Prostitution is a criminal offense under San Diego, California law. It is considered a sex crime, even though the parties may be consenting adults. If law enforcement officers charge you with acts of prostitution, you could face severe penalties for a conviction of a sexual offense.
The San Diego sex crimes lawyers of Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers fight to protect the rights of individuals throughout San Diego County. If you face charges of prostitution or other criminal charges, you need San Diego’s top-rated trial attorney to handle your case.
A prostitution conviction creates a criminal record and numerous collateral consequences. Contact our law office at (619) 357-4977 to schedule a free consultation with California’s top defense attorney.
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How Our San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers Help You Fight Prostitution Charges
Our legal team has handled thousands of criminal cases for clients for over a decade. Mr. Blair has been recognized as one of the National Trial Lawyers’ Top 100 Attorneys and Top 40 under 40 National Trial Lawyers. In addition, he has a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.
Being arrested and facing jail time is frightening. Trust your defense to a respected and successful criminal defense team in San Diego.
When you hire Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to handle your case, you can expect us to:
- Investigate the circumstances of your arrest to determine if police officers violated your civil rights
- Thoroughly analyze the evidence against you to determine the strength of the state’s case
- Analyze statutes and case law applicable to your criminal defense
- Explain your rights and legal options for defending yourself against the prostitution charges
- Keep you informed of the progress of the case, including discussing the pros and cons of all plea deals offered by the prosecution
- Aggressively fight to have the prostitution charges dismissed or reduced
- Advocate for you during plea agreement negotiations and at the trial of your case
Do not allow a police officer or prosecutor to convince you that you do not need sound legal advice after being arrested for prostitution in San Diego, CA. Contact us to schedule your free and confidential consultation with an experienced San Diego sex crimes lawyer.
What Constitutes Prostitution in California?
California Penal Code §647b makes it illegal for a person to solicit or engage in prostitution. The code section prohibits three specific acts:
1. Engaging in Prostitution
Prostitution is the act of willingly engaging in a lewd act or sexual intercourse with another person in exchange for money or other consideration. Engaging in prostitution does not require that the person intended to break the law.
2. Soliciting Prostitution
It is unlawful to solicit someone to commit prostitution with the intent to engage in the act of prostitution with that person. For the state to prove a defendant is guilty of soliciting prostitution, it must show the defendant clearly intended to engage in the act of prostitution (i.e., lewd acts or sexual intercourse in exchange for something of value).
3. Agreeing to Engage in Prostitution
The state must prove the following elements to convict someone of agreeing to engage in prostitution:
- The defendant intended to engage in the act of prostitution with another person;
- The defendant agreed to engage in the act of prostitution with that person; and,
- The defendant’s conduct served to further the act of prostitution.
To “further the act of prostitution,” the defendant must do something that clearly shows the intent to engage in prostitution. For example, the conduct could be as simple as handing the money to the other person or driving to another location.
It is important to remember that sexual acts do not need to occur for the state to prove its case for prostitution. The state only needs to show the intent and agreement to engage in prostitution along with an act in “furtherance of the agreement” to commit prostitution.
In addition to being charged with prostitution, the state may charge a defendant with loitering for the purpose of prostitution under California Penal Code §653.22. The code section includes examples of activities that could qualify as enticing, inducing, or soliciting prostitution:
- Repeatedly stopping or attempting to stop vehicles using bodily gestures
- Repeatedly stopping, beckoning, or talking to people passing by the person
- Driving around an area, contacting, beckoning, or trying to stop other drivers or pedestrians
If a person has a prior conviction for an offense related to prostitution, being present in an area known for prostitution indicates intent to commit prostitution.
Penalties for a Prostitution Conviction in San Diego
Prostitution is charged as a misdemeanor offense in California. You could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a maximum of six months in county jail. However, prior prostitution convictions increase the penalties:
- One prior prostitution conviction results in a minimum jail sentence of 45 days
- Two prior prostitution convictions result in a minimum jail sentence of 90 days
In addition to the fines and jail time, if you commit prostitution in your car within 1,000 feet of a residence, you could lose your driver’s license for a month. The court could also choose to issue a restricted driver’s license for up to six months.
Prostitution does not automatically require you to register as a sex offender. A judge can impose registration as a sex offender for a prostitution conviction, but it is rare.
Fighting Charges of Prostitution – Legal Defenses to Prostitution
You can raise several defenses to prostitution charges, including:
- Entrapment – A police officer poses as a prostitute or “john” to try to “catch” a person in the act of breaking the law. However, the officer cannot cross the line into threatening, pressuring, harassing, or defrauding a person to get them to do something they would not normally do. California has strict entrapment laws.
- Mistaken Intentions – The court must prove you had the intent to engage in a lewd act or sexual intercourse for money or services. Your defense attorney may argue that the police officers misinterpreted your actions or you were unaware of the nature of your actions. In either case, you did not have the intent to commit prostitution.
- Lack of Evidence – The state must have evidence of an agreement and an intent to engage in the act of prostitution. Furthermore, there must be an act in furtherance of prostitution. Your criminal defense lawyer argues that the state’s evidence does not prove the required elements for a prostitution conviction without a recording of your conversation.
- Police Misconduct – Police misconduct could include failing to read the Miranda warning, conducting an illegal search and seizure, and coercing or threatening a person to confess to a prostitution crime. Your criminal defense lawyer may file a motion to suppress evidence because of police misconduct. Without the evidence, the prosecution might not have a case against you.
There could be other defenses to prostitution charges. The best thing you can do is remain silent if police officers arrest you for prostitution. Talking to the police or explaining why you are innocent can make it more difficult to beat the prostitution charges.
Instead, ask for an attorney and remain quiet until you meet with the lawyer to discuss the criminal charges.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Diego Prostitution Defense Lawyers
The best way to beat criminal charges is with a proactive defense. Call our law firm today to begin developing a defense strategy to beat prostitution charges. Your initial consultation with our San Diego prostitution defense attorney is confidential and free.