What is Soliciting Prostitution?
According to the California Penal Code Section 647(b), solicitation is when one person tries to lure or elicit another individual to agree to an act of prostitution, and this solicitation must be done with the specific intent to perform an act of prostitution. Both definitions have to be proved by the prosecution in order to charge the accused with soliciting– they must have had specific intent to engage in prostitution.
Given that the crime is simply about soliciting with the intent to engage in prostitution, the police can arrest and charge either the prostitute or the customer. In most cases, police perform sting operations to catch such acts of solicitation. One officer will play the part of the prostitute and wait for another individual to solicit them for acts of prostitution. The individual is then arrested by the officer.
The Punishment for Soliciting Prostitution
In California, solicitation is charged as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of soliciting prostitution, the convicted individual can face penalties including: up to six months in a county jail, probation, a fine of up to $1,000, drivers licence suspension, AIDS testing, and community service. Furthermore, if the crime involves a minor the penalties can become drastically more severe. If the guilty party is a repeat offender, penalties can also increase.
Defense Against Solicitation
If you are charged with soliciting prostitution, immediately seek legal counsel. With an experienced attorney, you can possibly fight these charges. A compelling defense on your behalf can include proving there is insufficient evidence, a mistake has been made, or it is a case of entrapment.