If you or a loved one has been charged with prostitution or solicitation, contact an experienced and knowledgeable Fresno solicitation for prostitution attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442 for a free consultation. With over 15 years of experience defending people against prostitution and solicitation charges, Mike will do everything in his power to reach the best possible outcome for your case.
Understanding Prostitution and Solicitation
California Penal Code 647(b) makes it illegal to solicit or perform a sexual act for money or other consideration. Vagueness about what is or is not included as a sexual act can be an effective ground for a defense. Prosecutors sometimes charge prostitution on nothing more than an alleged prostitute getting in a person’s car. Usually, there must be an agreement to trade something of value for the sexual act, and then another action must be taken to further this agreement. Police interpret agreeing on a price or leaving for another destination, like a room, as the act in furtherance required by the law.
While prostitution and solicitation cases vary, a conviction can only be reached by proving:
- The alleged prostitute had the intent to engage in prostitution
- The alleged prostitute and the other individual agreed to exchange compensation for a sexual act
- The alleged prostitute performed an act that reflected the prostitution agreement
If the agreement to exchange money or something of value occurs after the sex act, a jury could still conclude that the act was an act of prostitution.
Seeking to hire another for sex, or soliciting someone, is punished just as harshly as prostitution, and the elements of proof required for conviction are almost identical. Examples of solicitation include:
- A “John” offering to pay money for a sexual act
- A “John” agreeing to engage in prostitution when approached
- A prostitute asking a “John” if they would like to participate in a sexual act in exchange for money
Other Prostitution Offenses
The state and certain communities have also enacted additional laws that punish the act of loitering for the purposes of prostitution. If a person is present in an area known for prostitution and appears to have no legitimate business at the location, and is, in fact, attempting to draw the attention of passerby in a lewd manner, a case for prostitution can be made under city municipal codes or Penal Code section 653.22.
Penalties for Prostitution and Solicitation
A prostitution or solicitation conviction can include up to 6 months in the county jail and large fines and fees. The court can even suspend a person’s driver’s license for up to 30 days if the sexual conduct occurs in a car within 1,000 feet of a private residence. Penalties for prostitution offenses increase if the individual is a repeat offender.
Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Fresno?
If you’ve been charged with a sex crime involving solicitation or prostitution in Fresno, CA, call Fresno criminal defense attorney Michael McKneely today for a free and confidential at (559) 443-7442.