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Prostitution Law & Defense
PC 647(b) Crimes

Information on the crime of prostitution is found at California penal code section 647(b)(2) and PC647(b)(1). In short, prostitution is the act of of agreeing to, or engaging in, sexual conduct for money or services.

PC 647(b)(2): Prostitution is defined as agreeing to, or solicitation of, a lewd act between two or more persons, for payment of money, or other compensation (other compensation can include drugs, jewelry, services, etc) [Abbrev.]. 

PC 647(b) may be charged against the prostitute or the person soliciting prostitution services (John).

A Lewd act is defined as intercourse, vaginal or anal, or oral copulation, or, the touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person's body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. The touching does not need to be skin to skin.

To solicit a prostitute means to communicate, by words or conduct, an offer or a request, to another person to engage in prostitution. The defendant need not make an express verbal offer of sex to constitute a solicitation for prostitution. It also does not matter that money or other compensation was actually exchanged in solicitation cases; it is the solicitation itself that is criminal.

For soliciting prostitution cases the defendant must specifically intend to commit prostitution; it does not matter if the prostitute actually agrees to engage in prostitution, or that any lewd act actually occurred, so long as the defendant intended to commit prostitution.

Agreeing to Commit Prostitution: It is illegal to agree to commit prostitution. To agree to commit prostitution the person who agrees must have been solicited. To prove that the defendant is guilty of agreeing to commit prostitution charged under PC 647(b), the prosecutor will need to prove all of the following:

  • The defendant accepted an offer for sexual services in exchange for money or other benefit, and

  • The defendant performed some act in furtherance of the commission of the crime, and

  • The defendant specifically intended to agree to prostitution

An 'act in furtherance of the crime:' An act in furtherance of the crime of prostitution means that the defendant did something after agreeing to commit prostitution that helps interpret the defendant's intent.

 

Note: A manifestation of acceptance of an offer or solicitation to engage in an act of prostitution does not constitute a violation of [PC 647(b)]... unless some act, in addition to the manifestation of acceptance, is done within this state in furtherance of the commission of the act of prostitution by the person manifesting an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to engage in that act. As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration (PC 647(b)(4) Abbrev.)).

 

For example, driving to a location to meet a prostitute after agreeing to commit prostitution might be considered an act in furtherance of the crime that serves as circumstantial evidence of the defendant's intent to commit prostitution.

Remember: It does not matter if the person offering the sexual services for hire actually intended to commit prostitution, only that the person who agreed to the offer actually intended to commit prostitution.

PC 647(b) Punishment

First Offense: For a first offense misdemeanor conviction of PC 647(b), the defendant faces up to one hundred eighty (180) days in the county jail.

Second Offense: A second conviction for prostitution (PC 647(b)) requires the defendant to serve no less than 45 days in county jail, and up to 180 days.

Third Offense: A third conviction for prostitution (647(b)) requires the defendant to serve no less than 90 days in county jail, and up to 180 days.

 

In addition to any jail sentence, the defendant may be placed on informal probation with terms and conditions, including restraining orders and monetary fines. The defendant will also be ordered to take an AIDS HIV education class and submit to AIDS testing. Also, the defendant may have his or her driving license suspended in some cases, suffer immigration or professional licensing consequences, and more.

Note: PC 647(b) is not considered a sex offender register offense in most circumstances (exceptions are unusual but do apply PC 290.006).

PC 647(b) Common Defenses

There is not single defense that necessarily fits best for every PC 647(b) case. With that said, some defenses are more common than others in a typical prostitution case. These common defenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement, or their agents, encourage or promote the crime of prostitution by way of their overbearing conduct. For example, if an undercover police officer entices a defendant to commit prostitution by repeat and insistent request, or appeals to the sympathy or friendship of the defendant, and the defendant thereafter commits the crime as a result of that overbearing conduct, the police officer may have entrapped the defendant to commit the crime.

Lack of Overt Act: Ordinarily, the agreement to engage in prostitution will need to be followed by some overt act, above and beyond the agreement itself, that shows by circumstantial evidence that the intent of the parties to follow through with their agreement (i.e. payment of money, driving to the hotel, getting in a car, etc.). The lack of an overt act can serve as a defense to a prostitution offense charged under PC 647(b).

Insufficient Evidence: Insufficient evidence simply means not enough evidence to prove the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Note: Per Penal Code 647.3(b) Possession of condoms in any amount shall not provide a basis for probable cause for arrest for a violation of Section 372, subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 647, or Section 653.22 if the offense is related to an act of prostitution.

Illegal Search & Seizure: Searches of cell phones and vehicles, or seizures of evidence or statements without warrants, might be considered a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights to privacy and privileges against self-incrimination, and as such, any evidence obtained during a search or seizure without a warrant, and any statements made by the defendant, might be ruled inadmissible in a criminal case.

