Prostitution in California
It is important to be aware of the prostitution laws in California to understand pimping and pandering charges. In particular, a person commits the crime of prostitution when they:
- participate in any sex act in exchange for money or anything else of value;
- agree to participate in a sex act for money; or
- solicit sex in exchange for money.
Prostitution, which is punished under California’s “disorderly conduct” statutes, is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A person who solicits or engages with a prostitute under the age of 18 can face increased fines of up to $25,000.
Misdemeanor Pimping and Pandering
In California, it is also a serious crime to pimp (make money off prostitution) and pander (facilitate or promote prostitution). Note that laws against pimping and pandering are generally aimed at third parties who benefit from the sale of sex, though they may also apply to prostitutes and those who “purchase” the service.
Under Penal Code 653.23 PC, a person commits misdemeanor pimping and pandering if they:
- direct, supervise, recruit, or otherwise assist another to engage in (or loiter for the purpose of) prostitution; or
- collect or receive money earned from prostitution.
Some examples of misdemeanor pimping and pandering include:
- repeatedly communicating with a person who is engaged in prostitution;
- watching or monitoring a person who is engaged in prostitution;
- repeatedly engaging in conversations with people or stopping people who are passing by to solicit or arrange prostitution;
- causing another to visit a place of prostitution.
Felony Pimping and Pandering
Felony pimping is when a person makes money from the earnings of a prostitute or solicits customers for a prostitute. According to Penal Code 266 PC, felony pandering occurs when a person:
- procures another for the purpose of prostitution or to work in a house of prostitution;
- causes or encourages (by threats, violence, or promises) another to engage in prostitution or work in a house of prostitution;
- causes another to come in or out of the state for purposes of prostitution; or
- receives or gives (or agrees to receive or give) any money to procure a person for prostitution.
Be aware that it is also a felony to cause any woman to engage in prostitution by fraud or misrepresentation.
Penalties – Jail, Fines, and Sex Offender Registration
Misdemeanor pimping and pandering is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Felony pimping and pandering is punishable by 2-6 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. If the alleged victim is under 15 years old, the jail time for felony pimping and pandering could increase to 3-8 years in prison.
Note that specific offenses have their own penalty range, depending on the nature of the offense:
- Taking a person for prostitution – imprisonment for 16 months to 3 years and a fine of up to $2,000
- Human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution – 16 months to 3 years in prison
- Causing a woman to engage in prostitution by fraud and enticing a minor under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution – up to 1 year in jail or 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years' imprisonment, and a fine of up to $2,000
- Causing another to visit a place of prostitution – up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500
Pimping and pandering offenses involving minors will also require defendants to register as a sex offender.
When you are facing criminal charges for pimping and pandering, Steve Whitworth Attorney At Law can help you strategize a defense to argue for mitigated or even dismissed charges. Whether you have been accused of misdemeanor or felony pimping/pandering, Attorney Whitworth is prepared to take on your case.
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“He showed up at 4 am while I was in jail to brief me on how to get out. He not only got me out but got me the best possible deal. I was facing 15 years in prison and I got 30 days house arrest.”- Curt L.
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