Free Consultation for Prostitution or Solicitation Charges
In the Sacramento area, California law states that prostitution, as well as the act of soliciting a prostitute, are illegal. Although usually charged as misdemeanors for first time offenders, defendants can face more serious penalties if they have a prior criminal record or aggravating circumstances exist. To learn more about defending yourself against prostitution and solicitation charges, please call us today to schedule a free consultation. If at all possible, we’ll make time listen to your situation and provide guidance over the phone.
How Can You Be Charged with Prostitution in Sacramento?
Although prostitution and solicitation charges are closely linked, they are not the same. Under California law, a person can be charged with prostitution if he or she willfully pays or accepts money or something else of value in exchange for a sexual act. This means that both sex workers and their customers can be charged with prostitution. In fact, a person can be charged with prostitution even if the proposed conduct never actually took place.
Instead, prosecutors are only required to demonstrate that the defendant not only agreed to engage in prostitution, but also intended to go through with the act, and did something to further the commission of the offense. The last element involves proof of more than just acceptance of an offer to engage in a sexual act, such as:
- Actually paying the other party;
- Withdrawing money from a bank or an ATM to pay the other party the agreed-upon amount;
- Driving to a previously agreed-upon location where the sexual activity will actually occur; and
- Instructing a customer to undress after receiving payment.
How Can You Be Charged with Solitation of Prostitution in Sacramento?
Solicitation, on the other hand, occurs when a person asks someone else to engage in an act of prostitution. Like prostitution, defendants do not have to actually engage in the act agreed-upon to be convicted of this offense, but face criminal penalties as long as they intended to engage in an act of prostitution with the other party. The requisite intent is usually revealed by an offer to exchange money or something of value for sex, although it is not required that both parties share the same intent. This means that a person can be charged with solicitation even if the person solicited was not actually a prostitute, was an undercover officer, or did not agree to the transaction. Intent is an extremely important element in solicitation cases, as anything less than an actual agreement is usually not enough to satisfy the requirements of California law. As a result, just because someone was in a known area of prostitution, interacting with strangers, or dressed like a sex worker does not mean that he or she can be convicted. Like prostitution, solicitation charges can be levied against both sex workers and customers, depending on who initiated the interaction.
Can a Minor be Found Guilty of Prostitution?
In Sacramento, California law states that minors under the age of 18 years old cannot be convicted of prostitution, as legislation passed in 2016 amended state law, so that children under the age of 18 years old who commit an act of prostitution are not treated as offenders, but are considered to be commercially sexually exploited children. This is true even if the minor initiated contact or has been arrested on prior occasions for prostitution or solicitation. Rather than being sent to jail or forced to pay a fine, minors involved in prostitution are labeled dependent children of the court and taken into temporary custody, which involves staying with a family member or at an emergency shelter for at least 15 days.
What are the Penalties for Prostitution and Solicitation in Sacramento?
In California, both prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanor offenses for first time offenders. As misdemeanors, these types of crimes are punishable by up to six months in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000, although it is not uncommon for first time offenders to avoid jail time when properly defended.
However, solicitation and prostitution are “priorable” offenses, which means that penalties increase with each subsequent conviction. For example, defendants convicted of a second offense face a minimum of 45 days in jail, while those convicted of third or subsequent offenses, are required to spend at least 90 days in jail.
There are also additional penalties that may apply when:
- The defendant was in a car at the time of the offense; and
- The defendant was within 1,000 feet of a private residence.
In these cases, both sex workers and customers could have their driver’s licenses suspended for up to a month or restricted for up to six months. Local jurisdictions also have discretion to impose additional penalties for these offenses. For example, defendants in Los Angeles who are convicted of prostitution while in a vehicle can have their cars seized by the government and forfeited to the state.
Do Defendants Convicted of Prostitution or Solicitation Have to Register as Sex Offenders?
Fortunately, being convicted of prostitution or solicitation does not trigger automatic sex offender registration, although in some cases, judges do have discretion to require a defendant to register.
How Does a Sacramento Prostitution Attorney Defend Clients Charged with Prostitution or Solicitation?
Every case is different; however, some of defenses we’ve used for our clients charged with prostitution or solicitation include the following:
- They were entrapped by a police officer who convinced them to commit an offense that they normally wouldn’t commit through the use of flattery, coaxing, badgering, repeated or insistent requests, an appeal to sympathy, or an offer of an extraordinary benefit;
- There is a lack of trustworthy evidence because the alleged agreement was not recorded;
- The evidence is insufficient to prove that an agreement took place or that they had the requisite intent to commit the crime; and
- They did not intend to engage in prostitution.
If you are facing charges of prostitution or solicitation, you need the advice of an experienced sex crime defense attorney. Over the years, we have seen that these cases often aren’t what they appear to be. Allegations of solicitation and prostitution are often he said/she said situations where there were no witnesses and no physical evidence. The prosecution must show – beyond a reasonable doubt – that the alleged crime actually occurred and without sufficient evidence, we can get these cases dismissed.
Call 24/7 for a free consultation with a Sacramento prostitution attorney to discuss your options.
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I am an executive for a fortune 500 company and have worked with many attorneys in my line of business, I then found my self needing an attorney for my child and with great luck we selected Michelle. Her expertise, professionalism and ability to explain the law and what we were facing was so refreshing. Her ability to show compassion and guidance yet battle the DA and judge for what was fair and acceptable. She was always available for questions and either answered the phone or would get right back to us. She knew her stuff and I highly recommend to her anyone in need of a good attorney that is reasonable priced and very honest and loyal. Thank you Michelle
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