In California, it is illegal to engage in any lewd or sexual act in exchange for money or other consideration. You can be charged with prostitution if you are the prostitute or the customer (commonly referred to as the “John”).

According to California Penal Code section 647(b), it is illegal to solicit, engage, or agree to engage in any act of prostitution. A person engages in an act of prostitution if he or she has sexual intercourse or does a lewd act with another person in exchange for money. A lewd act is the touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or the customer for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

In order to successfully convict you for agreeing to engage in prostitution, the prosecution must show that:

(1) You requested, engaged, or agreed to engage in an act of prostitution with another person;

(2) You intended to engage in an act of prostitution with another person; and

(3) You did something to further the act of prostitution in addition to agreeing to commit the prostitution act.

What is the Punishment for Prostitution?

Under California Penal Code section 647(b), prostitution is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted for a misdemeanor offense of agreeing to engage in prostitution, you face a sentence of up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. You may also be required to both serve a jail sentence and pay a fine. (CPC 19).

If you are convicted for a second prostitution offense, you face imprisonment in the county jail for no less than 45 days. If you are convicted for a second offense, you will not be eligible for probation, parole, or work release until you have served at least 45 days of your sentence. If you have been convicted for two or more prostitution offenses and are convicted for another prostitution offense, you must serve at least 90 days in jail and will not be eligible for probation, parole, or work release until you have served the 90 day jail sentence. (CPC 647(k)).

Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture:

It should also be noted that in certain municipal jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles, if an individual commits a prostitution offense while in a car, their car may be deemed a “nuisance vehicle” and subject to government seizure and forfeiture. (See Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 41.70). This means that the city can physically and permanently take your vehicle from you if you are convicted.

Other Penalties

In addition to the possibility of jail time and hefty fines, a prostitution conviction may also result in your driving privileges being suspended. (CPC 647(k) and California Vehicle Code 13201.5). In order for you to lose your driving privileges, the prostitution offense must have occurred within 1,000 feet of a private residence and with the use of a vehicle. If you committed the prostitution offense under these circumstances, you can lose your driving privileges for up to 30 days.

It is important to note, that the court may decide to merely restrict your driving privileges instead of completely suspending your driving privileges, and allow you to drive only to work and school. If it is necessary to perform the duties of your employment, the court may also allow you to drive a vehicle within the scope of your employment.

Call Wallin & Klarich

The prostitution criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients who have been accused of sex crimes. If you have been charged with agreeing to engage in prostitution, Wallin & Klarich can help you. We understand that criminal charges can have a negative effect on your personal and professional life and can lead to severe consequences. We will help you present the best possible defense in your case.

We have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. Call us today to at (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.

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