Prostitution refers to the sale of sexual services. The compensation for the sexual activity can vary from money to drugs and goods. The agreement doesn’t have to be explicit, but can be an implied agreement. In the State of California, prostitution is illegal.

How Does California Define Prostitution?

In California, it’s illegal to offer to engage in the act of prostitution or actual prostitution.

Can Only The Person Selling Their “Services” Be Charged with Prostitution?

No. The law includes both the person selling their sexual services and the individual buying sexual services. In other words, the law includes the alleged prostitution and alleged customer. It doesn’t include any third parties within the interaction. A third party who may solicit and collect the compensation can be charged under the pimping and pandering laws.

Does the State Have to Prove I Engaged in or Offered Prostitution?

Yes. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  • Engaged, agreed to, or solicited in an act of prostitution with someone else
  • Intended to engage in the act of prostitution with someone else
  • Committed another act to further the act of prostitution beyond just agreeing

What are The Defenses to a Prostitution Charge?

Defenses vary according to the circumstances. The prostitution defenses include: 

  • No intent to engage in prostitution
  • No evidence the defendant intended to or actually engaged in prostitution
  • Entrapment
  • Lack of solicitation
  • Lack of agreement 

What is the Punishment for a Prostitution Conviction in California?

A first-time prostitution conviction is up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A second offense can result in a punishment of 45 days in jail. A third offense can result in a minimum 90 days in jail.

The court may order the defendant’s driving privileges be suspended for up to 30 days if the prostitution occurred within 1,000 feet of a residence and inside of a motor vehicle. The court can also seize the defendant’s vehicle for 30 days if the act took place in the defendant’s vehicle. 

Should I Consult a Lawyer for Help with My Prostitution Charge?

Yes. Contact a California criminal lawyer to learn more about fighting this charge.