Can You Be Arrested for Simply Talking to a Prostitute? (California Penal Code Section 647(b))
Police in Temecula have been conducting undercover sting operations in order to catch those who engage in prostitution. The focus of the program is to arrest men who are seeking out prostitutes through social media websites.1
Because of the widespread use of social media, the Temecula Police Department has centered its efforts on making sure people who use social media as a platform for prostitution are caught. So far in the fairly new sting operation, police have arrested five men for solicitation of prostitution.2
When you think of prostitution, you probably think of sexual conduct. However, under California Penal Code Section 647(b), you can be arrested for prostitution if you perform acts other than actual sexual intercourse with a prostitute. The Temecula Police Department’s new operation shows that even talking to a prostitute—regardless if it is in person or on social media–can get you arrested.
California Solicitation Law (PC Section 647(b))
If you are speaking to a prostitute but do not engage in sexual conduct, you could be charged with a crime under California Penal Code Section 647(b). According to PC 647 (b), it is a misdemeanor crime to engage in any act of prostitution.3
To be charged with soliciting a prostitute, a prosecutor must prove the following:
- You solicited another person to engage in prostitution;
- You did so with the specific intent to engage in prostitution; and
- You committed some act in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution in addition to the agreement.4
This means that as long as the conversation happened, whether in person or through social media, and you acted on the agreement made in the conversation, it is a crime. For instance, you agreed to meet at a hotel to engage in an act of prostitution and you actually went to the hotel.
In order to prove that you had specific intent to engage in prostitution with that person, the conversation must have also involved money.
If a conversation did not occur, then you cannot be charged with a crime. Merely being near a prostitute, nodding to a prostitute, or waving to a prostitute is not enough to be charged with a crime.
Penalties for Soliciting Prostitution under PC 647 (b)
Soliciting a prostitute and agreeing to engage in any sexual activity with a prostitute are misdemeanor offenses under PC 647 (b). If a jury finds you guilty of this crime for the first time, you could face up to six months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines.5
If it is your second time violating this law, you could be sentenced to a minimum of 45 days in county jail.6 A third conviction could land you in jail for at least 90 days.
Soliciting or engaging in prostitution does not include the lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. However, a judge has the discretion to add this to your sentence.
Call the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing allegations of soliciting a prostitute or engaging in prostitution, the consequences could have a major impact on your life. If you engage in a conversation with a prostitute, the prosecutor will aggressively try and prove that you did so with the specific intent to engage in sexual activity. That is why it is very important that you seek the help of an experienced sex crimes attorney.
The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending our clients accused of soliciting a prostitute for over 30 years. With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will get through this together.