California Penal Code Section 647(b) PC – Prostitution

California Penal Code Section 647(b) PC makes it a crime for an individual to solicit, agree to engage in or to engage in an act of prostitution in exchange for monetary compensation or anything of value. Said simply, this criminal statute makes it a crime for a person to solicit, agree to have sex with, or actually have sex with another person in exchange for money or anything else of value. Both the prostitute and the other person to the transaction can be charged with and convicted of prostitution.

Prostitution is not limited to sexual intercourse, but also includes other sexual acts, such as touching genitals, female breasts, or the buttocks of another person with the intent to arouse the other person.

If you have been charged with prostitution under California Penal Code Section 647(b), you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles Sex Crimes Attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Prostitution is a crime that will not only ruin your reputation but could also damage your marital relationship if you’re married.

So, to resolve your case, it’s best that you contact an experienced Prostitution Defense Attorney at The H Law Group. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 647(b) PC – Prostitution

According to California Penal Code Section 647(b) PC, “An individual who solicits, or who agrees to engage in, or who engages in, any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation, money, or anything of value from another person. An individual agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with the specific intent to so engage, the individual manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation by another person to engage in sex, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in an act of prostitution.”

Proving an Individual Guilty of Violating Penal Code Section 647(b)

For the prosecution to convict an individual of prostitution charges under Penal Code 647(b) PC, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution does not prove even one element, its case fails and it cannot convict the defendant of prostitution. To convict an individual, it must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant solicited, agreed, or engaged in sexual intercourse or lewd acts
  • The defendant had the intent to engage in prostitution with another person, and
  • The party with whom the defendant wanted to engage in sexual intercourse or sex acts received the defendant’s communication to do so

Note: Both the prostitute and the customer can be convicted of prostitution. The statute applies to both parties who agree to or actually engage in prostitution.

Examples of Violating CPC Section 647(b) PC

A man is looking for a prostitute, so he drives down a local street that is known as a hotspot for prostitutes. The man approaches a prostitute and offers her $150 to have sex with him. The prostitute agrees, but before she gets into the car, the police stop them both. In this case, both the prostitute and the man can be charged with prostitution even though nothing has yet happened. The agreement of the man and prostitute to have sex in exchange for money is sufficient for the prosecution to charge and convict both of them for prostitution.

A man meets a woman while he’s gambling at a casino, he immediately hits it off with a woman at a poker table. He proceeds to take the woman to his hotel room where the two have sex. After they are done having sex, the woman reveals to him that she is indeed a prostitute and that she wants to be paid for having sex with him. The man pays the woman to keep her quiet from exposing him. In this scenario it is highly unlikely that the man would be charged with prostitution because he had not intended to engage in prostitution at the time, he had sex with her.

Penalties for Those Convicted of Prostitution

If the prosecution convicts an individual of prostitution, he faces the following potential penalties:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor
  • Being sent to jail for a maximum of six months for a first-time offense
  • Payment of a fine of up to $1000 for a first-time offense
  • A second-time conviction for prostitution has a mandatory 45 days in county jail
  • A third-time conviction for prostitution has a mandatory 90 days in county jail
  • If prostitution was committed in a car and within 1000 feet of a residence, the defendant faces additional penalties that include the suspension of his driver’s license for up to six months

Defenses to Prostitution

If you have been charged with prostitution, there are a variety of defenses that your attorney can use to defend you. This list of defenses is not an exhaustive list of all defenses that your attorney can use, but rather some of the most commonly used defenses by clients who have been charged with a similar crime. Your attorney may use some of the following defenses:

  • The defendant did not intend to engage in prostitution
  • The defendant was a victim of law enforcement entrapment
  • Lack of sufficient evidence to convict the defendant
  • Lack of intent to engage in prostitution

Sex Offender Registration

We often get asked whether a person convicted of prostitution must register as a sex offender? The short answer is no, a conviction of prostitution does not on its own requires the defendant to register as a sex offender. However, if the defendant raped or forced the prostitute to engage in sex, he will be required to register as a sex offender. That said, engaging in sex with a prostitute, on its own does not usually require sex offender registration.

Crimes Related to Prostitution

  • Pimping – California Penal Code Section 266(h) PC
  • Supervising or aiding a prostitute – California Penal Coed Section 653.23 PC
  • Lewd Conduct in Public – California Penal Code 647(a) PC
  • Loitering to commit prostitution – California Penal Code 653.22 PC
  • Indecent Exposure – California Penal Code Section 314 PC
  • Rape – California Penal Code Section 261 PC

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with prostitution in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the State of California, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. At the outset of every case, we will go through the facts of your case to determine whether a dismissal is possible. If we believe that a dismissal is possible, we will communicate this to the prosecution. If the prosecution refuses to dismiss your case, we will do all that we can to negotiate the best possible plea deal possible. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.