Defenses to Prostitution Charges – California Penal Code 647(b)
If you are facing prostitution charges in California, you will need an experienced attorney fighting for your freedom. The consequences of a prostitution conviction can be severe, but our lawyers at Wallin & Klarich are dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
An experienced prostitution lawyer can help you raise several defenses to in an attempt to have your prostitution charges reduced or dismissed. Below are some of the defenses that our attorneys have used successfully to help our clients avoid the serious consequences of this crime.
Prostitution Charges Defense: Lack of Agreement or Solicitation
Often times, law enforcement officers will watch what they believe to be a prostitute and a prospective client agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution, but in reality, no such agreement was reached.
In these situations, the circumstances surrounding the alleged agreement to engage in prostitution may suggest that the prostitute and the customer had agreed to engage in prostitution or that one person had solicited the other to commit an offense to prostitution charges. However, this may not be the case. For example, you may actually have been lost in a bad neighborhood while asking a woman on the street for directions. The law enforcement officer may not have heard your conversation with the woman because he was too far away. Thus, he merely assumed that you were soliciting a prostitute, when you in fact were not.
These types of situations where the officer does not hear the conversation between the alleged prostitute and alleged customer happen more often than you would think. The experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can identify when the police officer’s belief that you were soliciting a prostitute or agreeing to engage in prostitution was false or unreliable.
Prostituiton Charges Defense: Lack of Intent
To be convicted of engaging in, soliciting, or agreeing to engage in prostitution, you must have specifically intended to engage in, solicit, or agree to engage in the act of prostitution. The specific intent of the customer and prostitute to engage in prostitution can be found when money or some other form of compensation is exchanged. The law enforcement officer may also claim that your conversation with the alleged prostitute or customer was evidence enough of your specific intent in order to file prostitution charges against you.
However, the prosecutor cannot prove that you specifically intended to engage in an act of prostitution when he or she can only prove that you made certain hand gestures. For example, if you nod or wave to a woman standing on a street corner, that is not enough to be guilty of prostitution charges.
Prostitution Charges Defense: No Exchange of Compensation
If you agree to engage in sexual intercourse with another person, or solicit another for sexual intercourse, but no agreement or request for compensation is involved, then you have not cannot be guilty of prostitution charges. There must be an agreement or request to exchange compensation for sexual intercourse or lewd acts in order for there to be an act of prostitution in violation of Penal Code section 647(b)1. If no such agreement or request existed, then you are merely engaging in a consensual sexual encounter with another person, which is legal.
It is important to note that the compensation does not need to be for money. Although we often think of money changing hands when we think of prostitution, an exchange of another item or good instead of money can also result in an act of prostitution. For example, a customer may agree to give drugs or a valuable item to the prostitute in exchange for sexual intercourse.
Prostitution Charges Defense: Insufficient Evidence
The prosecutor must prove that you engaged in, solicited, or agreed to engage in prostitution beyond a reasonable doubt in order to file prostitution charges. If the prosecutor does not have evidence that reaches that high burden of proof, then you cannot be found guilty of prostitution charges.
There may be many reasons why the evidence against you is not sufficient to support prostitution charges. There may not be a clear and definite agreement to engage in an act of prostitution or solicitation of another for prostitution. If the law enforcement officer does not have a recording of your conversation or if the recording is difficult to understand, then there may be insufficient evidence to convict you of prostitution charges.
There may not be an act in furtherance of the agreement to engage in prostitution. For example, the undercover police officer posing as a John asks if you would engage in sexual intercourse with him in exchange for money and you agree to do so, but do not perform any other act to further engage in sexual or lewd conduct, then there is insufficient evidence to support your prostitution charges.
Prostitution Charges Defense: Entrapment
Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer behaves in an overbearing way that would result in a normally law-abiding person committing an offense. Law enforcement agencies often use undercover police officers to pose as prostitutes or customers in order to catch individuals who may wish to engage in prostitution. If the undercover police officers pressure you in an overbearing way to engage in prostitution, the defense of entrapment may apply to your case and you cannot be proven guilty of prostitution charges.
However, the officer’s behavior must be overbearing. To raise the defense of entrapment successfully, the officer’s behavior must have been such as to have caused a law-abiding citizen to engage in prostitution.
For example, an undercover officer merely asking you if you want to exchange sexual intercourse for money is not overbearing behavior that would cause a law-abiding citizen to engage in prostitution. On the other hand, if an undercover prostitute comes up to you multiple times while you are walking down a street and offers to provide you with sex for a sum of money and you say “NO” until you finally “give in” to the request, your lawyer may be able to raise the entrapment defense successfully against your prostitution charges.
The court will also consider whether the individual had a predisposition to commit the crime when considering the entrapment defense. If you have prior convictions for engaging in prostitution, then the court will likely not believe that the police officer’s behavior forced you to commit an act of prostitution.
Wallin & Klarich Prostitution Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with prostitution, you are facing serious punishment. The experienced prostitution defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to help defend you in your prostitution case. Our attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing prostitution charges. We will devote the time and skill necessary to get you the best result possible in your case.
Our offices are located in in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. Call us today to at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for any questions or concerns regarding your case. We will be there when you call.
1. Penal Code Section 647(b): http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/647.html ↩