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Solicitation, Prostitution, Loitering & Escorting Codes

Penal Code 647(b), California Penal Code 653.22 & LAMC 103.107.1)

Solicitation for Prostitution - California Penal Code 647(b)

Solicitation is defined as the act of requesting another person to engage in an act of prostitution, with the intent to engage in the act of prostitution. When the Defendant is charged with violating Penal Code 647(b), the prosecutor has the burden to prove the following three elements:

  1. The defendant requested that another person engage in an act of prostitution;
  2. The defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution with the other person; and
  3. The other person received the communication containing the request.

In Los Angeles County, Los Angeles vice officers routinely set-up sting operations to arrest potential customers, commonly referred to as the "John" as well as women who advertise on local websites and newspapers under Escort Services. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office routinely files criminal charges against individuals for violating California Penal Code section 647(b), Solicitation for Prostitution.

Engaging in an Act of Prostitution - California Penal Code 647(b)

Prostitution is defined under California Penal Code section 647(b) as engaging in sexual conduct for money or other consideration. To prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime of engaging in prostitution in violation of Penal Code 647(b), the People must prove that the defendant willfully engaged in sexual intercourse or a lewd act with someone else in exchange for money.

When the alleged prostitute and the alleged customer engage in sexual intercourse or lewd acts in exchange for money or other consideration, both of them can be charged for engaging in an act of prostitution in violation of Penal Code 647(b). A lewd act means the touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast of either the prostitute or customer with some part of the other person's body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of either person. Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.

Agreeing to Engage in an Act of Prostitution - California Penal Code § 647(b)

The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office can file criminal charges against a defendant in violation of California Penal Code section 647(b) if the Defendant solicited a person for prostitution, engaged in the act of prostitution, or agreed to engage in the act of prostitution. Most commonly, the accused is arrested when he or she agrees to engage in the act of prostitution. When a defendant is charged with agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution, the prosecutor must prove the following:

  1. The defendant agreed to engage in an act of prostitution with someone else;
  2. The defendant intended to engage in an act of prostitution with that person; and
  3. In addition to agreeing, the defendant did something to further the commission of an act of prostitution.

If the prosecution fails to prove each and every one of these elements, then the Defendant is not found in violation of California Penal Code section 647(b).

Loitering with the Intent to Commit Prostitution - California Penal Code 653.22

California Penal Code section 653.22 makes it illegal to loiter with the intent to commit prostitution. Loitering with the intent to commit prostitution is defined under California Penal Code section 653.22 as the delay or lingering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution. When the Defendant is charge under California Penal Code 653.22 the prosecution offers circumstantial evidence to prove the Defendant had the intent to commit prostitution.

Some factors that the court will look at are the following: repeatedly beckoned to stop, engage in conversations with, or attempt to stop or engage in conversation with a passerby in a way that indicates the solicitation of prostitution; repeatedly stop or attempt to stop vehicles by hailing, waving, or gesturing, or engaging or attempting to engage drivers or passengers in conversation, in a way that indicates the solicitation of prostitution; or circling an area in a vehicle and repeatedly beckoned to, contact, or attempt to contact or stopping pedestrians or other motorists in a way that indicates the solicitation of prostitution.

Besides these factors, the prosecutor may also provide evidence of other prior acts such as engaging in any behavior indicative of prostitution activity within six months before the arrest or whether the Defendant has been convicted of this crime or of any other crime relating to or involving prostitution within five years of their arrest. Sometimes a defendant does not have any intention to solicit a person for prostitution as he is only joking around or finds the attention amusing. In such instances, the Defendant does not have the specific intent to commit the crime of loitering to solicit for prostitution as required under California Penal Code 653.22.

Pimping - California Penal Code section 266(h)

California Penal Code section 266(h) defines pimping as any person who, knowing another person is a prostitute, lives or derives support or maintenance in whole or in part from the earnings or proceeds of the person's prostitution, or from money loaned or advanced to or charged against that person by any keeper or manager or inmate of a house or other place where prostitution is practiced or allowed, or who solicits or receives compensation for soliciting for the person, is guilty of pimping. Pimping is a felony, and may be punishable by three, four, or six years of a prison sentence.

Sting Operations in Los Angeles & Van Nuys

Sting Operations are very common in the cities of Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Van Nuys. A male police officer acts as a customer and befriends the alleged prostitute to engage in sex for money or a female officer poses as a street prostitute or a private escort to lure a man to the take down room. In Los Angeles County, both the alleged prostitute and the "John" are aggressively prosecuted for solicitation and intent to engage in prostitution. The alleged prostitute may also be charged with escorting without a license (permit). Penalties can range from community service, county jail, probation, AIDS testing, fines, counseling, Cal Trans, and/or jail enhancements.

"The John"

The customer of a prostitute is referred to as "the John." Sting operations are set up where female vice officers pretend to be prostitutes and solicit male customers to a hotel/motel room (the take down room) where they are arrested.

Call Girl

Whether the advertisement states Call Girl, Escort, Erotic Massage, the act of exchanging money or any other form of consideration in exchange for sexual arousal is a crime. Advertisements for erotic services, escorts, and massage therapists, are routinely targeted by Los Angeles vice officers and Defendants are routinely prosecuted under California Penal Code section 647(b).

With the increase in Internet usage, law enforcement officers are routinely reviewing websites and erotic profiles. Escorting websites that state "ROSES," "FLOWERS," or "DONATIONS" do not provide an adequate defense for the defendant but provide circumstantial evidence for the prosecuting agency as to the defendant's intent to engage in sex for money.

Escorting without a License - LAMC 103.107.1

Escorting without a permit is a Los Angeles Municipal Code violation that is charged in connection to an arrest for prostitution. Los Angeles Municipal Code section 103.107.1 states that "[n]o person shall conduct, manage or carry on any escort bureau without a written permit from the Board." "No escorting permit will be issued to the individual unless the Board is furnished with satisfactory evidence of the good moral character of such escort."

Los Angeles Vice officers frequently arrest females and charge them with escorting without a permit and prostitution. The defendant's classified or internet advertisement is used as circumstantial evidence of her intent to engage in an act of escorting without a permit and/or prostitution.

420 Busts

420 is the way to express the acceptance of smoking marijuana. Using the term 420 friendly on a personal advertisement in exchange for sexual conduct is illegal. Los Angeles Vice Officers set sting operations and use common 420 advertisements such as, "I am 420 Friendly, Very Nice, Easy to talk to," in an attempt to arrest individuals for solicitation for prostitution.


Entrapment is a defense. A person is entrapped if a law enforcement officer engages in conduct that would cause a normal law-abiding person to commit the crime. Some examples of entrapment might include conduct like badgering, persuasion by flattery or coaxing, repeated and insistent requests, or an appeal to friendship or sympathy. Another example of entrapment would be conduct that would make the commission of the crime unusually attractive to a normal law-abiding person. Such conduct might include a guarantee that the act is not illegal or that the offense would go undetected, an offer of extraordinary benefit, or other similar conduct.

Were you arrested in Los Angeles County?

Arthur Khachatourians is a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney with the law firm of Tyler & Wilson, LLP. If you have been arrested for solicitation or prostitution, loitering, or escorting without a permit (license) contact Attorney Arthur Khachatourians for a free criminal defense consultation.

Mr. Khachatourians routinely represents clients throughout Southern California (CA) including, but not limited to, the following courthouses: Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Alhambra Courthouse, Airport Courthouse, Bellflower Courthouse, Beverly Hills Courthouse, Glendale Courthouse Hollywood Courthouse, San Fernando Courthouse and Van Nuys Courthouse.

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