There is just about nothing worse than being charged with a supposed crime you did not commit. Unfortunately, plenty of people face false charges for soliciting a prostitute and other alleged acts. In fact, some members of law enforcement will go as far as creating circumstances conducive to levy such charges, ultimately entrapping innocent people. If you have gotten mixed up in a bad situation, you need an attorney on your side to protect your rights. Solicitation of a prostitute is a serious charge that has the potential to upend your life. Below, we take a look at the specifics of this charge and why the assistance of an attorney is essential to emerge with justice.

The Basics of the Solicitation of a Prostitute Charge

Soliciting a prostitute and prostitution are similar sex crimes. Each is listed under California's Penal Code section 647(b). According to this section of the law, it is illegal for anyone to solicit prostitution, agree to participate in prostitution or engage in any act of prostitution. Prostitution is sexual intercourse or a lewd act performed between people for money or another form of compensation. In the context of the law, the term "lewd act" means physical contact with the genitals, buttocks or female chest of a prostitute or a customer. It does not matter if the act was performed for the offender's sexual gratification or another person's supposed gratification.

The solicitation of prostitution is best defined as requesting, inducing, urging or influencing another individual to participate in an act of prostitution. The individual performing the soliciting must have the intent to participate in the act of prostitution. Intent is present if there is an offer to pay money. For example, if a man walks up to a woman at a social gathering and says he will pay her a couple hundred dollars if she has sex with him, this man can be found guilty of soliciting a prostitute even if the deal does not come to fruition.

The act of solicitation to engage in prostitution is a similar crime to the solicitation of a prostitute yet there must be another element of the crime that can be proved in the solicitation to partake in prostitution. This extra element is necessary to supplement the agreement. The individual soliciting sex must perform an act that is an extension of the actual act of prostitution. As an example, going to a bank, withdrawing money and handing it over to pay for sex qualifies as ample supplemental support.

Penalties for Solicitation of a Prostitute

The state of California consider solicitation of prostitution to be a misdemeanor offense. The penalties for solicitation have the potential to extend to upwards of six months in county jail. The maximum fine for solicitation of a prostitute is $1,000. Those found guilty of solicitation of a prostitute also face penalties ranging from probation to community service, counseling sessions, AIDS testing, vehicle impoundment and driver's license suspension. If a minor is involved in the crime or if the defendant has been found guilty of the same or a similar crime in the past, the penalties will be that much more severe. The last thing you need is a permanent criminal record that makes it challenging to move forward with employment, housing and other facets of life that require passing a background check.

It is possible for additional penalties to be applied based on the unique circumstances of the case. If you are caught engaging in a prostitution offense when in your vehicle, you might be forced to forfeit the automobile. Furthermore, restrictions can be placed on your driver's license if the alleged act took place within 1,000 feet of a place of residence.

Aside from monetary penalties and the potential for time in jail, there is significant unseen damage stemming from a conviction for solicitation of a prostitute. You will feel emotionally drained following this conviction. Furthermore, your reputation within the community will be ruined. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to segue back to a normal life after being found guilty of soliciting a prostitute. Though the conviction of a prostitution offense does not automatically force you to register as a sex offender, the judge might require that you register as such an offender as a component of your penalty.

Why You Need a Proven Solicitation of Prostitution Defense Attorney

Do not assume you will be found guilty of solicitation of prostitution simply because you have been charged. If you are like most people facing this charge, you were caught up in unfortunate circumstances or were trapped in a police sting and deserve top-notch legal representation to clear your name. Our legal team is here to combat this charge and get your life back in order. An attorney can fight the solicitation of prostitution charge in a number of ways. All sorts of criminal defense strategies have the potential to defeat the charge, ranging from insufficient evidence to police officer mistakes, entrapment and so on.

Do not hire any old solicitation of prostitute defense attorney. Let the best in the business with a proven track record of success advocate on your behalf. We have defended countless clients against erroneous solicitation of prostitution charges and other charges. Our mission is to have the charge dismissed. At the very least, we will push for the charges to be reduced. Keep in mind you only have one chance to hire a defense attorney. Your life hangs in the balance. Do not let an overworked and unproven attorney dictate your fate. Hire our legal team and your case will receive the individualized attention it deserves from the moment you meet us until justice is served.

The Definition of Solicitation in the State of California

There is a chance your case does not actually qualify as solicitation of a prostitute. The state of California has a highly nuanced definition for solicitation. The Golden State's Penal Code 653f PC explains an individual is guilty of solicitation if he or she requests someone commit a crime as defined by the state's criminal solicitation law, intends for the other individual to commit the crime or if the individual solicited to perform the criminal activity is aware of the request. The above referenced Penal Code does not cover every single crime in the state of California. Rather, it is limited to the scope of solicitation of prostitution and solicitation of lewd conduct.

