What Is a Crime of Solicitation?
In California, it is illegal under Penal Code 647b to engage in an act of prostitution and to solicit an act of prostitution. Recall that prostitution refers to the act of engaging in sexual intercourse or a lewd sexual act with another person in exchange for money or some other form of compensation.
Under California law, a person “solicits” prostitution when they:
- request a person to engage in an act of prostitution; and
- do so with the intent to engage in an act of prostitution with the person.
Note that to be guilty of solicitation, the defendant must have clearly intended to engage in the act of prostitution. For instance, a person is not soliciting prostitution when they are present in an area of prostitution or wave to a passing stranger; to be guilty of the crime, they need to expressly indicate intent for an interaction of prostitution.
Be aware that there are several crimes related to solicitation, including:
- human trafficking;
- loitering with the intent to commit prostitution;
- supervising or aiding a prostitute.
Penalties and Defense Strategies
A conviction for solicitation is a typically a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. Second or subsequent convictions could require a mandatory minimum of 45 days in county jail (second offense) and a mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail (third offense). A judge may also choose to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for up to 30 days.
Keep in mind that while individuals convicted of any category of sex crime are required to register as a sex offender, those convicted of prostitution or solicitation are not required to register as sex offenders.
There are several ways you and your lawyer may attempt to combat solicitation charges. Some common defenses in solicitation cases are:
- arguing insufficient evidence to prove solicitation occurred (e.g., the prosecutor cannot prove the defendant intended to engage in prostitution);
- law enforcement entrapped the defendant (e.g., via an undercover sting operation that set them up);
- false accusations.
If you have been charged with solicitation in Sacramento, you may face a period of incarceration and fines. However, solicitation is a misdemeanor charge that can be effectively challenged by an experienced lawyer. For instance, Steve Whitworth Attorney At Law can show that you did not show any intent to perform the accused conduct. Bring your case to our firm so we can strategize a unique and personalized defense to combat your solicitation charges.
Call (916) 659-5233 or contact Steve Whitworth Attorney At Law online for a free initial consultation to get started.
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