What You Need to Know About LGBT Prostitution and Solicitation Laws in California
Throughout California, LGBT prostitution and solicitation charges have been on the rise. In some situations, undercover police officers pose as prostitutes or solicitors in order to make an arrest. Therefore, many people ask “What counts as prostitution?”, or “What counts as solicitation?”. Here’s everything you need to know about LGBT prostitution and solicitation laws in California.
Under California Penal Code 647, prostitution occurs when a prostitute and a customer engage in lewd acts or sexual intercourse in exchange for monetary value. Both prostitutes and their customers, often referred to as “johns”, can be prosecuted under California Penal Code 647. The proposed act does not have to occur in order for prostitutes or “johns” to be prosecuted.
Legal Definition of Prostitution
California Penal Code 647 defines prostitution as the exchange of money, goods, or services in exchange for lewd conduct or sexual intercourse. California law outlaws soliciting, engaging in, or agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution.
The Difference Between Prostitution and Solicitation
Although they are closely similar, prostitution and solicitation are two different offenses.
Prostitution occurs when a prostitute or “john” willfully engages in lewd acts or sexual intercourse in exchange for goods, services, or monetary compensation.
Solicitation occurs when an individual proposes, suggests, or requests that another person engage in a sexual act. The difference between solicitation and prostitution is that with a solicitation charge, the agreed sexual act does not have to occur. Additionally, both persons do not have to agree to the transaction.
Examples of Prostitution
Jeremy offers Mike $100 dollars to engage in sex. Mike accepts Jeremy’s offer, and they engage in sex. According to prostitution laws in California, both Jeremy and Mike can be charged with prostitution.
Police officer Mary pulls Hailey over for speeding. Sloane hints that she would be willing to perform oral sex on Jon if he does not give her a ticket. According to prostitution laws in California, Jon accepts, and they engage in sexual conduct.
Examples of Solicitation
Nathan offers Pierce marijuana in exchange for oral sex. Pierce, confused and infuriated, refuses and informs the police. According to solicitation laws in California, Nathan can be charged with solicitation.
Carl tells Manny that he would be willing to perform oral sex if Manny gives him his watch. Manny refuses and informs the police. According to solicitation laws in California, Carl can be charged with solicitation.
Katie, an undercover police officer, poses as a prostitute. Jordan approaches Katie, thinking she is a prostitute, and asks how much a certain sexual act would cost him. Katie shows Jordan his badge and arrests him on the spot. Jordan can be charged with solicitation even though the prostitute was actually an undercover police officer.
Unviable Scenario of Prostitution or Solicitation
Jake is in an area known for hosting gay prostitutes. He has $200 and a condom in his pocket. On suspicion of prostitution, officers arrest Jake. Jake cannot be charged with prostitution or solicitation.
Legal Penalties for Prostitution or Solicitation in California
Prostitution and solicitation are always charged as misdemeanors. Although a prostitution or solicitation conviction may be considered a lesser offense than rape, for example, its legal penalties are serious.
First time offenders can be sentenced up to six months in county jail and fined up to $1,000.
Second time offenders must serve a minimum 45 days in county jail. Third time and subsequent offenders must serve a minimum 90 days in county jail.
Do I need to register as a sex offender if I have been convicted of prostitution or solicitation?
Individuals convicted of prostitution or solicitation are usually not required to register as sex offenders. However, a judge does have the legal authority to mandate that you register as a sex offender (this is rare).
Legal Defenses Against Prostitution in California
If you have been charged with prostitution or solicitation, your attorney can argue that
- You were a victim of entrapment
- Insufficient evidence
- Lack of intent
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been accused of prostitution or solicitation, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.