In the state of California, if you offer to engage in sexual or lewd conduct in exchange for money or any ‘good’ you can be charged for ‘Prostitution and Solicitation’ under California Penal Code 647 (b). The prostitution and solicitation laws explain that it is illegal to be on either side of the transaction. Whether you are paying or offering a sexual service the law will punish both as crimes with fines and possible jail time. If you have been charged for prostitution or solicitation, you may want to contact a criminal law attorney to learn of possible solutions to your case. Though not common, prostitution and solicitation is a crime that can result in sex offender registration duties. In California, a registered sex offender is required to live by numerous laws that affect their living situation, their freedoms, and future job interests. To avoid being falsely accused or being punished with more than is warranted, you should contact a local law expert

Most prostitution cases involve the payer (the John), the payee (the prostitute), and in some cases a brothel owner or a pimp. Both the payer and the payee can be charged for violating PC 647. The crime is usually charged with a misdemeanor resulting in fines of up to one thousand dollars and up to six months in jail. However, the offense increases if a) it is your second or subsequent offense, b) you are a pimp, c) you are aiding the prostitution transaction. If you are a brothel owner otherwise known as a pimp, you may be charged with California Penal Code 266. In most cases, pimps are charged with felonies and are required to serve a longer prison sentence and pay higher fines.

Those who are charged with prostitution and solicitation should know that there are ways to fight the case in a courtroom. First and foremost, you want to contact a criminal law attorney that is knowledgeable about your local state laws. Every state has a different jurisdiction on prostitution and solicitations crimes. A local criminal law attorney will be able to guide you through the legal process and represent your case in a courtroom. Upon consultation, your attorney will advise you on ways to challenge the evidence. Depending on your case, the following defense strategies may be enough to drop the PC 647 (b) charges.

  • Not enough valid evidence: to be convicted of a crime there needs to be enough believable evidence that helps prove the crime took place. When there is not enough evidence an experienced attorney can fight the charges based on the faulty evidence against your case. For a successful conviction, the prosecuting party has the burden to prove that the crime took place with factual evidence.

  • Your actions were misinterpreted: if someone thinks you are soliciting for sexual favors the person can press charges for solicitation under PC 647 (b). However, the defendant can claim that his or her actions were misinterpreted and that they never intended to solicit for sexual favors.

  • Entrapment: law enforcement agents often run sting operations to crack down on prostitution and solicitations crimes. However, during a sting operation, a police officer cannot aggressively pursue a person to engage in prostitution. It is entrapment when a police officer tricks a person to do something they normally would not do.

Prostitution and solicitation crimes are very dynamic which is why you should contact a lawyer before you enter a courtroom. There are a number of factors that need to be proven before you can be charged under PC 647 (b). If you are in Los Angeles, California, you may contact the Los Angeles Criminal Law Attorney at 310-502-1314. Upon consultation and a review of your case, you will have a better understanding of the laws that apply to the details of your case and you will be better informed on the ways to challenge the evidence against you. Before you enter a courtroom, give us a call to learn of the ways in which we can help your case.

The following section will discuss in more detail the prostitution and solicitations laws under Penal Code 647 (b), the penalties for prostitution and solicitation, and the possible defense strategies to your case. The following is a broad interpretation of the law if you wish to learn more about your specific case you are encouraged to seek consultation from a local legal expert.

California Penal Code 647 (b): Prostitution and Solicitation

The ‘Prostitution and Solicitation’ laws explain that a violation under Penal Code 647 is a misdemeanor for first-time offenders. A person engages in an act of prostitution if he or she requests (or solicited) from another person to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for money. The act of soliciting is enough to be charged under PC 647. This means it is enough to press charges when a person simply asks to exchange money for sexual favors. In other words, no physical contact is required to be charged under this crime. Furthermore, it is a crime to accept money or any good in exchange for a sexual favor. Whether you are paying or receiving money, it is equally illegal for both parties.

Solicitation differs from the act of prostitution in that solicitation is the initial request to engage in a sexual act in exchange for money or a good. Prostitution is the act of engaging a sexual act in exchange for money or a good. In other words, prostitution is what occurs after solicitation. Under PC 647 (b) both prostitution and solicitation are crimes that are charged with similar jail times and fines.

To be charged for prostitution and solicitation the prosecuting party needs to prove that the acts were intentional and willful. This means that you intentionally sought to exchange money or a good for sexual favors. Additionally, to be charged for prostitution and solicitation the crime requires that there is an exchange of money or a good. Simply engaging in sexual behavior is not enough to be charged under PC 647 (b).

Under PC 647 (b) you are guilty if you:

  • If the person intended to engage in a sexual or lewd conduct with another person in exchange for money
  • If the personal request to exchange money with another for sexual favors

Intention can be proved if there was a clear exchange of money or a good such as a vehicle or a drug. Additionally, it can be proven if there was a reason to believe that the defendant engaged conversation with another person with the aim to exchange money for a sexual favor. Furthermore, to prove intent the prosecuting party may present emails or text messages that prove you solicited for sexual favors. The prosecuting party cannot convict you of soliciting for sexual advances unless they have concrete proof that you violated the law.

Ex: Peter watches a woman in provocative dressing passing up and down the street he lives on. Peter decides to approach the woman and offers her money to sleep with him tonight. The woman turns out to be an undercover cop and arrests Peter. In this case, the cop did not do anything that would coerce Peter or that would make him act in a manner that is irregular. The act of approaching the undercover cop for sexual favors and then offering money is enough to be charged with a misdemeanor for soliciting prostitution.

