Protecting the Rights of Individuals Who Have Been Accused of Soliciting Prostitution
California Penal Code 647(b) criminalizes the act of soliciting an act of prostitution.
While the statute refers to any “lewd act between persons,” in practice this offense is usually brought against people who offer to pay someone else money or items of value in return for sex or those who offer sex in return for money or items of value.
In many cases, the people who are accused of solicitation have been caught as part of a “sting” operation, where a law enforcement officer (or an agent of law enforcement) poses as a prostitute or client and waits for someone else to solicit an act of prostitution.
Importantly, the sexual act does not have to take place in order for the state to obtain a conviction – it is enough that the defendant offered money for sex or vice versa and that they intended to follow through on the bargain.
A closely related offense is:
- Loitering for the purpose of prostitution under California Penal Code 653.33
- Lewd acts in public is defined under California Penal Code 647(a)
If you have been accused of a prostitution related sex crime, you should immediately consult with a Los Angeles solicitation of prostitution lawyer at our law firm to thoroughly review all the details of your case in order to start building an effective defense strategy.
Solicitation of Prostitution Can Result in Significant Legal Penalties
People who are convicted of solicitation are often facing extremely serious legal penalties, including fines, probation, community service, and even jail time.
In addition, the penalties can increase if you have prior prostitution-related convictions on your record. Because solicitation cases are a sex crime, a conviction can have a significant impact on a person's reputation and may result in adverse social and personal consequences, as well.
Potential Legal Defenses to Allegations of Solicitation
Many people who are arrested for prostitution may feel like there is no hope for their case, as they were caught in the act by law enforcement.
It is important to realize that there may be legal defenses available that may result in the case being dismissed, a reduction in the offense of which you are accused, or an acquittal at trial.
A skilled Los Angeles solicitation of prostitution attorney can identify which specific defenses may apply in your case and some examples include the following:
- Entrapment – Because many prostitution rings are discovered through undercover police operations, it opens up the possibility for entrapment to occur. If you did not originally intend to engage in solicitation or prostitution but an undercover law enforcement officer induced you to do so, an experienced sex crime lawyer may be able to use entrapment as a defense to have your case dismissed.
- There was no intent to follow through with the agreement – In order to be convicted of this sex crime case, the prosecutor must prove that you had the intention to carry out your end of the deal. Therefore, a skilled Los Angeles prostitution lawyer may be able to raise a defense that you did not have the requisite intent to commit the act. Talking to someone or even going into an apartment with someone is not against the law if you do not intend to do anything unlawful. A sex crime attorney can present evidence that the situation was misinterpreted by another party or law enforcement.
- Insufficient evidence to convict – Prostitution and solicitation cases involve two people and the testimony of the other person involved is generally essential necessary for the prosecutor to prove your acts or intended acts beyond a reasonable doubt. If the other party is unavailable or if a law enforcement officer does not have a clear memory of what happened, there may be insufficient evidence for the prosecutor to meet their burden of proof.
While there are available legal defenses in solicitation of prostitution cases, in some situations, the best course of action for a defendant is to pursue a plea bargain with the prosecutor handling the case. A plea bargain involves agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser offense or a more lenient sentence.
Prosecutors are often willing to negotiate a more favorable outcome to avoid having to take a case to trial. It is imperative to have an experienced Los Angeles solicitation of prostitution defense attorney who can advise you regarding plea bargains and understands how to effectively negotiate with the prosecution.
Contact a Los Angeles Solicitation of Prostitution Attorney
If you have been accused of trying to solicit a prostitute in Los Angeles County, your reputation and freedom are on the line.
For this reason, it is critical to speak to an experienced sex crime defense attorney as soon as possible.
The lawyers of Eisner Gorin LLP are skilled criminal defense advocates who understand how to effectively navigate the criminal justice system and work hard to get our clients the best outcome possible in their case.
For a free immediate response with one of our attorneys, call our law firm today at 877-871-1570.