In the context of prostitution, solicitation means exactly the same thing in that an individual requests another person commit the crime of prostitution. Yet the laws that cover prostitution are listed under a separate penal code (Penal Code 647 (b)) that is distinct from other solicitation laws. The nuanced language of the law presents the opportunity for your attorney to craft a compelling legal defense. There is a good chance your attorney will attempt to prove your actions (or inaction) does not qualify as soliciting a prostitute. So don't assume you will be found guilty simply because the police officer says you are in the wrong and brings the charge; your case might not even qualify as soliciting a prostitute in the first place.

Legal Defenses

Meet with an attorney as soon as possible following the charge. Your attorney will review the details of your case and develop the best possible legal defense. Attorneys challenged with defending against solicitation of prostitute charges have enjoyed success with myriad defense strategies. Some attorneys have successfully argued law enforcement entrapped their client, rendering the charge of soliciting a prostitute baseless. Our legal team will go to great lengths to review all relevant evidence. If there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction, your case will be dropped. In particular, pertinent evidence is especially important. If the prosecution does not have rock-solid evidence of your involvement in soliciting a prostitute, our legal team will pounce on this opportunity to clear your name to have the charges dropped or at least reduced. Furthermore, there is the possibility of a mistake of fact concerning the circumstances of the charge.

The Entrapment Defense

Your attorney will consider using entrapment as a defense. Entrapment occurs when police officers trick an individual into committing a crime or even behaving in a manner that leads to someone committing a crime or doing something he or she otherwise would not have done. The police officer might harass, threaten or otherwise influence the individual in question in the quest to entrap. Unfortunately, plenty of prostitution arrests are initiated by undercover police officers posing as prostitutes. This is quite the shady tactic that has the potential to serve as the foundation for a successful entrapment defense. Entrapment is one of the most successful defenses against solicitation of a prostitute, especially if the police officer was undercover at the time of the arrest and if the defendant does not have a criminal history.

The Insufficient Evidence Defense

The prosecution will find it difficult to secure a conviction under California's Penal Code 647(b) if there is insufficient evidence to prove you actually engaged in, solicited or agreed to engage in prostitution. If there is no video or audio evidence that incriminates you, it will be difficult to reach a guilty verdict. It does not matter if the undercover police officer was playing the part of a prostitute; if the conversation is not recorded, the jury will undoubtedly question the police officer's motivation. The bottom line is the evidence must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to face any sort of penalty.

It is important to distinguish between the “lack of evidence” legal defense and the "insufficient evidence" defense. Insufficient evidence does not mean there is a lack of evidence to prove the crime was committed. Rather, it means there is not reliable and clear evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that solicitation of prostitution occurred. As an example, if you are caught up in a prostitution sting and you had no idea the person you were interacting with was a prostitute, evidence can be considered insufficient.

The Mistake of Fact Defense

The mistake of fact defense might help in the push to have your charges dropped. Your attorney is tasked with showing the circumstances of the situation that led to the charge does not demonstrate the intent to partake in prostitution. As an example, if you reply to an ad for an escort service as a means of hiring an individual to be your date for a social outing yet have no express intent to partake in sexual intercourse or any sort of lewd behavior, the mistake of fact defense might clear your name. The challenge is for your attorney to show your reasons for responding to the fore mentioned ad were mistaken as the desire to partake in prostitution.

The Right Legal Defense Paves the Way to Charge Reductions 

Hire an experienced attorney, provide all the details of your case and you just might end up with a reduced charge. The best attorneys strive to have the solicitation of prostitution charge dropped altogether yet this type of clear-cut victory is not always possible. In some cases, having the charges reduced is all the defendant can hope for. Attorneys aim to have the solicitation of a prostitute charge reduced to a crime listed on a different penal code that is to related to prostitution. This charge reduction will mitigate potential damage stemming from a sex-related crime. After all, you have a life to live and a professional reputation to protect.

If your solicitation of prostitution charge is successfully reduced, it will likely end up as a Criminal Trespass (Penal Code 602 PC) or Disturbing the Peace (Penal Code 415 PC) charge. Though it is possible for employers and other individuals to connect the dots between these types of offenses and prostitution, few people have the experience or knowledge necessary to make such a connection. 

Contacting a Soliciting of a Prostitute Attorney Near Me?

If you have been charged with soliciting a prostitute, you need immediate legal assistance. The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin will fiercely advocate on your behalf to clear your name and return your life to normal. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin by phone at 310-273-9600.