Ex: Hank is with a group of friends eating tacos at a corner. They notice an attractive lady pass by and Hank decides to approach her. Hank wants to offer her taco and a chat. In this case, the woman is also an undercover cop, however, the cop cannot press charges under PC 647. Hank did not approach the woman with the intent to exchange a sexual favor for a good. The simple act of talking to another person even if the aim is to score a date is not enough to press charges under PC 647 (b).

In a courtroom, if you are falsely accused an experienced attorney is capable of challenging the evidence presented by the prosecuting party. To avoid charges and to challenge the case in a courtroom, you are encouraged to speak with a local attorney.

Penal Code 647 (b) Penalties

The penalties under PC 647 (b) differ depending on different factors the case. For instance, if the act of soliciting involves a child, then the charges will be significantly higher than for a simple offense. Additionally, the charges increase for any subsequent offense. A first offense is usually punished with up to six months in jail and up to one thousand dollars in fines. A subsequent offense can also be charged with up to one thousand dollars in fines. However, a subsequent offense can be charged with a mandatory 90 days in county jail. When the case involves a minor (a person under the age of 18) the penalties can include up to a year in jail and up to ten thousand dollars in fines.

The penalties can also increase depending on where the act took place. For instance, if the act took place in a car near a residency, the defendant may have their driving license suspended for up to thirty days. The defendants' license can also be restricted for up to six months. A person with a restricted license may have the option to drive to and from work or drive on the highway only if it is a job requirement. To avoid penalty charges under PC 647 or to learn of way in which to reduce the charges, you are encouraged to speak with a local law expert.

Megan's Law

In the state of California, a sex crime conviction usually results in sex offender registration obligations. A sex offender is required to live under strict laws that prevent them from visiting certain places or living near locations where children frequent. However, a sex crime conviction for prostitution and solicitation is not mandatory. This means that it is up to judge to decide whether sex offender registration is required. Sex offender registration may be required if the defendant solicited a child to engage in lewd conduct or sexual behavior. In most cases charged under PC 647 (b) result in a misdemeanor without the requirement to register as a sex offender.

Those required to register as sex offenders will be required to maintain a registration with their personal information for a given period of time. The registration will include your photo, your full name, the nature of your crime, and in some cases,  it may include your residency. All the information on the registry is open to both law enforcement and to the public. As a registered sex offender you will be required to update the registry every time you move residencies and every year five days after your birthday. Failure to register as a sex offender can result in additional penalties.

If you are charged prostitution and solicitation, it is important to remember that a sex crime can always result in a sex offender status. To assure that you are not wrongly charged with more than is fair, it is crucial to work with an attorney before entering a courtroom.

Legal Defenses

Faulty Evidence

When there is not enough evidence against your case, it is difficult to proceed with a conviction. For instance, a person can claim that the money they received from you was meant to pay for sexual intercourse. The prosecuting party has the burden to prove that the exchange of money or a good was meant to pay for a sexual favor.


Police officers usually engage with sting operations in order to find out if there is prostitution going on in a specific area. The undercover police officer can arrest individuals that approach with the intent to buy sexual favors. However, there are certain acts that can be seen as entrapment. An undercover cop can be challenged in a courtroom when the cop engages in coercive behavior that causes a normal person to break the law or commit an act that he or she would not do.

Ex: Mary is an undercover cop and meets Nate at a bar. Mary encourages Nate to engage in sexual intercourse with her. As they make their way to a hotel room Mary request money to help with an emergency. Nate gives her the money as he feels sorry for her situation. Later, Mary proceeds by telling Nate she is an undercover cop and arrests him. In this case, Nate was wrongfully arrested as he did not act with the intent to exchange money for sexual favors. Additionally, the cop acted in a manner that would coerce Nate into following her into a hotel room.

Entrapment can occur unintentionally, however, when it does happen it is crucial to challenge the accusations in a courtroom. Entrapment is one of the more common ways to get you off the hook for prostitution and solicitation charges.

Lack of Intention

Sometimes your actions can be misinterpreted when you are talking to a person whose language is different from yours or when your actions are mistaken. To prove that you violated PC 647 (b), the prosecuting party needs to provide clear evidence that you acted with the intent to exchange money or a good for sexual favors. This can be done by showing text messages, emails, or recordings that show criminal intentions.

Ex: James is driving down the street and notices a woman standing at the corner. He approaches her and requests to have sexual intercourse in exchange for money. Meanwhile, a police officer watches the transaction take place. In this case, James showed intent by going up to the person at the corner and offering money for sexual favors. James can be charged for soliciting under PC 647 (b).

Find a Criminal Lawyer Near Me

Prostitution and solicitation are crimes that are not heavily penalized as other sex crimes. As mentioned above those who are charged under PC 647 (b) are rarely required to register as a sex offender. However, it is crucial to face the charges with the right type of knowledge in order to avoid a wrongful conviction. Working with a local attorney can help you learn of the ways that your case will carry out in a courtroom so that you are knowledgeable about the possible penalties.

If you are located in Los Angeles, California and you are facing charges for violation of PC 647 (b) you are encouraged to speak with the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer. Speaking with a criminal lawyer will allow you to learn how the laws apply to your specific case. Every case is different which means there are different ways of handling the case in a courtroom.  To reach our offices for a consultation you may contact us through email or you may give us a call at 310-502-1314.  Our attorney is ready to discuss your case at full length ensuring that you understand the law and of possible defensive strategies before you enter a courtroom.