Los Angeles Prostitution Lawyers
Prostitution charges carry penalties that can include significant jail time, fines, aids testing and education, drug testing, community service and a permanent conviction on your criminal record.
The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin are Los Angeles’ most highly rated criminal defense attorneys bringing a combined 100 years of experience to your case. When facing the severe charges associated with prostitution, the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin can help keep your reputation intact by reducing or even dismissing charges altogether.
Prostitution in Los Angeles, CA
The LA District Attorney’s Office prosecutes sex crimes including prostitution, lewd conduct, pimping and pandering. If you have been arrested for prostitution, it may have been part of a sting operation with undercover law enforcement or as a result of an investigation into a large group of people. You may be accused of performing a sexual or lewd act in public or offering to perform a sexual act for another party for compensation. A person arrested for seeking out a prostitute (known as a “John”) will also be charged and face serious life-changing consequences for requesting a sexual act in exchange for money, which is also known as “soliciting prostitution” in California.
Pimping and pandering is considered a very serious felony and may bring significant jail time or prison time. In these cases, the District Attorney may argue either that you have coerced another person into providing sexual acts for compensation or that you directly benefited from their allegedly illegal activities. Whether you are charged on your own or as part of a larger case, an experienced prostitution lawyer may be able to help you reduce penalties and potentially even dismiss your case.
Lewd Acts in Public: California Penal Code Section 647(a)
California Penal Code Section 647a states that every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct may also be considered for an individual who solicits engagement in lewd conduct within any public place, any place open to the public or exposed to public view.
Lewd conduct in public is a misdemeanor and a catch-all statute covering most types of sex acts in a public space. An officer can arrest you on charges of giving or receiving any kind of sex act, exposing your genitals or manipulating them in a public location. The statute requires the following to be true:
- The defendant must have touched their own genitals or those of another;
- The defendant did so intending to arouse themselves or another person or to offend another person;
- At the time he/she engaged in the conduct, the defendant was in a public place or a place open to the public; or
- Another person must have been present who could be offended by the conduct with knowledge of their presence by the defendant.
You may also be seeking help because you were charged with soliciting someone else to commit the same types of acts. Again, these primarily occur due to undercover or sting operations.
Prostitution: California Penal Code Section 647(b)
Buying or selling sexual acts is a misdemeanor in most cases in the state of California. It does not matter if the sexual act actually occurred, or the compensation was something other than money when it comes to an arrest. The consequences can be severe not only because of the potential for fines and jail time but also because the federal government can deport you based on a sex crime conviction. A person can be charged with prostitution if they are found:
- Willfully engaging in sexual intercourse or a lewd act with someone else in exchange for money;
- Touching the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person’s body for sexual arousal or gratification;
- Or caught soliciting a sexual act in exchange for money.
Pimping: California Penal Code Section 266h
Pimping is the action or practice of controlling prostitutes and arranging clients for them, taking part of their earnings in return. Under the California Penal Code Section 266h, a person can be found guilty of pimping if they:
- Knowingly live or derive support from the earnings of prostitution; or
- Provided monies, loaned or charged against by a manager or keeper, minor or otherwise.
One of the more common examples where we see these types of charges is at massage parlors. The LA District Attorney’s Office will often charge these employers with pimping if they receive money from their employees who are involved in providing sexual acts for compensation.
A family member or landlord can also be charged with pimping if the authorities believe they are aware of the prostitution and receiving financial support due to these activities.
We fight for clients accused of charges like pimping and those who receive similar charges, such as operating a house of prostitution, also known as a house of ill repute.
Pandering: California Penal Code Section 266i
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office will charge a person with pandering should they;
- Procure another person for prostitution;
- Influence, by promises or intimidation, someone into prostitution or to continue prostitution;
- Solicit a place for another person in a house of prostitution;
- Pressure or threaten a person to continue as an inmate in a house of prostitution or any place in which prostitution is allowed;
- Impersonate or by abuse of authority, to obtain another person for prostitution; or
- Receive or give any compensation for attempting to procure another person for prostitution coming into or leaving the state.
This law is often used either in conjunction with pimping or when the District Attorney and investigating officers feel unable to prove that money changed hands.
Penalties for Prostitution in Los Angeles
Charging for sexual services on its own is not a felony offense in California. As prostitution lawyers in Los Angeles, we want you to know that repeat convictions can be particularly damaging for defendants facing charges. In general, you may see penalties for a Los Angeles prostitution charge for:
- First-Time Offenders – no more than six months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines as well as any additional court costs
- Second-Time Offenders – at least 45 days in county jail but no less than six months as well as $1,000 in fines and any additional court costs
- Third-Time Offenders – and anyone convicted of subsequent offenses – at least 90 days in county jail as well as the above fines
If the charges involve a minor’s coercion, a person may face up to eight years and face lifelong sex offender registration. The penalties for pimping and pandering are more significant because both are considered felonies. A person may face three, four, or six years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Consequences of Los Angeles Prostitution Charges
Having a sex crime conviction on your record can follow you for life, which is why at the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, our Los Angeles prostitution lawyers fight to get the case dismissed and clear your record.
If a person is convicted of pimping or pandering, penalties can be more severe because they are felonies. We fight on behalf of our clients to avoid immigration risks including deportation, inability to obtain work or financial assistance, and even custody battles.
Evidence of Prostitution in Los Angeles
We regularly work with clients who may have been arrested as part of a sting operation. Undercover officers in sting operations are considered “expert witnesses” by courts. This can be frustrating for defendants involved in a situation where they and the arresting officer were the only two people in the environment when the defendant was arrested. This is particularly true for cases of lewd acts in public, where officers regularly observe public bathrooms, beaches, or other spaces where people gather.
Technology has also provided a significant avenue for allegations of criminal activity. District attorneys frequently bring evidence involving internet classifieds, newspaper advertisements, and even mobile phone records. These are used to create either direct or circumstantial chains of evidence that you are involved with or providing sexual acts for money.
Our law firm prides itself on having its own private investigators because evidence often wins or loses a case. We have investigators on call 24 hours a day, prepared to gather evidence and begin building your winning defense.
Defenses to Prostitution
Each of our clients’ cases are unique and require special attention, that is why we create a customized defense strategy for each particular case, paying close attention to the needs of our client. However, there is one key similarity between all of our criminal defense cases that sets us apart. As former prosecutors, we understand how the Los Angeles District Attorney prosecutes these types of cases and we know how to beat them.
At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, we are committed to protecting our client’s constitutional rights and using our inside information to develop the strongest defense. Common defenses that our firm may use to defend your case include:
- False accusations
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of evidence
Contact Our Prostitution Attorneys Today
At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, our dedicated team of Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys is here to help defend your reputation, and will fight on your behalf to minimize exposure to legal consequences such as forfeiting licenses or incarceration. Take advantage of a free consultation today by giving us a call at (310) 935-3100.
Prostitution Attorneys in Los Angeles, CA
Highly-Rated Prostitution Lawyers in LA