Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution – California Penal Code Section 653.22
In the state of California, prostitution laws are considered very strict and charges are prosecuted aggressively. Not only is it illegal to engage in or solicit (offer to engage in) prostitution under California Penal Code Section 647(b), but you can also be arrested for intending to engage in prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22.
Under California Penal Code Section 653.22, it is illegal to loiter in a public place for the purpose of prostitution. This means that you can be arrested when you have not actually engaged or in or solicited prostitution. You can be arrested if police believe you were acting with the intent to engage in prostitution.
Simply walking up and down a certain street at a certain time or wearing provocative clothing in a certain area may be grounds for the police to arrest you for loitering for the purpose of prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22. A loitering for the purpose of prostitution conviction can result in jail time, fines and a criminal record. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney who will fight for you.
Prosecution of Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution
To be convicted of loitering for the purpose of prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22, the prosecution must prove:
You were loitering – “Loitering” is defined as delaying or lingering without a lawful purpose for being on a property and for the purpose of committing a crime as opportunity may be discovered.
You were in a public place – a “public place” is defined as an area open to the public, including an alley, plaza, park, driveway, parking lot, a car (moving or parked), a building open to the general public (including, but not limited to, strip clubs, restaurants and movie theaters), the doorways and entrances to a building or dwelling or the grounds enclosing a building or dwelling.
You intended to commit prostitution – “Commit prostitution” is defined as engaging in sexual conduct for money or other compensation. Sexual conduct is defined as sexual intercourse or the touching of the genitals, buttocks or female breast for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.
What Actions Can Be Interpreted to Show Intent to Engage in Prostitution?
Under California Penal Code Section 653.22, certain actions may demonstrate that a person intended to engage in or solicit prostitution. 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. They include:
Repeatedly beckoning to, stopping, engaging in conversations with, or attempting to stop or engage in conversations with passersby;
Repeatedly stopping or attempting to stop cars by hailing the drivers, waving arms, making any other bodily gestures or engaging or attempting to engage the drivers or passengers of the cars in conversation;
Circling an area in a car and repeatedly beckoning to, contacting or attempting to contact or stop pedestrians or other drivers;
The accused has engaged in any of the actions listed above, or any other actions that indicate they were soliciting prostitution, within six months prior to being arrested; or
- The accused has been convicted of loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution, engaging in a lewd act in public, soliciting a lewd act, prostitution or soliciting prostitution within five years prior to being arrested.
Other actions can incite suspicion from police officers that you intended to engage in or solicit prostitution. They include, but are not limited to, giving a fake name or fake date of birth when questioned by police officers, being in the company of a person or persons with a history of prostitution offenses or even carrying condoms.
Any of the actions listed above can lead to an arrest for loitering for the purpose of prostitution under California Penal Code Section 653.22. However, you can fight the charge against you if you show that you did not intend to engage in prostitution.
Defenses to a Charge of Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution
If you are facing a charge of loitering for the purpose of prostitution, it is important to retain an experienced attorney. Based the circumstances of your case, an attorney may be able to argue a viable defense to have the charge dismissed. These defenses include:
Lack of intent: The circumstances of the situation did not show an intent to engage in prostitution, but instead meant to show other intentions such as flirtation, a request to be bought a drink or a request for a ride home.
Entrapment: You were coerced by pressure, harassment, fraud, flattery or threats by an undercover police officer into loitering with the intent to engage in prostitution and would not have committed the crime without the police officer’s involvement.
What is the Punishment for Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution?
Under California Penal Code Section 653.22, a loitering for the purpose of prostitution conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of loitering for the purpose of prostitution, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of prostitution charges in California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.