Prostitution is a crime taken very seriously in Los Angeles, but it’s not one many people fully understand. According to Penal Code 647(b) PC in California, prostitution is not just the act of selling your body to another person in exchange for money. It’s also a penal code that reaches to the customer as well. If you agree to sell your body, take or pay money to someone else as an exchange for sex, or you offer to perform for money, you are guilty of prostitution in California. The penalties are serious, and you could use an attorney if you are arrested and charged with prostitution.
What is Prostitution?
It’s commonly believed prostitution only applies to the man or woman selling their own body for money, but it’s also the customer who is offering money for the act.
– Anyone who pays or accepts money in exchange for any sexual favors
– Anyone who offers to engage in the act of performing or paying for sexual favors
– Anyone who makes a verbal agreement to pay or perform sexual favors for money
Both the prostitute and the person who pays the prostitute are now guilty of prostitution, and both face serious penalties for their crime. However, the law can be confusing. If a man offers a woman money for having sex and she says no thank you to him, he is guilty of prostitution even though she did not take his money and she did not perform any sexual acts. If she took his money, they’re both guilty.
Penalties for Prostitution in California
The penalties vary based on the circumstances in each case. Typically, the penalties are given based on the number of offenses you have for the same act. If you are a first-time offender, you’re going to face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If this is not your first offense, the penalties are a little more serious. You’re facing 45 mandatory days in jail for your second offense, and that time is increased to 90 days if you are a third-time repeat offender. This is in addition to the penalties you’d face if you were a first-time offender.
If you are found guilty of engaging in prostitution in a car or you were less than 1,000 feet of someone’s home, you lose your driver’s license for one month or it’s restricted for up to six months. The penalties are serious in California.
Legal Defense Against Prostitution
Sometimes there are accusations made but no crime was committed. For example, if a man slides a woman a $20 bill at a bar to pay for her drinks and says this is for last night, it might be overheard by a police officer and both are arrested. If that man was your boyfriend or a good friend and you’re joking, it’s nothing more than a mistake. This is also called lack of intent.
Other legal defenses include police entrapment, lack of trustworthy evidence, and insufficient evidence. If you’re arrested for this crime in California, you should call an attorney right away to discuss your rights. You might not be guilty of prostitution, and you might not know how to get out of this crime without making things worse or accidentally incriminating yourself for another crime.
Prostitution is not just sexual intercourse, either. It’s also any lewd act or sexual act that is performed in any capacity. Even if you agree to show a man a certain body part for a fee, you are both guilty of prostitution. The law is often confusing for those who don’t know much about it, which is why some people end up being arrested for a crime they aren’t sure they even committed.
If you are arrested and charged with prostitution, call an attorney. An attorney will walk you through the steps to ensure the police did their job correctly, they gather evidence, review statements, and they work to provide you with a solid defense. You might be cleared of all charges or see the penalties reduced if your attorney knows he or she can negotiate on your behalf. You should call as soon as you’re arrested.