In the state of California, both prostitution and solicitation are crimes and punishable under the law. However, what constitutes prostitution? What if you are arrested and charged, but are innocent? What actually constitutes prostitution in the eyes of the law? It can be a confusing legal area, particularly if you did not accept money in exchange for sex.
At Gasner Criminal Law, we have worked with many clients accused of prostitution or solicitation and helped them beat those charges through expert legal representation in a court of law. We can do the same for you. If you are facing a prostitution charge, call us at 415-782-6000 to discuss your case.
In the state of California, anyone age 18 or older who accepts money or any other form of payment in exchange for a sexual act of any type is considered to be engaged in prostitution. Note that the act does not necessarily have to be actual sexual intercourse – any sexual act at all can fall under this heading if there is some form of incentive used to “purchase” that act.
For instance, if a man were to offer a woman drugs in exchange for oral sex, it would be considered prostitution, and under California law, both the man and woman would be subject to criminal charges. If someone were to offer another individual money in exchange for the chance to fondle any part of their body, it would also fall under California’s prostitution laws. Even an offer of sex in exchange for something else of value – getting out of a speeding ticket, in exchange for goods or services, or anything else, can fall under the heading of prostitution.
A wide range of penalties can apply if you are charged with prostitution but much of it hinges on your own past. For instance, if this is your first offence, you may be sentenced to up to six months in county jail and/or fined up to $1,000. If this is your second offense, you could face up to 45 days in jail, and subsequent offenses carry a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail per offense. Additional penalties apply in a number of situations, including if the act occurred within a vehicle and was within 1,000 feet of a residence. In these cases, the additional penalties can include the suspension or restriction of a driver’s license.
A number of different defenses can be used if you are facing charges of prostitution. For instance, police entrapment may apply, but a lack of or insufficient evidence may also apply. In some cases, a mistake of fact defense may be mounted if you had no intention of engaging in prostitution.
Being charged with prostitution is serious, and requires that you have experienced legal counsel. Call Gasner Criminal Law today at 415-782-6000 to schedule a free 60-minute consultation with Adam Gasner. You can also use our convenient online contact form if you prefer.