Solicitation of Prostitution
PC 647(b) & PC 647(b)(2)
Law, Penalties, & Defense
Information on the crime of solicitation of prostitution can be found at California penal code section 647(b). This short summary covers the basic laws and punishments related to California prostitution crimes (PC647(b)(2)-M).
PC 647(b) Law
PC 647(b)(2): Prostitution is defined as agreeing to, or solicitation of, a sexually lewd act between two or more persons, for payment of money, or other compensation (other compensation can include drugs, jewelry, services, etc.) [PC 647(b)(2) Abbrev.].
Note: PC 647(b) may be charged against the prostitute or the person soliciting prostitution services (John).
Sexually Lewd Act: For purposes of California prostitution law, a Sexually Lewd Act is defined as intercourse, vaginal or anal, or oral copulation, or, the touching 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. The touching does not need to be skin to skin.
To solicit a prostitute means to communicate, by words or conduct, an offer, or a request, to another person, to engage in prostitution. The defendant need not make an express verbal offer of sex to constitute a solicitation for prostitution. It also does not matter that money or other compensation was exchanged in solicitation of prostitution cases; it is the solicitation, agreement, or the engaging in, prostitution itself that is criminal.
For soliciting prostitution cases, the defendant must specifically intend to commit prostitution; it does not matter if the prostitute agrees to engage in prostitution, or that any lewd act occurred, so long as the defendant intended to commit prostitution.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of committing the crime of PC 647(b), the prosecutor will need to prove the following:
The defendant accepted an offer for sexual services in exchange for money or other benefit, and, or the defendant communicated an offer, couple with the specific intent, to engage in sexual services for compensation (i.e., cash or reciprocal services)
The defendant performed some act in furtherance of the commission of the crime, and
The defendant specifically intended to agree to prostitution.
Act in Furtherance: An act in furtherance of the crime of prostitution means that the defendant did something after agreeing to commit prostitution that helps interpret the defendant's intent (PC 647(b)(4)).
For example, driving to a location to meet a prostitute after agreeing to commit prostitution might be considered an act in furtherance of the crime that serves as circumstantial evidence of the defendant's intent to commit prostitution.
Remember: It does not matter if the person offering the sexual services for hire intended to commit prostitution, only that the person who agreed to the offer intended to commit prostitution. Otherwise, there would be no entrapment defense to prostitution because undercover officers who operate prostitution stings do not actually intend to fulfill the terms of their solicitation for prostitution.
PC 647(b) Punishment
Misdemeanor Offense: Prostitution charged under penal code 647(b) is classified as a misdemeanor.
First Offense: For a first offense misdemeanor conviction of PC 647(b), the defendant faces up to one hundred eighty (180) days in the county jail.
Second Offense: A second conviction for prostitution (PC 647(b)) requires the defendant to serve no less than 45 days in county jail, and up to 180 days.
Third Offense: A third conviction for prostitution (647(b)) requires the defendant to serve no less than 90 days in county jail, and up to 180 days.
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is period of supervision, as opposed to an actual jail sentence. Probation sentences are allowed in solicitation of prostitution cases, but a probation sentence is not guaranteed. Whether or not the defendant is offered a probation sentence after a conviction of PC 647(b) depends largely on the defendant’s criminal history and the circumstances and facts of the criminal charges.
Note: Probation sentences for misdemeanor probation crimes is common, but the terms of probation can include a short period of actual incarceration and/or work release, especially after a PC 647(b) conviction where the defendant has suffered prior prostitution convictions. For more information, see Probation & Parole for CA Sex Crimes.
In addition to any jail sentence, the defendant may be placed on court probation with terms and conditions, including restraining orders and monetary fines. The defendant will also be ordered to take an AIDS HIV education class and submit to AIDS testing. Additional penalties can include immigration consequences for non-US citizens, professional licensing consequences, loss of driving privileges, military service consequences, and more.
Note: PC 647(b) is not considered an automatic sex offender registerable offense in most circumstances (exceptions are unusual but do apply per PC 290.006). For more information, See Sex Offender Registration Requirements.
PC 647(b) Common Defenses
Every prostitution case is different; therefore, every defense to a prostitution case is different. With this mind, common defenses to PC 647(b) allegations include, entrapment, insufficient evidence, coerced confession, statute of limitations, and jury nullification. For more information on defenses to prostitution crimes, including a discussion of the entrapment defense and the statute of limitations for prostitution crimes, see Defense Strategies in CA Sex Crimes.
If you are charged with the crime of solicitation of prostitution, or penal code 647(b), or PC 647(b)(2), contact our sex crimes criminal defense lawyers today. Our team has successfully defended hundreds of misdemeanor and felony sex crimes in the Inland Empire, including criminal charges of prostitution. We offer free consultation every day of the week and our success rate is second to none. Call today!