For many people, a prostitution offense might be one of the last crimes of which they could imagine being accused. Despite the potential embarrassment of such charges, it is important to contact an experienced prostitution attorney in California as soon as possible if you find yourself facing allegations of prostitution or solicitation, or of agreeing to engage in either.
Valid Defenses to California Prostitution Charges
Many prostitution charges are brought after so-called sting operations, but the resulting prosecutions can be complicated. There are several valid defenses to prostitution-related charges, including that the sexual or lewd acts were consensual, that no agreement to exchange a sex act for money was ever made, and that even if an agreement was made, no acts in furtherance of the agreement actually ever took place.
In addition, your experienced criminal attorney who handles prostitution cases may be able to successfully argue that the charges against you should be reduced or dismissed if you were charged as the result of a sting operation that involved entrapment.
Prostitution Offense Penalties in Southern California
The penalties for prostitution-related offenses in California can be far-reaching and severe, depending on the circumstances that led to conviction. Under California Code Section 647(b), prostitution and solicitation both are misdemeanors carrying a punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000.
Enhanced Penalties for Subsequent Prostitution Convictions
Subsequent convictions for prostitution carry mandatory minimum jail sentences. For instance, a second prostitution conviction requires that you spend a minimum of 45 days in jail. A third conviction for prostitution carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least 90 days.
For this reason, if you have a prior prostitution-related conviction, it is especially important for you to consult with a criminal defense attorney who handles second, third, or fourth offense prostitution charges.
Additional Allowable Prostitution Penalties in California
As well as fines and jail time, California has outlined additional penalties that can be levied upon those convicted of prostitution or related offenses. A second prostitution offense that involves the use of your vehicle to commit the act – and occurs within three years of the prior offense – can give the municipality or county the right to seize and impound your vehicle for up to 30 days as punishment.
Moreover, if the offense occurred near a private residence, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to 30 days. Your prostitution defense attorney may request, however, that the suspension be reduced to a temporary hardship license that allows you to drive to work, school and other necessary appointments.
Under certain circumstances, the judge could even order that a person convicted of a prostitution offense be required to register as a sex offender, especially if the judge believes the “John” habitually solicits prostitution due to a sexual compulsion. Your criminal defense attorney will fight to combat such allegations if they arise.
Consult an Experienced Prostitution Defense Lawyer in San Diego
No matter what type of prostitution offense you have been charged with in Southern California, criminal defense attorney Sean Leslie has experience defending clients’ reputations in these complex cases.