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Pimping Crimes
(PC 266h)

Law, Punishment, & Defense

Information on the California crime of pimping is found at California penal code section 266h. This brief overview discusses the law and punishment related to PC 266h crimes. For further information on California pimping crime, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation.

PC 266h Law

The crime of pimping is committed when the defendant earns money or other compensation from a person who the defendant knows to be a prostitute, and the defendant encouraged, promoted, enticed, requested, or direct the prostitute to commit the crime of prostitution for the benefit of the defendant.

A prostitute is a person who engages in sexual conduct with another person in exchange for money or other compensation. Sexual conduct does not necessarily mean sexual intercourse. Sexual conduct can also be a lewd act.


A lewd act means physical contact of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person's body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

Penal code 266h(a) does not require that money or other consideration be made directly to the defendant for the crime to be committed.

PC 266h Punishment

PC 266h(a) Prison Sentence: Pimping, charged as PC 266h(a), is classified as a felony. If found guilty of PC 266h(a), the defendant could face up to six (6) years in prison. Other pimping charges carry different prison punishments, including:


  • PC 266h(b)(1): Pimping a Prostitute Minor Sixteen (16) Years or Older [Felony charge with a maximum punishment of six (6) years in prison]

  • PC 266h(b)(2): Pimping a Prostitute Minor under the Age of Sixteen (16) [Felony charge with a maximum punishment of eight (8) years in prison].

  • PC 266g: Prostituting Wife [Felony charge with a maximum punishment of four (4) years in prison]. See Prostituting Wife for further information.

Probation sentence: A probation sentence is not available in pimping cases.

No Joint Suspended Prison Sentence: If the defendant is found guilty of pimping, he or she must serve his or her incarceration in a state prison (as opposed to a local county jail), and no part of that prison sentence may be split or suspended.

Sex offender registration: PC 266h(a) Pimping an adult is not a mandatory sex offender registration offense (with some exceptions). However, if found guilty of the crime of pimping a minor PC 266h(b)(1) & 266h(b)(2), the defendant will be ordered to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement.

Additional punishment: A conviction of any pimping crime can subject the defendant to other punishments besides prison, including, firearm prohibition, harsh probation or parole terms, criminal protective orders, fines, restitution, loss of employment or immigration status, civil lawsuits, and more.

PC 266h Defenses

Common defenses to pimping charges include, insufficient evidence (to prove that the defendant intended another person to engage in prostitution, or that the defendant derived any support from the prostitution), mistake of fact, coerced confession, statute of limitations, double jeopardy, illegally obtained evidence (police misconduct), entrapment, and more.

Fore more information on defenses to pimping crimes, including a discussion of the statute of limitations and entrapment defenses related to PC 266h crime, see Defenses to CA Sex Crimes.

If you have been charged with pimping, or penal code 266h, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys are highly experienced. We have helped hundreds of clients charged with felony and misdemeanor sex crimes in the Inland Empire, including Riverside, San Bernardino, & Los Angeles Counties. Call today!


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