Topic: Sex Crimes
At its core, prostitution is defined as engaging in sexual conduct for “money or other consideration.” The exchange of money for sex is a quite common occurrence in the State of California, but being caught engaging in the act can lead to significant consequences.
Under current California law, there are mandatory jail sentences for repeat offenders, though the Senate recently passed a bill hoping to end these often harsh punishments. If passed by the House and signed into law, this change could have a significant impact on the lives of those that have been charged with multiple prostitution offenses. Regardless of what the future holds, the current law on prostitution is clear and frequently enforced; as such, it is important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities if you have been accused of engaging in or soliciting prostitution in California.
Engaging in Prostitution vs. Soliciting Prostitution
Prostitution criminal charges extend not only to individuals that are offering to engage in sexual acts (engaging in prostitution), but also those that are seeking to engage in sexual acts. Other third parties, such as those who have an organization of prostitutes that “work” for them may also be implicated depending on the circumstances.
Under applicable California law, it is “unlawful for any person to loiter in any public place with the intent to commit prostitution. This intent is evidenced by acting in a manner and under circumstances which openly demonstrate the purpose of inducing, enticing, or soliciting prostitution, or procuring another to commit prostitution.”
This is a broad definition that can be difficult for prosecutors to prove. Mistaken identity, lack of sufficient, concrete evidence, lack of offer/acceptance, and entrapment (where the police induce an individual to commit a crime they otherwise likely would have not committed) are all common defenses to the crime of prostitution.
Likewise, it is also unlawful to offer money in exchange for sexual acts. These crimes require proof of offering money, accepting an offer for sexual services, taking steps in furtherance of engaging in prostitution (meeting somewhere, driving to a particular place, withdrawing money, having significant cash on your person), and intent. These crimes can, again, be very difficult to prove due to the myriad of elements the prosecution must make to have a solid case against you.
Being charged with either engaging in or soliticting prostitution is a serious sex crime that can have far reaching consequences. Speaking to an experienced criminal defense attonrey should be a top priority after an arrest.
About The Author: San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Vikas Bajaj has over 15 years experience helping those charged with a crime. He handles all criminal allegations including domestic violence, drug crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, and federal crimes. He offers a free consultaiton.