Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors Last updated December 02, Prostitution refers to a lewd act performed in exchange for money or another form of compensation.
Under California prostitution law, a lewd act requires physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual conduct, or sexual intercourse between two people. It also is a crime to solicit prostitutionsuch as offering to pay money for sex, or to pander prostitution activity commonly referred to as "pimping".
The following chart provides a general overview of the elements, defenses, and penalties relating to California prostitution laws:. To prove a case of prostitutionthe prosecutor must establish several elements.
While California state laws do not list the types of acts that further participants' agreement to engage in prostitution, the state courts have explained that the act may happen before or after the participants made their agreement. A conviction for prostitution in misdemeanor sentencing under state law.
The court may sentence the defendant to probation, a term of imprisonment in county jail, or a fine. However, probation is not an option if the defendant has a prior conviction for prostitution. If the defendant has one prior conviction for prostitution, California requires a sentence of at least 45 days in county jail without the possibility of probation, early release, or work furlough.
Similarly, two or more prior convictions for prostitution will increase the sentence to at least 90 days in county jail. In addition, the court may impose an additional punishment if the crime of prostitution took place in a motor vehicle within 1, feet of a private residence.
The court may decide to restrict the defendant's use of a motor vehicle for up to six months, with exceptions made for driving to the defendant's school or workplace. Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts including federal decisionsballot initiatives, and other means.
While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law s you are researching.
A prostitution charge is embarrassing, stressful, and can result in serious fines, jail time, and other restrictions on your liberty. A lawyer can help you mount the best defense possible in your case and minimize the negative impacts.
Contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney today. Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights.
Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help. California Prostitution Laws. Overview of California Prostitution Laws The following chart provides a general overview of the elements, defenses, and penalties relating to California prostitution laws: Code Sections California Penal Code Sections The prosecutor must show that the defendant had a specific intent to engage in prostitution -- specifically, the defendant must have intended to participate in a lewd act in exchange for compensation.
The defendant and the other participant must have formed an agreement to carry out the intent to engage in prostitution. The prosecutor must also show an act performed by the defendant reflecting the defendant's agreement to engage in prostitution.
For example, the prosecutor might present evidence that the defendant got into the other participant's car. Defenses Entrapment by an undercover police officer.
A law SBthat took effect January decriminalizes underage persons engaged in the act of prostitution. These children are instead referred to child welfare services.
Senate Bill No. Penalties A conviction for prostitution in misdemeanor sentencing under state law. Thank you for subscribing!
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California Penal Code Sections Entrapment by an undercover police officer.