What is Solicitation in Los Angeles?

California Penal Code §647 defines the different situations in which a person may be charged as engaging in disorderly conduct. Solicitation falls under this statute, and those that are accused of solicitation will be charged and tried in court.

Specifically, CPC §647 (b) makes it unlawful for any person to solicit or even agree to engage in the act of prostitution. The statute also makes it unlawful for any person to engage in any act of prostitution.

The statute defines a person as engaging in an act of prostitution when they manifest a specific intent to engage in the act. They must demonstrate an acceptance or an offer of solicitation. However, the agreement to engage in prostitution is not enough. There must also be an overt act that demonstrates a furthered intention to commit the act.
Prostitution itself will be any lewd act that takes place between persons for money or other consideration.

Lets consider an example to show what kind of act will comprise enough of an act to be charged under California Penal Code §647.

David runs into Pauline on the corner of a street and Pauline propositions David to engage in sexual behavior in exchange for $300. So far, this would constitute a lewd act as described in the relevant code section, because the acts that they would engage in are of a sexual nature and David would be paying Pauline for the acts. If Pauline had told David that she would meet him in a café, the act would not arise to prostitution. There is no lewd act and there has been no offer for an exchange of money.

Further, David agrees to meet Pauline at 9:00 PM in the alley next to his work. This is an agreement between the two. There is prostitution; however there is no overt act. There is only an agreement. Neither party has acted on the agreement and cannot be charged under the California Penal Code.

At the agreed time, David and Pauline meet in the alley as planned and David gives Pauline the money she has asked for. There is now an overt act. The agreement earlier is now supported by David following through with the agreement by actively meeting Pauline as they planned and paying her the money that she has asked.

David and Pauline will be charged under California Penal Code §647 (b). David will be charged for engaging in prostitution and Pauline may be charged under offering, as well as engaging. For a person to be found guilty of solicitation, the Prosecutor must prove each specific element beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer can cast doubt on each element, and prepare a strong defense that destroys the government’s strongest arguments.

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