Note: Other police misconduct issues in prostitution cases include, racial profiling, coerced confessions, excessive force, failure to turn over evidence favorable to defendant, false reporting, entrapment, and more. 

Statute of Limitations: The statute (or law) of limitations is a rule that bars (stops) prosecution of criminal cases after a certain time from the date of incident. PC 647(b) are filed as misdemeanors in California. Misdemeanors have a one year statute of limitations.

Statutory Defense: Per PC 647(b)(5): Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, this subdivision does not apply to a child under 18 years of age who is alleged to have engaged in conduct to receive money or other consideration that would, if committed by an adult, violate this subdivision (PC 647(b)(5) Abbrev.).

Jury Nullification: Jury nullification is a process whereby the jury, or an individual juror, believes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated PC 647(b); however, for moral, political, personal, or other reasons, the jury, or any individual juror, votes not guilty in a case. This is not a true defense; however, it is not that uncommon in prostitution cases.

Coerced Confession: A coerced confession can apply in any criminal case, including any prostitution case. Essentially a 'coerced confession' occurs when law enforcement compels a person to make an incriminating statement against himself. If the coercion is overwhelming such that the average person would have given an incriminating statement regardless of guilt, then the incriminating statement may be suppressed (see above); however, in most cases, the coercion is not sufficient to have the statement suppressed, but nevertheless, the evidence of coercion can still act as a defense by impeaching the credibility of the testifying officers. For more information, see Coerced Confessions.

If you are charged with the crime of prostitution, or penal code 647(b)(2)-M, or PC647(b)(1): Solicit Prostitution, contact our experienced prostitution defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our prostitution defense lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of sex crimes in the Inland Empire, including solicitation of prostitution charges. We represent client in all San Bernardino and Riverside County cities, including Rancho Cucamonga, Highland, Ontario, Fontana, Victorville, San Bernardino, Riverside, Redlands, Yucaipa, Adelanto, Rialto, and more. Call today!

909-913-3138

Related Crimes

Quick Reference​ Sheet

Crime: Prostitution Solicitation

Code: PC 647(b)(2)-M (CalCrim No. 1154 & 1155)

Wobbler: No. PC 647(b)(2) is not a wobbler. This means that PC 647(b)(2) is charged only as a misdemeanor.

Incarceration:PC 647(b)(2) jail sentence up to 180 days.

Probation: Probation may be available in PC 647(b)(2) cases (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.

Strike: PC 647(b)(2) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 647(b)(2) is a crime involving moral turpitude (for both provider and customer), which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:

  • Immigration problems

  • Professional Licensing problems

  • Impeachment on credibility

​​

Registration: If convicted of PC 647(b)(2), the defendant is not required to register as a sex offender with law enforcement; however, if the district attorney adds PC 290.006 charges (crime committed for the purpose of sexual gratification), the court could require sex offender registration. It is not common, but possible.

Bail: $5,000 (San Bernardino County)

Note: More penalties, direct or indirect, may apply. This info is created for that purpose only; accuracy is not guaranteed. No attorney/client relationship is formed by use of this info. If arrested or charged with a crime contact a lawyer without delay. PC647(b)(2)-M, & PC647(b)(1) Info.

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PC 647(b) Prostitution Laws (Abbrev.)

PC 647(b)(1): An individual who solicits, or who agrees to engage in, or who engages in, any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation, money, or anything of value from another person,… is guilty of a misdemeanor prostitution (PC 647(b)(1) Abbrev. & Summarized)).

Note: An individual agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, the individual manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation by another person to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in an act of prostitution (PC 647(b)(1) Abbrev.).

PC 647(b)(2): An individual who solicits, or who agrees to engage in, or who engages in, any act of prostitution with another person who is 18 years of age or older in exchange for the individual providing compensation, money, or anything of value to the other person,… is guilty of misdemeanor prostitution (PC 647(b)(2) Abbrev. & Summarized)).

Note: An individual agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, the individual manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation by another person who is 18 years of age or older to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in an act of prostitution (PC 647(b)(2) Abbrev.).

PC 647(b)(3): An individual who solicits, or who agrees to engage in, or who engages in, any act of prostitution with another person who is a minor in exchange for the individual providing compensation, money, or anything of value to the minor. An individual agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, the individual manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation by someone who is a minor to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a minor who also possessed the specific intent to engage in an act of prostitution.

PC 647(b)(4): A manifestation of acceptance of an offer or solicitation to engage in an act of prostitution does not constitute a violation of this subdivision unless some act, in addition to the manifestation of acceptance, is done within this state in furtherance of the commission of the act of prostitution by the person manifesting an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to engage in that act. As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.