San Diego Prostitution Defense Lawyers
The state of California’s sex crime laws are extremely complicated, making it incredibly simple for someone to fall on the wrong side of these laws. This is especially true for charges of prostitution, which can be filed if investigators believe you offered to engage in or attempted to engage in a sexual act in exchange for money, goods, or services. A conviction can result in jail time, fines, and possibly even being forced to file as a sexual offender, but it can also seriously damage your reputation. Your best chance at fighting prostitution charges is to contact an experienced attorney.
If you or someone you love has been charged with prostitution, then you should immediately reach out to a San Diego prostitution defense lawyer at jD LAW. For more than 30 years, our law firm has provided thorough legal guidance to San Diego residence that has led to reduced sentences and a complete dismissal of cases. Our lead attorney is a board-certified criminal law specialist who can provide the same expertise in your case.
Need to set up a consultation? Call the firm at (760) 630-2000 today!
Prostitution is a criminal offense in which one individual provides a sexual act in exchange for compensation and is a violation of California Penal Code 647(b) PC. Even the attempt to engage in a sexual act for money or the offer of sexual activities in exchange for money are crimes. Acts of prostitution can be charged against both the alleged prostitute and the “John,” otherwise known that the person attempting to purchase sexual favors. In addition, compensation for prostitution is not limited to money and can include drugs, goods, or services, such as a bribe.
But prostitution charges are not clear cut and can involve several different scenarios. Within the state of California, there are three types of charges that you can face, including:
- Soliciting a sexual act in exchange for compensation;
- Agreeing to engage in a sexual act in exchange for compensation; and
- Engaging in a sexual act in exchange for compensation.
This means that even if you allegedly did not engage in a sexual act, you may still be charged with solicitation if you offered to engage in prostitution or requested another individual engage in prostitution. Because this is an intent crime, the prosecution only has to demonstrate that you intended to commit prostitution, not that a sexual act actually occurred.
But there are other factors that the prosecution must consider before a defendant can be convicted of prostitution. While an individual who offers a sexual act in exchange for compensation or offers compensation in exchange for a sexual act can be charged with solicitation, prostitution requires an agreement to be a criminal offense. An agreement must go beyond saying you will engage in a sexual act to include actually taking steps to perform prostitution, such as providing a prostitute with money or going to a hotel or motel to meet with a prostitute or John.
In addition, prostitution charges cannot be leveled against an individual who is under the age of 18. In the state of California, SB-1322 protects individuals under the age of 18-years-old from prosecution for prostitution and redefines them as “commercially sexually exploited child.” Instead of being charged with a crime, they may be made a dependent of the state and placed in temporary custody before being placed in foster care.
Prostitution is considered a misdemeanor sex crime in California, but it can be a priorable offense. This means that previous convictions can increase the penalties of additional offenses. For example, if this is your first offense, you can face:
- Up to six months in jail
- Fines of no more than $1,000
- Up to $25,000 if the person was under 18
- Possible registration as a sex offender
However, if this is your second offense, you may face the above charges as well as a mandatory sentence of 45 days in a county jail. Third and subsequent offenses require a minimum of 90 days in a county jail.
Registration as a sex offender is not automatic in prostitution cases. The judge overseeing your case will review the circumstances of your arrest, any available evidence, and prior convictions to determine whether or not you have to register. However, failing to register can also lead to additional charges.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the prosecution may attempt to charge you with additional crimes alongside prostitution. For example, if the individual you were allegedly soliciting was under the age of 18-years-old, you could face charges of solicitation of a minor, which violates California Penal Code 288.4. This charge is a wobbler, meaning you could face either misdemeanor charges or felony charges.
In addition to solicitation, if you attempted to engage in a sexual act in a public place, you may be charged with indecent exposure or lewd conduct. Indecent exposure is the criminal act of willingly exposing your genitals in a place where someone could be offended or annoyed and to sexually gratify yourself or someone else. In contrast, lewd conduct is the crime of touching your private parts for sexual gratification or to annoy another individual in a public location, such as an alleyway or park. While the specifics of each crime may differ, they are often charged alongside prostitution.
Lastly, one final charge that is often related to prostitution is the charge of pimping and pandering. Pimping can involve receiving a portion of compensation from a prostitute’s earning, while pandering is the act of facilitating an act of prostitution, either by persuading someone to engage in prostitution or using fraud or force. These charges are often more heavily charged with prostitution and come with their own unique offenses.
As prostitution laws continue to grow and evolve in California, one of the most important laws in prostitution cases is SB-233. This law protects prostitutes from arrest so long as one of two circumstances applies.
First, an individual cannot be charged with prostitution if they are reporting a serious or violent crime, even if doing so means they must admit to committing prostitution. Crimes that are most commonly associated with these circumstances include human trafficking, kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, solicitation of a minor, or battery. Prior to this law, many prostitutes were afraid of coming forward about assaults that had committed against them or others out of fear of being arrested. However, under this new law, that is no longer the case, and the prosecution cannot pursue charges against you if you are reporting a serious or violent crime.
The second major change is in regard to evidence. Specifically, the prosecution cannot utilize unused condoms as evidence to prove that an individual intended to commit prostitution. While seemingly simple, it can prove useful in the right defense.
Prostitution cases are not simple. The prosecution will use any prior charges of solicitation to build a case against you and will often pursue the maximum available sentencing. But, with the right attorney, you can fight these charges and keep out of jail.
San Diego criminal defense lawyer James N. Dicks is highly qualified to handle cases of prostitution. As a former law enforcement officer and Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, he has the background and expertise to guide you through this time. With his legal insight and understanding, he can craft a strong and strategic defense that withstands the accusations of the prosecution.
In addition to utilizing SB-1322 and SB-233 in your defense, our lead attorney may be able to have evidence suppressed or have your prostitution charges dropped altogether by proving one of the following elements:
- Lack of intent
- Inadequate evidence
- Unreliable witness testimony
- Illegal searches and seizures
- Police misconduct
In addition to fighting these charges and advocating for a dismissal, our attorney can also push to reduce your sentencing in a plea bargain. But each case is different, which is why you will want to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at your side to ensure you receive a thorough defense. With James N. Dicks’s qualifications and record of success behind your case, you can have peace of mind and assurance. We are more than prepared to fight on your behalf and protect your reputation!
Regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding your prostitution arrest and charge, you will need a skilled San Diego sex crime attorney who can protect your rights and best interests during this time. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney; it is important that you exercise these rights so you are not wrongfully charged with or convicted of a crime.
Don't risk your freedom or your future, contact jD LAW for the aggressive defense you need. You can also tell us about your case in a free case evaluation.
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