Prostitution & Solicitation PC 647(b)

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Prostitution and solicitation charges may not incur the same life-upending legal consequences as do other types of sex crimes in California, but they can be just as devastating to your personal and professional life.

If you have a family, being charged with soliciting a prostitute can mark the end of your marriage and even result in losing custody of your children. And, depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, knowledge of your charge can cost you your job, friends and reputation in the community. That’s a high price to pay, especially if you don’t have to.

The law regarding prostitution and solicitation is complex and subject to change. What’s more, the evidence that prosecutors typically build their cases around typically relies on recordings or accounts from undercover police officers, which can be ambiguous at best.

As a result, proving prostitution or solicitation is often more difficult than you’d expect, which is why fighting the charge is likely your best option. However, as experienced criminal defense attorneys we understand that finding a legal strategy that satisfies all of your goals is a difficult balance, and some clients prefer to do whatever it takes to end a case the fastest.

Here’s our promise to you: When you partner with a legal expert at Elite Criminal Defense, we’ll design a legal strategy around your top priorities. Because at the end of the day, that’s what elite representation is all about: meeting clients where they are, listening to their concerns and helping them chart the best course forward.

This article will explain everything you need to know about prostitution and solicitation charges, including their meanings under Penal Code 647(b), possible penalties and the best legal strategies to protect your future.

No matter what type of criminal charge you’re facing, it’s in your best interest to solicit expert help early on. When you’re ready to start building a rock-solid defense, Elite Criminal Defense is here to make it happen. Call our law office at (619) 642-2310 to get started. 

What Constitutes Prostitution & Solicitation Under California Penal Code 647(b)?

California Penal Code 647(b) prohibits engaging in or soliciting prostitution. Under this law, it is a criminal offense to engage in any sexual act in exchange for money or other compensation, as well as to offer or agree to such activity.

Violation of PC 647(b) can result in a number of penalties, including fines and imprisonment, and can result in pimping or pandering charges. In specific terms, PC 647(b) prohibits the following:

  1. Engaging in an act of prostitution
  2. Soliciting an act of prostitution
  3. Agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution

The law defines prostitution as having sexual intercourse or performing a lewd act with someone in exchange for compensation, typically money. A “lewd act” refers to touching a person’s genitals, buttocks or breast for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal.

Soliciting an Act of Prostitution

Legally speaking, prostitution is a unique sex crime because it necessarily involves two parties: one offering sexual acts and another soliciting or engaging sexual acts. While both are prosecutable under California law, they have different definitions and implications.

In California, someone is soliciting prostitution when they request that another person engage in sexual acts with them for compensation AND do so with the intent to engage in an act of prostitution with that person. When it comes to prosecuting solicitation, it can be difficult to prove the intent of the alleged solicitor.

Agreeing to engage in prostitution

Similarly, proving that someone agreed to engage in prostitution can be challenging under California law. In order to secure a conviction, a prosecutor must prove the following three elements:

  1. You agreed to engage in an act of prostitution with someone else.
  2. You intended to engage in an act of prostitution with that person.
  3. You furthered the commission of prostitution with some act.

In regards to the third element, furthering the commission of prostitution can be anything that goes beyond the intention to engage in prostitution. For example, it may be demonstrated by the exchange of payment, withdrawing money from an ATM in order to pay another person, driving to an agreed-upon location or asking the other participant to undress.

Legal Defenses for Prostitution Charges


There are several effective ways to combat solicitation and prosecution charges. Some of the most commonly used defenses are as follows:

  • Insufficient evidence. In some cases, a prosecutor only has part of the evidence needed for a solicitation or prosecution conviction. As a result, the jury should be left with reasonable doubt that you committed the crime of which you are charged.
  • Entrapment. If you are charged with prostitution or solicitation as a result of an undercover sting, you may be able to argue you were a victim of entrapment. This implies that the police used some sort of overbearing conduct to trick you into participating in a criminal act you wouldn’t have otherwise committed.
  • False accusation. Unfortunately, false accusations aren’t uncommon in prostitution- and solicitation-related offenses. They can occur for a variety of reasons, including mistaken identity and personal vendetta. No matter the specific reason, it can provide a compelling defense against erroneous charges.
  • No willfulness. Sexual advances and acts only count as prostitution or solicitation if the accused participated willingly, in full knowledge of what they were doing. If you were unaware of the transactional nature of the exchange, you are not guilty of prostitution-related crimes.

If any of the above-mentioned elements were present in your alleged offense, you may not be considered guilty under PC 647(b). An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if any of these commonly used strategies apply to your case. 


Possible Penalties for Prostitution PC 647(b) 

Even being charged with prostitution or solicitation can have significant legal consequences. Although penalties for conviction vary according to your criminal history and the specific circumstances of your case, here’s what you can expect if convicted:

  • First-time offenders may face up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted.
  • Second-time or subsequent offenses may result in a mandatory 45-90 days in county jail, suspension of their driver’s license for up to 30 days, and, depending on the particular details of the case, even registration as a sex offender.

Related Sex Crime Offenses

A handful of sex crimes have the potential to intersect with prostitution- or solicitation-related charges, including the following:

  • Human Trafficking PC 236.1, the act of depriving someone of their personal liberty with the intent of sexually exploiting them for commercial gain
  • Pimping PC 266(h), the act of receiving some or all of a prostitute’s financial earnings
  • Pandering PC 266(i), the act of attempting to influence another person to become or remain a prostitute
  • Supervising or Aiding a Prostitute PC 653.23, the act of directing, supervising, recruiting or helping someone else commit an act of position or solicitation
  • Indecent Exposure PC 314 and/or Lewd Conduct PC 647(a), the acts of willingly exposing your naked body or genitals to unconsenting member of the public or touching another person’s intimate areas for sexual gratification

Accusation of any of the above-mentioned crimes is serious, but conviction is not a certainty. In many situations, the final outcome is determined by the specific details of an individual’s case and the quality of their legal representation.

Lawyer and client negotiation in legal judgement consulting.

Elite Criminal Defense: Top Prostitution Defense Attorneys in San Diego

Whether or not you ever see jail, being accused of a sex crime can have massive consequences for your life. However, it’s important to remember that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution, and by mounting an aggressive defense, you may be able to overcome your charges.

It all depends on what you do now. As uncomfortable as it may be, asking for help now is the smartest move for your future. When you’re ready to start building your defense, the criminal defense attorneys at Elite Criminal Defense are just a click or phone call away.
Connect with us online or give our law office a call at (619) 642-2310 to speak with a passionate legal expert today.

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