San Diego Solicitation Defense Lawyers
Any attempts to pay for sex or exchange sex in return for money can be prosecuted as solicitation under California law, leading to catastrophic ramifications on your life. These charges are taken very seriously by San Diego courts and, without a strong legal defense, you may face significant jail time, fines, damage to your reputation, and other restrictions based on the nature of your case.
If you have been charged with the solicitation of a prostitute, then you need to start building a defense strategy now by contacting jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our San Diego sex crime defense lawyer has significant experience defending clients through San Diego County and achieving positive results. Call us at (760) 630-2000 to learn how we can protect your rights in a San Diego criminal court.
It is important to understand that California has several laws against solicitation, but the most widely known one is solicitation of a prostitute, which is defined by California Penal Code Section 647(b). In order for a prosecution to convict you of solicitation of a prostitute, they must demonstrate that you:
- Offered to commit a sexual act in exchange for compensation or offer compensation in exchange for a sexual act; and
- Intended to engage in prostitution after solicitation.
Solicitation can be charged on both sides of the issue, including the accused “John” or client and the accused prostitute, but it does not equate to the charge of prostitution. The key difference between solicitation and prostitution is that solicitation is merely the request to engage in a sexual act, whereas prostitution actually involves that act. In addition, solicitation is an intent crime, meaning the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were going to engage in a sexual activity. The courts can also pursue a charge of solicitation, even if the request was denied.
Solicitation can also be paired with other charges, such as:
- Pandering, wherein an individual solicits prostitution on behalf of someone else
- Pimping, which occurs when an individual collects money from a prostitute
- Supervising or aiding a prostitute
- Lewd conduct in public
- Loitering to commit prostitution
- Solicitation of a minor, which is a felony offense and can lead to a molestation charge and registration with as a sex offender
In the state of California, solicitation is charged as a misdemeanor, however, it is also a priorable charge, meaning that previous charges of solicitation can increase the penalties in future cases. For first-time offenders, a conviction of solicitation can result in:
- Six months in a county jail; and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000.
In turn, a second offense can lead to:
- A mandatory minimum of 45 days to six months in a county jail; and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000.
A third or subsequent conviction, in turn, can result in a:
- A mandatory minimum of 90 days to six months in a county jail; and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000.
You may also suffer additional penalties depending on whether or not you were in a vehicle and near a residence when the crime took place, including a license suspension for up to 30 days or a license restriction for up to six months.
A charge of solicitation goes beyond the criminal justice system and can seriously impact your personal life if you do not work diligently to disprove the prosecution’s arguments. The burden of proof will ultimately come down to the district attorney involved in your case, meaning you are innocent until proven guilty and do have every right to defend yourself in a San Diego court.
While solicitation can be charged against both parties involved, it is not uncommon for these cases to be one-side. If another individual requested money in exchange for sexual activities, and you denied the request, then only the other person can be charged with solicitation. In turn, if someone else offered sex in exchange for money or property, and you denied it, then you cannot be charged with solicitation. Solicitation is also an intent crime, meaning that if there was no intent to follow through on the sexual act, then you cannot be convicted of it.
Other defenses against charges of solicitation can include:
- A lack of verifiable evidence
- A mistake of fact, or a misunderstanding about the situation
Nowadays, many interactions take place online and, as seen with the expansion of online dating, intimate encounters can often be scheduled over the internet. However, there are instances where these messages can be misinterpreted as solicitation, leading to a false charge. Solicitation on the internet is charged just the same as it normally would, and defendants should take these cases just as seriously.
One key difference involved in these cases is the availability of evidence. Most online messages can be recorded, copied, or archived, meaning the district attorney may utilize your messages against you. However, just like conversations, these messages can be misinterpreted, and a knowledgeable attorney can argue a lack of intent in the case and have your charges dropped.
San Diego courts take sex crimes very seriously and can pursue significant charges against anyone accused of solicitation, even based on miscommunication. Understanding these laws, charges, and penalties can be difficult without an in-depth knowledge of California laws, but with the right lawyer, you may be able to have the charges against your reduced or dismissed.
If you have been charged with solicitation, then you should contact the San Diego sex crime defense lawyers at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our legal team can swiftly review your charges, evaluate all evidence, and build a strong defense case to ensure your rights are protected. Call us at (760) 630-2000 to learn what options are available to you under the law.
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