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California Penal Code 647(b)

By Spodek Law Group | August 19, 2016
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:17 pm

Prostitution has been around as long as there have been civilization, and while this act is referred to as the “oldest profession,” prosecutors aggressively target this as a criminal act. In the most basic sense, prostitution is defined as any engagement in which sexual favors are given in return for money or some other form of goods or services. For example, you perform sexual favors in return for a new car. Regardless of the scenarios, California Penal Code 647(b) clearly defines and outlines potential penalties and guidelines for convictions.

Elements of Penal Code 647(b)

Prostitution is categorized under California Penal Code 647(b); however, Penal Code 647 covers a variety of sexually based offenses. For example, PC 647(a) refers to any persons who are caught engaging in lewd behavior in a public place or engaging in sexual activities in a public venue; however, PC 647(b) strictly refers to engaging in prostitution activities. According to this law, the following activities are strictly prohibited:

  • Engaging in the act of purchasing sex or engaging in sexual activities for money.
  • Offering to engage in sexual activities in exchange for money. The term “solicitation” is often used to describe this action.

According to California law, police officers may arrest not only the prostitute, but also the customer as well as the middleman, or pimp. State law defines a “pimp” as any person who arranges meetings between the prostitute and the customer. For more information regarding the legal ramifications of “pimping,” refer to California Penal Code 266(h) and 266(I). Even if the “pimp” does not meet the aforementioned qualities, it’s possible to still be charged with a crime if they aid in or supervise the act of prostitution in any fashion, as outlined by California Penal Code 653.23.

Examples of Prostitution and Solicitation

To prevent confusion, the following examples are common when it comes to making arrests and charging individuals under Penal Code 647(b):

  • A man solicits a woman for sexual favors in exchange for drugs or money. Even though the woman is not a prostitute, if she agrees, she can be charged with prostitution. Even if she doesn’t agree, the man can be charged under the statutes set forth within this California Penal Code.
  • A woman allows another individual to touch her in a sexual manner in exchange for financial compensation. Even if sexual intercourse is not had, both parties may be charged.
  • A man is approached by a woman, who offers sexual favors in exchange for money or drugs. Regardless of the sexual act, both the man and woman may be charged under PC 647(b).

Defending a PC 647(b) Charge

While the specifics of your case may determine the route your legal defense team may take, it’s essential to fight this charge. Due to the subjective and sensitive nature of such a charge, a professional legal team is able to locate holes within the initial charge to either prevent a conviction or reduce conviction severity. Some of the legal defenses your lawyers may engage in include:

  • Entrapment – Defined by the U.S. Justice Department, entrapment is when a government agency originates a criminal design, influences the decision of a civilian to commit a crime and then allows a crime to happen in order to charge the person(s) with the crime. Since prostitution is a hot-topic among political and judicial circles, sting operations are common. A professional legal team is able to determine if the sting operation followed all state and federal laws.
  • Lack of Evidence – In many cases, prosecution lacks substantial evidence to prove beyond a doubt that the defendant committed a crime punishable by conviction.
  • Misunderstanding – While the defendant may have performed sexual activity, many times the prosecution makes a mistake when it comes to the actual crime. If both parties agreed to consensual sex, without financial reward, then it’s possible the charge is based on false information. Simply because you received a financial gift does not mean you engaged in prostitution.

Protecting your rights as an adult to engage in legal sexual activity is the primary goal for defense attorneys. If you’re facing a possible conviction under PC 647(b), hire an attorney with experience and knowledge to prevent jail time and other unsavory penalties.

The Staggering Ramifications of Prostitution Under California Penal Code 647(b)

For as long as civilizations have existed, so too has prostitution. Though often referred to as the “oldest profession,” it remains a criminal act that prosecutors relentlessly pursue. According to the California Penal Code 647(b), prostitution encompasses any exchange of sexual favors in return for goods, services, or money. Regardless of the specific scenario, this statute outlines the potential penalties for those involved.

Understanding the Intricacies of Penal Code 647(b)

While prostitution falls under the broader umbrella of California Penal Code 647, which covers various sexually-based offenses, subsection (b) specifically addresses prostitution activities. Explicitly forbidden actions in this law include:

  • Engaging in purchasing sex or participating in sexual activities for compensation.
  • Offering to exchange sexual favors for payment, an act often referred to as “solicitation.”

California law allows for police officers to not only arrest the prostitute, but also the customer and any middlemen, or “pimps.” State law defines a pimp as a person who arranges meetings between a prostitute and their client. Consult California Penal Code 266(h) and 266(i) to explore the legal consequences of “pimping” further. Additionally, according to California Penal Code 653.23, even if an individual doesn’t fit the classic definition of a pimp but directly aids or supervises the act of prostitution, they may still face criminal charges.

Examples of Prostitution and Solicitation

For a clearer understanding, examine these commonplace scenarios involving arrests and charges under Penal Code 647(b):

  1. A man offers drugs or money to a woman in exchange for sexual favors. Regardless of whether she is a prostitute or not and whether she agrees to the proposal, both could face criminal charges.
  2. A woman allows another person to touch her in a sexual manner for financial compensation. Although sexual intercourse may not have occurred, both parties remain at risk for prosecution.
  3. A woman propositions a man for sex in return for money or drugs. Regardless of the specific sexual act, both individuals can be charged under PC 647(b).

Strategies for Defending a PC 647(b) Charge

The details of your specific case may dictate the defense strategies employed by your legal team, but it’s crucial to challenge this charge vigorously. A skilled and experienced team of legal professionals can scrutinize the allegations and potentially prevent or reduce a conviction. Common legal defenses include:

  • Entrapment: As defined by the U.S. Justice Department, entrapment occurs when a government agency orchestrates a criminal act, persuades a civilian to commit that crime, and then allows it to happen to prosecute the perpetrator. Due to the complex and controversial nature of prostitution cases, sting operations are frequent. A diligent legal team can ensure that these operations adhere to all state and federal laws.
  • Lack of Evidence: Frequently, the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed a crime warranting a conviction.
  • Misunderstanding: Although sexual activity may have transpired between both parties, the prosecution can sometimes misconstrue the actual crime. If both individuals consented to sex without any financial reward, then the criminal charges could stem from false information. Receiving a monetary gift doesn’t necessarily equate to engaging in prostitution.

Protecting your rights as an adult to participate in lawful sexual activities is the top priority for defense attorneys. If you face potential conviction under PC 647(b), seek an attorney with expertise and in-depth knowledge of the law to prevent imprisonment and other devastating penalties.

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