2016

In California, prostitution is a misdemeanor offense charged under Penal Code 647(b) which makes it unlawful for you to solicit or agree to engage or actually engage in any lewd act with another for money or consideration. A lewd act is considered any touching of the genitals, breasts, buttocks, for the purposes of sexual gratification or arousal of either person. Local law enforcement agencies normally have prostitution units which conduct undercover operations to effectuate prostitution offenders. The rational for this unit is to prevent the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases.

Some people engage in the act of prostitution to further their personal educational interests. For instance, a college student may need money to pay tuition or bill expenses due to a difficult employment economy. Unfortunately, the government does not recognize this reason as a viable defense to the charge. However, jurors have a tendency to side with you if your attorney can show that you were committing the act of prostitution because you had no other alternatives to pay your bills or survive. And the government has a challenging time prosecuting prostitution cases because most jurors believe prostitution should be legal.

There are four different ways the government may allege prostitution charges: 1) engaging in the act of prostitution; 2) soliciting another; 3) agreeing to engage in the act; and 4) loitering for the purposes of prostitution.

Contact a Prostitution Defense Attorney

What is the Legal Definition for Prostitution?

PC 647(b) provides that you’re guilty of disorderly conduct if you solicit “…or agree 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.”

What is the Punishment for Prostitution?

As noted above, prostitution is a misdemeanor offense. A conviction carries up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine not exceeding $1,000. In addition, you will be ordered to submit an HIV test and complete prostitution offender counseling. If you were carrying out this crime while using your vehicle within 1,000 feet of a private residence, then the court may suspended your driver’s license for 30 days.

Prostitution is a “priorable” offense which means a prior conviction for this offense may lead to greater punishment. Moreover, if you were convicted of this offense, and you were previously convicted of this same offense, you will be required to spend at least 45 days in the county jail. A third conviction will require you to be sentenced to 90 days in the county jail.

Alternative Sentencing – “Diversion”

In certain cases, you may be eligible to withhold adjudicating your case and divert any formal conviction. Most counties and even different courthouses have their own method of disposing cases via diversion. There are generally two types of diversion your attorney should ask for – informal diversion or formal diversion.

Informal diversion is far better than formal diversion and it should be the first thing your attorney should ask for, assuming there are no viable defenses in your case. Informal diversion means you can put off the cases for a certain period of time, for instance 90 days, and within that timeframe you complete prostitution counseling classes. Upon completion of your counseling class, and at the expiration of the 90 days, the prosecutor will dismiss the case against you.

Formal diversion requires you to plea before the court of either guilty or no contest. Formal sentencing is then suspended for a period of 6, 12, or 18 months. Within that period, the court will order you to complete community service, counseling, and obtain an HIV test. After completing your requirements, you come back to court and the judge will withdraw your plea and dismiss the case under the diversion statute.

Either type of diversion is normally offered for first-time offenders. But that does not mean you’re ineligible if you suffer from a prior prostitution conviction.

Prostitution Expungement

A conviction for PC 647(b) is eligible for expungement in California under Penal Code 1203.4. Upon proper petition to the court, the judge will withdraw its finding of guilt, enter a not guilty plea, and dismiss the case under the expungement statute. You are entitled to this post-conviction remedy as a matter of right unless you violated any terms of your probation period. If you violated any terms of your probation then this remedy becomes discretionary upon the judge. Hence, it is always advisable to retain any attorney to handle the expungement process. A common reason for seeking this remedy is its benefits for those submitting employment applications in the private sector. For more information about expunging your prostitution conviction, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to discuss your eligibility.

Free Criminal Defense Consultation

Contact a Prostitution Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers offers free confidential consultations for those suffering from criminal prosecution for prostitution under PC 647(b). His office represents those accused of prostitution in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties. Contact Mr. Rogers today to discuss your matter for free without any obligations.

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